Bill Grader’s ’36 Ford

Bill Grader’s ’36 Ford

I did a blind pick and feature this morning. Essentially, I just pick a binder from my Hot Rod Magazine collection at random, flip to a random page, and then feature whatever the hell I see. Usually, I go through this whole procedure and end up featuring something else… But this morning, I actually landed on Bill Grader’s ’36 Ford in the March, 1952 issue of Hot Rod Magazine.

Bill’s car was pretty typical of a ’36 roadster of the times, but one aspect of the car really stands out to me – the grille. Usually guys leaned on a LaSalle grille for a styling change up front to go along with their filled hood sides. Bill, however, got creative with the stock unit. Essentially, he filled the original ’36 grille until he got to a shape similar to a LaSalle. From there, he finished it off with a nice piece of hand formed stainless. To my eye, the result is even better than the famous upscale treatment.

The rest of the car is pretty standard stuff – ’38 taillights, Desoto bumpers, frenched license plate surround, level stance, etc… The dash, however, is pretty unique. While I don’t know if the flat profile works all that well with the rest of the lines, I do like the idea of the sweeping gauge layout and the ultra-modern (again, for the times) radio.

You might also note the column shift. Bill actually tossed his roadster body on a complete ’48 Ford chassis. With that done all he had left to tackle from a mechanical standpoint was to hot rod the little flathead. The end result is pretty damned choice.

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