A Modern Antique ’36
You can talk about custom, you can talk about stock, but in the end, what’s the point of these cars if you can’t use them? Driving your hot rod is traditional. So if you’re going to jump behind the wheel, why not make it comfortable? That was the mentality of Doug Doyle, the Pacific Northwest’s foremost 1936 Ford expert. Coupes, roadsters, pickups—you name it, he was into it. But today we’re going to look at a particularly unique example from his stable, one that may very well have been a little ahead of its time.
The car you see here is a ’36 Ford DeLuxe convertible sedan—a rarity indeed—and it’s just as important to note what hasn’t been done as it is to point out what has. Starting with a California stocker, he drove the old Ford up to his home in Cloverdale, Oregon, and completely disassembled it in his backyard shop. He cleaned up the sheetmetal, addressed panel fitment issues and replaced or restored every nut and bolt. Underneath, the conventional Ford suspension remained, but he swapped the stock wheels for a set of ’54 Cad wires on Goodyear Double Eagle whitewalls.
Although it’s difficult to tell when viewed in grayscale, I’d wager much of this car’s appeal came from its color. The exterior: Persimmon. The interior: black button tuft Naughyde and lots of chrome. With its curved front seat and wraparound rear quarters, the cabin looks more like the inside of a mid-century cocktail lounge than it does an automobile. The fully chromed dash and banjo wheel add a touch of class, as does the matching top.
As yes, then there’s the powerplant. At the time of these photos in 1966, the Ford was still flathead powered. Once the ink dried, Doug was planning to drop in a smallblock Ford backed by a four-speed. Did it ever happen? Your guess is as good as mine.
When this convertible sedan first hit the streets, it was coined as a “Modern Antique,” or a predecessor to what we now call Resto Rods. On a body style so rare, the whole package works. That being said, I would be tempted to bring down the nose a few inches. But hey, that’s the hot rodder in me.
Photos by Pete Sukalac, Car Craft, August 1966