Seattle’s Slick ’36
I was up in Seattle visiting an old friend recently, and we were chatting about the custom scene around here in early 1950s. It’s easy to think of Southern California as the mecca and source of lead sleds for the majority of the early post war years, but Washington had a surprising number of tasteful custom cars as well. One particular example that always stood out in my mind was Bill Grader’s ’36 Ford Roadster, which premiered in Hod Rod’s March of 1952 issue. You would swear this car was built around Los Angeles in that time period, by the clean, classic styling cues. Bill and his buddy mechanic B.C. Waters did all the good stuff you’d expect: DeSoto bumpers, shaved handles, bubble skirts, fuel filler in the fender, and a chopped windshield. To top it off, I’m an absolute sucker for green paint, and Bill’s car was sprayed in a late 40s Cadillac color called ‘Cypress Green’. So what ever became of Bill after they built the Ford? He started a local car parts chain called Bill’s Auto Parts and later got into racing hydroplanes then building race motors.