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36 Ford Boat Tail Custom




The concept for this amazing roadster began in the summer of 1942, in Atlantic City. But it would take the owner until the 1980’s to actually create it.

While browsing the internet looking for something I came across this very nice 1936 Ford Boat Tail Roadster on the Normans Garage website. I have always loved the look of 1930’s boat-tail roadsters, and especially on Custom Cars. I had never seen this very nicely done 1936 Ford Roadster, and figured I share it here on the CCC for everybody to enjoy. I think the classic lines of the exotic Auburn boat tails combined with the everyday Fords from the mid 1930’s Fords create something really special. The 1980’s version of this car, with the large good looking white wall tires looks the best to me. This way the car looks like something that could have been done in the 1940’s… very nice. (I have done a little bit of Photoshoping on some of the photos removing a modern rear bar set up, which showed too obvious in he low angle 1980’s photos.) As for the recent year more modern updates, well I personally do not care about that too much, but the overall look of the car is still nice, and I hope that perhaps somebody gets inspired by seeing this and will built a true 1940’s version of a sectioned boat-tail 1936 Ford. I can see something like this with nice single bar flipper hubcaps, and a beautifully shaped white padded top….. dreaming

All words and photos from the Normans Garage website.

1936 Ford Boat Tail Roadster

The concept for this amazing roadster began in the summer of 1942, in Atlantic City. Norman had a friend who owned a 1937 Ford Roadster. That roadster had been in an accident, destroying most everything behind the doors. It true car-guy fashion, Norman’s friend used the damage as an opportunity. Instead of repairing the roadster back to stock, or replacing it all together, he had a custom boat tail fabricated and installed. Also a true car-guy, and a Ford man, Norman appreciated and loved the Ford Boat Tail Roadster that his friend had created. He took a photo of it. And he looked at that photo from time to time, for 40 years.

It was the early 80’s and the wheels began turning. Norman has always loved ’36 Fords (as one can easily see by looking at his collection). His friends ’37 boat tail was interesting, but lacking in style and elegance. And Norman had just found a gentleman who was building ’36 Ford roadster bodies in fiberglass. It was time to start putting all the pieces together.

CCC-36-ford-boat-tail-roadster-02This is how the roadster looked in the 1980’s with a wonderful 1940’s look and feel.

First line drawings were created to get the proportions of the silhouette correct. Then a wooden plug was sculptured of the boat tail. A fiberglass mold was constructed of the plug, then used to build the boat tail. The tail was then grafted to a sectioned fiberglass ’36 Ford body, and mated to a sectioned grill and hood sides. The front fenders were peaked at the rear, and the rear fenders rolled under at the leading edge, allowing the removal of the running boards. A rocker panel was also constructed to finish off the bottom of the car and cover the frame. The rear fenders were molded from a plug that was built using two pair of ’36 fenders welded together. A duvall windshield was installed, as well as a German canvas folding top. The car was placed on a slightly modified stock frame, as chassis technology was primitive in the 80’s for the hot rod commuity. A Chevy 350 V8 engine and four speed manual transmission were used for motivation. The car was then used and enjoyed for twenty plus years before a complete rebuild and modernizing.
Updated version

Street rod chassis technology has taken leaps and bounds in the last 30 years. Having several other cars already utilizing said technology, Norman knew it was time to bring this work of art into the modern times. A brand new boxed frame was constructed with a custom lowered center crossmember. Heidt’s Superide II front suspension system was installed, including power rack and pinion steering, tubular control arms, coil over shocks and Wilwood brakes. A Heidt’s Superide IRS was used in the rear, spec’d with tubular arms, Wilwood brakes and a 9″ Ford Posi differential. The Chevy V8 from the original build was reclaimed, but the transmission was upgraded to a performance built 2004R automatic overdrive unit. A custom polished stainless steel exhaust system was fabricated and installed.
The only major body modifications this time around were made to the floor in the cockpit area. The floor was lowered to allow for more head room, and a new tunnel was built to accommodate the new transmission. The body and all of its panels were repainted in PPG basecoat/clearcoat, and hand rubbed to perfection.

Once the body and chassis were reassembled the car was loaded with the usual, quality components in all of Norman’s builds. Flaming River tilt steering column, Vintage Air heat and A/C, American Autowire wiring system, SPW wipers with intermittent, VDO gauges, Lokar products throughout, etc.
The interior was also freshened up, starting with 8 way adjustable power seats. Hand stitched leather covers everything, and custom wooden dash panels compliment the wood rimmed Nardi steering wheel.

Wide white radial tires, fender skirts and custom wind wings are the finishing touches to this gorgeous one of a kind Ford Boat Tail Roadster of Norman’s.


Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

5 thoughts on “36 Ford Boat Tail Custom

  • Wow , this is what dreams are made of , wet streamline design ,
    100 Mph standing still . In a custom haze Im going to mumble
    mmmm -40 style version , taildraggin , -37 LaSalle grill , molded headlights , yummy ….
    my day is made , thanks for showing this fantastic custom designed -36 Ford !

  • Always fun when somebody takes a different route, especially when they succeed in creating something that look as good as this one. The first version is amazing. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • It was great see this car in it’s current state.
    It is one of my favorites I had the privilege to work on over 30 years ago!
    It originally was produced with a chopped version of the original ’36 Ford stanchions and one-piece windshield design.

  • Keith Ashley

    To add to the story. I saw this car at the Back to the 50’s show 20 plus years ago. Very impressed by it and a year later I saw the molds for it offered for sale in NSRA Streetscene magazine. I flew to WA. spent a week learning how it was built, bought all the molds and shipped home to MI where my company, Fairlane Co. began building ’36 bodies starting with the Roadster and Cabriolet. I quickly realized the surface quality was not what I could offer to buyers, so I replaced all the molds except the Boattail. We made only a few of the Boattail bodies, being busy with the more popular Roadster and Cabriolets. I sold the original molds including the Boattail to Bob N… ( I will let him self identify if he chooses ). The new molds went to a company in Mexico thus ending the production of Fairlane Co. ’36 bodies.

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