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Art Deco 36 Ford




Billy Powell’s Amazing Art Deco 1936 Ford Coupe is styled like it came from the 1940’s, but with the amazing quality finish of a modern Super¬†Car.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-06-billyThe 1939 LaSalle grille, Packard headlights, and modified hood side give the Ford a much more exclusive look. The speedboat stance created instant speed. Everything visible gives the impression Billy’s Ford just rolled out of the 1940’s.

Billy Powell from Texas owned this 3 window since 2007. The plan always was to create an beautiful 1940’s style Art Deco styled custom from it. From a distance the car looked pretty decent, but upon close inspection Billy saw that the car might need some extra care to get up to his standards. When he started to take the body to bare metal he quickly noticed that the car must have had a pretty rough life. A lot of bad body work followed by heavy layers of plastic filler. Especially the top was in bad shaped and the chop needing so much work that Billy figured he needed to find a second ’36 Ford to replace the top. Until he discussed the project with David Martinez, from Martinez Industries Co. in North¬†Palm Springs, California. David assured Billy that he could save the top, as well as the rest of the body. Of course he would need to do a huge amount of metal reshaping, aftermarket and home made replacement panels… but it could be saved. In 2014 Billy send the ’36 Ford to Martinez who would rework all previous bad body work, replace the rotten metal an perform more customizing.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-01-billyThe 1937 Lincoln Zephyre taillights are the perfect units for Billy’s Art Deco Coupe. They echo the shape of the Packard headlights beautiful, and the low mounting position makes the rear of the car look even lower. Notice the perfect reflections!

Billy had been collecting parts for his dream Art Deco 1936 Ford Coupe for a long time. Hard to find parts like the 1939 LaSalle grille, 1937 Packard headlights, 1937 Lincoln Zephyr taillights, 1936 Chevy hood sides, Single Bar Flipper hubcaps, 1948 Lincoln steering wheel¬†and a set of Foxcraft teardrop shape fender skirts.¬†Inspiration for Billy’s 1936 Ford came for the Jack Calori 1936 Ford, Westergard styled Fords in general, and the John Fisher 1936 Ford. But Billy’s Ford was¬†was going to have many unique details, all based on the rocket / teardrop shaped Art Deco theme. When Billy bought the car the original flathead engine had already been swapped for a 350, and it drove perfect, so there was no need to replace that.

CCC-art-deco-36-ford-02-billyNew hood sides were created to which two 1936 Chevy hood louvres per side were added. The original grille was replaced with a home made surround to with a 1939 LaSalle grille was added. The stock Packard trim piece on top of the headlights was kept since it fitted the Art Deco theme so well.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-interior-01-billyDavid Martinez created the wonderful styled interior in real leather. The dash was hand made with an Oldsmobile gauge cluster an the transparent red 1948 Lincoln steering wheel is the icing on the cake.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-interior-02-billyClose up of the restored Lincoln Steering wheel by Dennis Crooks at Quality Restorations, who also made the custom dash knobs to match the steering wheel. 


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-interior-06-billyBehind the folding seat backs David Martinez created storage space with Art Deco styled doors giving the interior a very luxurious feeling.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-interior-04-billyThe trunk space was reduced a bit because of the modified frame, but it looks amazing completely upholstered. This used to be a rumble seat.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-interior-07-billyBefore David installed the seat he took this photo showing the perfectly styled upholstery.

David Martinez did an great job saving as much as possible on Billy’s 1936 Ford, every inch of the body was worked over till perfection. The already chopped top had a lot of bad things going on, which were all redone or replace with fresh sheet metal. When all the body work was done at Martinez Industries, the body was prepped for a¬†super gloss, super smooth black paint-job applied by David. One of Davids other specialities is creating Art Deco interiors, and for Billy’s Ford he created an hand made dash styled around and Oldsmobile gauge cluster and he added wonderful shaped storage compartments behind the folding seat backs. A detail you normally only see in high end coachbuild cars. The upholstery was also done by David in real leather and matching mohair and wool for the headliner and carpets.

CCC-art-deco-36-ford-04-billyBilly’s 1936 Art Deco Ford Coupe looks fantastic from any angle, but this rear 3/4 view is perhaps my most favorite of them all. Everything seams to flow so well and the car looks like its going 100 miles an hour standing still.


Metal work and Custom touches

  • ¬†3-1/2‚ÄĚ chop
  • Rumble seat converted to a trunk
  • 1939 Lasalle Grill
  • 1937 Packard Jr headlights
  • 1937 Zephyr taillights
  • 1936 Chevy hoodsides
  • cut down 1940 Chevy bumpers.
  • New HOK black paint ‚Äď work by Dave Martinez
  • New rubber on running boards, all new door seals and hinges
  • New glass all around
  • New wiring harness, all electrical works great, lights, blinkers, dome light, dash lights, etc- all have been gone through and redone with new wiring
  • Yankee 360 turn signal
  • Handmade dash with 1939 Oldsmobile¬†gauge cluster and dual glove boxes
  • 1948 Lincoln Wheel with knobs that match steering wheel made by Dennis Crooks at Quality Restorations
  • Leather interior by Dave Martinez- stunning!
  • Mohair headliner to match deep red wool carpet, oxblood



  • SB 350/350 tranny
  • 3-1/2‚ÄĚ Bell dropped front axle
  • Rear of the frame C-notched
  • Ford 9‚ÄĚ rear
  • All new Posie springs, rides like a dream!
  • Great running and driving car with no mechanical issues


How the Art Deco Ford Coupe was created

CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-01This is how Billy delivered his 1936 Ford coupe to David Martinez in North Palm Springs, California. From a distance it still looks ok, but up close it was evident the car had a very rough life.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-02When the car was chopped by a previous owner the body was was done very poor with loads of plastic filler covering the poor workmanship. David took it all off and metal finished the complete car as these door photos from before and after show.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-03The roof and upper sections of the door jambs we so bad it was easier to redo them from scratch.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-04A lot of work was needed to get the top door jambs and A-pillars up to the standard Billy and David were looking for.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-05A large section of the A-pillar had to be replaced.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-06With most of the chopped top reshaped and looking good it was time to create a new filler panel for the top.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-07All fender s were in pretty bad shape as well as these photos of the passenger rear fenders show. David handmade most of these replacement panels.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-08Finished rear fender with a reshaped Foxcraft 36-40 Ford teardrop skirt.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-09The rumble seat was converted to trunk. The trunk panel reshaped to fit much better than it ever did, all gaps adjusted and a complete new inner structure and lip shaped.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-10A lot of work went into the rear of the car to make it all fit together perfect, and super straight. All poor body work and bad metal was replaced.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-11The 1939 Oldsmobile gauge cluster was the center point for the interior. David restyled everything around it. 


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-12The complete dash panel was handmade.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-13Freshly painted Olds Gauge cluster on the left and the finished dash on the right with the two glove boxes and hand made knobs matching the Lincoln steering wheel.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-141937 Lincoln Zephyr teardrop shape taillights mounted low on the Ford  rear deck. The cut down 1940 Chevy bumper was mounted on cut down bumper brackets to get them close to the body.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-15Some nice photos from David showing the work needed on the hood to get the LaSalle grille to fit, and the freshly metal finished body.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-16Hand shaped body panels to make the bottom of the LaSalle grille with the For front fenders.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-17Almost done with the body work… getting ready for paint.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-martinez-18Hood sides with 1936 Chevy hood side louvres, and Packard headlights. Everything flows together on Billy’s Ford.


CCC-art-deco-36-ford-05-billyBilly’s Art Deco Ford shortly before it was shipped from California to Billy’s home in Texas. The reflections on this car are stunning.





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)

4 thoughts on “Art Deco 36 Ford

  • What a pleasing design on the top chop and outstanding craftsmanship of the metalwork . I love the door window opening design that is very close to perfect symmetrical window opening . The custom craft is alive and well seeing these custom car gems one wish for a long future of traditional customs ! Another custom to ad to the wish list of ever see in the flesh !

  • I agree with Tinwolf. Beautiful car.
    Seems to be more craftsman doing this level of quality work then ever before.
    Long live customs!!!!!!!!

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