36 FORD SURVIVOR CUSTOM
Customizing on this 1936 Ford 5-window Coupe started in 1948 and was finished in 1953. It was family owned until it was sold in 2015. Now it is destined to be fully restored to its former glory.
In November 2015 this 1936 Ford chopped 5-window coupe was offered for sale on eBay. Listed as an 1936 Ford Custom Coupe “True Barn Find” in Oregon. I first found out about it when one photo of it was posted on Facebook and somebody mentioning how bad the chop looked on the car. I disagreed and thought it was looking really great and interesting. I figured it was an older custom job done perhaps in the 1950’s. I searched for the eBay listing and compared the eBay photos with some of the old 1936 chopped 5-window coupes in my archive files, none of them looked similar. I saved the photos in my files and went on doing other things. A couple of days later I received an email from Micke Hedberg from Sweden, mentioning that he had just bought this ’36 Ford 5-window and that he was looking to find more info on the car.
Micke also thought it was an old build, and he asked the Oregon seller what he knew about the car’s history. He just told him that it was found in a barn and the owner had passed away. He would not give any contact information to the earlier owner.
Photo from the Oregon ebay seller. This is the trailer that the car was on in storage since 1980. Notice the new louvered hood sides. The Chevy bumper, chopped top and the smooth running board give the car a very nice look.
First when Micke received the title for the car he was able to search for relatives to the earlier, original owner Delwyn Triska (Del) listed on the title. He did Google searches and was able to find a few matches in Oregon. He contacted them on facebook without results. After some more researching he found a Nolene Triska listed as an artist in Estacada. Micke contacted her and got an positive answer the next day. Nolene was indeed connected to Del Triska, the former owner of the Ford. Nolene was married to Del´s son Wyn Triska. After the first contact with the Triska family, it has taken Micke almost five month to gather all the information on the car so far. And he sure is hoping he will find out much more about the car.
Nolene was going to be the family contact person, She has had her husband Wyn (Del’s oldest son) at her side while answering Micke´s emails and phone calls and has spent a lot of time questioning Nancy, Del’s widow, about Del and the car. It is from Nancy we got many old pictures. Nolene has also spoken to Del’s older sister, Shirley, to search for more information. Micke would like to give a BIG thank you, to Nolene for all the help putting the history together on the ’36 Ford. He could not have done this without her help.
- Delwyn Triska (Del) Owner of the car since 1948. (born 1930, passed away in 2013)
- Wyn Triska Son to Del.
- Nolene Triska Wyn´s wife (Micke’s contact person, gathering and sharing the family information on the car)
- Nancy Del’s widow (Married to Del since 90´s)
- Shirley, Del’s sister
Lets start with the info that came with the car from the Oregon seller.
This is a true barn find. This car was brought up from California to Oregon on the trailer in the photos, and put in a barn and was not touched since 1985. I checked this vehicle out and found no rust anywhere. Here is what I know about it. The top was chopped professionally to give it a better look. The running boards were molded in as well as the headlights and taillights. Louvered the hood. Aluminum firewall. Has engine compartment gauges. Still a 6 volt system. The brakes are upgraded to a hydraulic system. The steering column is from a 47 ford. The engine is a 1937 with dual carbs on a Edmunds intake, Aluminum heads Cyclone 21 high compression. I have not tried to clean it up or start the engine yet. I am sure it wouldn’t take much to get it running and put tires on it and drive it as it is.
Micke found the listing on eBay early in the morning (European time), it most likely was put up a couple of hours before he saw it. He had to wait until the afternoon (European time) before he could call the seller using the phone number in the eBay ad. The listing was up in $16,100.- at that time, (less than 24 hours after it was listed). Micke called the guy in Oregon, spoke to him about the Ford, made him an offer and a deal was made.
Del Triska 1936 Ford
In December, a month after the Ford had been offered on eBay, Micke was able to get in touch with Nolene, the wife of the original owner’s son, and asked about the ’36 Ford 5-window coupe he had bought. She told him that the car he had found belonged to Delwyn (Del) Triska. Del who, sadly, passed away in 2013, was born in 1930. He’d bought the ’36 Ford as a used car in 1948 or 49 in Long Beach California. He was still a young guy and had just graduated from high school when he bought the car. Del was in the United States Navy, stationed out of San Diego, California, while he was working on the car.
A young Delwyn (Del) Triska with the 1936 Ford before the major restyling had begun. The photo is taken at Del’s parent’s home on 98th Street, Los Angeles. No date, but had to be ’48 or early ’49. He graduated in ’48, turned 19 in December of ’49 and went in the Navy right after that.
When this photo was taken Del has already been working on the car in his parents garage for some time. It already has hydraulic brakes, other bumpers and radio antenna, but the top was still stock. We do not know if Del bought the car the way it looks here, or if he added the hydraulic brakes, bumpers and antenna.
Del reworked the stock ’36 Ford dash early on, but would later redo it a bit more dramatically. All the early work was done in his father’s garage and out in their backyard on 98th Street in Los Angeles.
This photo shows the first version of the dash installed in the un-chopped coupe.The seat had a new aftermarket seat cover installed, but the door sides are still factory stock. The car also still had the floorshift and a ’37 steering wheel. Noticed the “Southern California” letters in the windshield! This was a typical California thing to show which high school you attended.
Del posing with his ’36 Ford before it was chopped in the background. In the foreground a friend of Del poses with his mildly restyled ’36 Ford 5-window coupe. His friend Ford had the running boards removed, fenders modified, hood sides replaced with smooth units and running singe bar flipper hubcaps and new bumpers. Two young proud guys posing with their two cool Customs, what a fantastic photo.
Del had found a local (Long Beach) body-man who had a good reputation of doing fine body work. Wyn remembered that the body-man was pretty well known and that Del had said he was the BEST around in the Long Beach area at the time. Wyn also remembered that the body-man had build car(s) featured in the magazines back then and that he had an unusual name. Judging from quality of the work done on the car it may very well be that Herb Reneau might have been this famous body man who worked on Del’s 1936 Ford. Micke is trying to find more info on this right now, and hopefully we can confirm this, or at least add the right name for the body-man at a later stage. (Herb Reneau is best known for his work on the Jack Calori 1936 Ford coupe.)
Del’s Ford was the first ’36 Ford 5-window coupe the body-man had chopped. He had chopped 3-window coupes, but the 5-window coupe needed a much different chop. More was taken out of the rear than the front to get the top, which is a bit higher in the back from the factory, nice and better flowing after the chop. The B-Pillars were lined up after the chop, and the windshield was laid back, and cut down a bit to meet the new roof line. The rear window is uncut and angeled forward a bit as Del wanted the full-size window in the back. The top section was filled-in using a section cut from a ’39 Pontiac.
1953 photo of Del’s 1936 Ford all finished in super glossy black paint with the right amount of chrome accents. The Chevy bumpers give the chopped coupe some extra “body”, a very nice touch.
1953 photo from the rear shows the molded in taillights and the ’49 Chevy license plate guard mounted on the 46-48 Chevy bumpers. Notice the ripple dish hubcaps with no flipper. And how it still matches the spare tire cover on the car today.
Del replaced the original engine with the ’37 Ford engine that is still in the car today. He hopped up the engine a bit with 21 stud Cyclone heads, Edmunds intake manifold, twin Stromberg 97 carbs, Weber 3/4 race camshaft, hi-volume oil pump, distributor adapted from late 40s Ford engine. Del also added exhaust headers, hydraulic Brakes from late 40s Ford. Tranny and columshift too. Dell added 1946-48 Chevrolet bumpers with 1949-50 Chevy accessory bumper guards and an 1949 license plate frame on the rear bumper.
Wyn mentioned that Del did not have a lot of money when he first got the car. He was in the Navy and just did not had a lot of cash to spend on the car. He agreed with the builder that he could do as much work on the car himself as possible to save money. Besides that Del offered to do other work in the shop to trade with the body-man to work on his Ford. It all worked out great and labor was traded and everybody was happy. The car was finished in the early 1950’s and some of the photos we have received from the Triska family show the finished car in 1953, and colour photos from 1954.
This photo was taken in October of 1964. Wyn to the left is 5 years old and his brother Brian 3 years old. Notice that Del’s Ford has a large diameter white with chrome trim ring steering wheel. Also notice that the car still looks very good. Del used it now and then after he got married, but he drove the Mercury to work, usually, according to Wyn. [divider]
Del was in the Navy from 1949 to 1954. After he joined up at 19 years old (several months after high school graduation), his parents moved from their home (on 98th Street in Los Angeles) to their Kagel Canyon property. Del didn’t have the car chopped and rodded until he was in the Navy, when he had a little more money. After the work on the car was done, he drove the car back and forth from San Diego to Kagel Canyon, Los Angeles, where his parents lived. He got out of the Navy in 1954 and married Wyn’s mom.
They bought an 1950 Mercury right after they got married, to have a family car, and shortly afterward, moved to Torrance, California. Del drove the Ford off and on after that, but Nancy says he usually used the Mercury to go back and forth to work. By the way, Nancy also mentioned that Del was in charge of the engine room on his ship. He was extremely proficient at tending and repairing the diesel engines and supervising the other sailors in the engine room. Everything ran smooth as silk, the engine room was spic and span and there wasn’t any problem he couldn’t solve. The captain of his ship was so happy with his work that he wouldn’t let him be transferred to any other ship. So Del stayed with his ship all four years of his enlistment. He told Nancy he was in heaven running the engine room. He also had access to machining equipment to make parts for his car!
In the 1970’s, Del and his son Wyn (13 years old at the time) decided to restore the 1936 Ford as a father-son project. All the original body work was left as it was, the engine was removed to be worked over and later re-installed. Wyn remembered that his father was a meticulous person and fussy about doing things correctly. Del helped him rebuild the engine, fix up the body and repaint it. Wyn rewired the ’36 with a salvaged scrap Boeing 747 wiring harness which he had found at a local swap meet.
Wyn designed and fabricated new exhaust headers to replace the ones Del had designed so many years ago. Sadly, the originals were completely rusted out. Under Del’s supervision, Wyn re-machined the engine turned aluminum panels on the dashboard that matched the panels on the firewall, all of which were installed by Del in the 1950’s. They also removed the large white steering wheel and column and added a smaller diameter wheel. Wyn could not remember where the original large white steering wheel came from. During the time they rebuild the ’37 engine the engine from the Mercury was mounted in the car.
The father and son team worked on the car for three years. With the car completely redone and Wyn now old enough to drive, he drove the car to his work in Los Angles for about a year. When Wyn moved out of his parents home in Torrance, California, he gave it back to Del and the car was stored for 16 years. In 1996, Del and his wife, Nancy, moved to Estacada, Oregon, to be closer to Wyn and his family. Del brought the ’36 with him. Nancy remembers that Del started the car and drove it onto the trailer in order to tow it to their new home. He stored it inside their pole barn, and then, in 2003, moved it to their 3-sided carport, open in the front. The Ford always had the car cover on it.
With father and son now living close together again, the plan was for Wyn’s son Josh (Del’s grandson) to work with his father and grandfather on the ’36 Ford, but, sadly, that never happened. Del passed away before this 3 generations family project was started.
The large white steering wheel was removed and replaced with an more appropriate (for the time) smaller diameter sports steering wheel. The column is still the same as what Del installed in the early 1950’s.
Wyn also remembers that the car was registered, actually, as a ’35, because the frame was a ’35 frame, but Del had put on fenders and a body to make it a ’36 because he liked the look of the ’36 better. The upholstery in the car was not touched by Wyn when they redid the car. It was that way as far back as he can remember. He doesn’t think Del re-did it after the first chop and upholstery job.
In the photos we can see how the running boards were smoothed and molded solid with the front and rear fenders. The stock taillights were molded into the fenders, and also the headlights stands were molded in and the front fenders were molded into a single piece. MG trim pieces were added to protect the smooth running boards tops as well as on the sides. Smooth louvered hood sides were added and a set of spotlights was installed. According the family the spotlights originally on the car were Appleton’s. (but not the S-112 or S-552 type). The car never had fender skirts on it after it had been finished. Del liked the more sporty look of the car better this way. And even thought the car looked tough, and the engine was hopped up, Del never raced the car, he was just to proud on the work that was done to the car to take the risk of damaging it during a race.
Current State (May 2016)
Since Micke had bought the car in late 2015 the car has been stored at John Terry´s place in Vancouver WA. Micke got in contact with John through a local hot-rodder named Mark Brislawn that he became friend with while visiting the Portland Swapmeet earlier in 2015. John has been doing a bit of work on the car. He loosened up the frozen left rear brake and mounted the fresh white wall tires on the car. John also removed the spark-plugs, and filled the cylinders with penetration oil and tried to turn over the engine without any luck so far.
Micke and his brother Ronnie will fly over from Sweden to work on the ’36 Ford, and Ronnie’s 1939 Mercury vintage customs to get them road worthy and then drive to Los Angeles to attend the 2016 LARS show. The Los Angeles Roadster Show (LARS) will be held on Saturday, June 18th and Sunday, June 19th 2016. If you plan to go to the show, be sure to check out Micke’s 1936 Ford 5-window coupe and his brother Ronnie’s 1939 Mercury for their great historic Customs. We will make sure that we will be showing plenty of photos from the road trip and gathering of these two historic customs here on the Custom Car Chronicle.
Micke Hedberg is still looking into finding more information about the history of Del’s 1936 Ford. Hopefully the Triska family will be able to come up with some more photos, and possibly more information on the early years of the car. When is does we will be adding that information to this article as soon as we can. We have decided to run the article on Del’s Ford now, in the hope to possibly find some more information from other people than the Triska Family. Hopefully some of our readers might remember Del’s Ford from the Long Beach area in the early 1950’s. And hopefully this way we might be able to find out who did the original body work on the Ford, and if it was done by Herb Reneau, or somebody else. All this information will be used when Micke starts a full restoration on this great looking late 40’s, early 50’s custom 5-window coupe.
If you have more information on this Custom Car, then please email Rik here at the Custom Car Chronicle so that we can add the info to this article. Thank you.
Micke plans to clean up the car, get the missing hubcaps, bumper guards etc and make the old custom look as it did in the early 1950’s. He is going to run it in that way in the beginning, maby do a complete restoring later. He has a one year old daughter and another one on the way. Mickey likes to use his cars, in a similar way as Del did back in the 1950’s, for “daily” transportation. So he most likely will wait a little while until his kids have grown up a bit and understand to be careful with the car before he starts a full restoration.
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