The '36 Ford


Starting Out

This section of my web site is going to be dedicated to following my progress on my latest major project, a 1936 Ford Pickup. I hope to add updates over time, showing my progress as I wade through a project I'm sure will be well above my head. But, hey - I've never let that stop me before... This will hopefully be both a journal and a reference for myself, and maybe in the process I can educate or entertain some others as well as myself. I expect this to take several years, and progress will be sporadic, dictated by either how much spare time I have and how much spare cash I have to spend. Hell, I still have yet to finish the shop in which this thing will be built!

I'm also going to use this opportunity to get to know some new (for me!) web software. I'm sure there will be mistakes, so please be patient!

First off, I don't claim to be any kind of expert. I'm sure that more experienced rodders out there will be horrified by the tales I'm sure to spin. In my defense, I used to be a bit of a motorhead... Nothing much, but had the bug enough to build a couple hot rods when I was younger, including a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T and a 1969 Camaro RS. I then delved into Harleys when my brother and I bought an old 1973 FLH and a stroker in a hardtail frame, both of which gave us a great amount of wrenching experience. I also wrenched and painted quite a bit on other things like old Chevelles and dirt bikes (back when I was young enough to take the abuse from them!).

While I still own the Hog, even after more than 20 years, the hot rods are long gone. But that bug has been growing as of late...

To explain just how I started this project, I need to explain just how it came about. My nephew has recently taken possession of my dad's old 1936 Chevy Standard. Unfortunately a tree had fallen in a windstorm and damaged the grille and grille shell, so I would occasionally peek around in the local trade papers to see if one ever came up. I spotted a '36 Chevy grille in an ad for a long list of various parts for sale in a town about 3 hours south of here I thought I would check out. I wouldn't normally have driven that far to look at a grille, but this line (the same ad, just a little further down from the the '36 Chevy grille) of the ad got stuck in my head and it got me curious:

   ... bodies and parts. Fords: (2) 1936 pickups; 1938 4 door, 1938...

I have always wanted a '36 ford pickup. It's a project that's been in the back of my mind for a very long time, and I thought I would take advantage of the situation to take a look and see what he had.

Getting the Truck

It was just before Thanksgiving, 2006, when Sandy and I made the trip down. The fellow doing the selling was a "good ole boy" - a kind of guy I grew up around, and was an old rodder from a different era. At least I was in familiar territory with him. When we looked at the '36 Chevy grille, it was plain to see it was the wrong one. The grille was for a pickup, not a car, so I wasn't going to find the grille for my nephew that I hoped I would. So, I went on to ask him about the two '36 ford pickups he had listed in the ad.

He said that it was really more like 1-1/2 pickups. It had been two complete pickups not long before... Seems some fellow from Oregon had wanted just the cab of one of them for a "rat rod" he was building, and had left the rest of the pickup with him. What he had left had been disassembled by the previous owner who had given up plans to restore it. I asked to see what all was left. How bad could it be? My first view was a bit disappointing, to say the least:

1936 Ford Cab

There it was, pretty much just the cab alone, and looking in pretty poor shape, and COMPLETELY disassembled. This didn't look too good, so I asked him about the rest of the pickup. He brought me to the back of the yard, where we found this:

1936 Ford Pickup Frame

Well, at least there was a frame - but things weren't looking too much better. I thought he said he had two pickups! Anyway, next he leads me on to an old bus (you can see the front of it in the photo above). Inside the bus was the rest of the two pickups:

1936 Ford Parts

I did a quick inventory of everything I could think of, and it seemed to me that most of the parts were actually there. There was 2 hoods, 2 sets of fenders, 2 radiators... you get the picture... of just some of the major parts. There really was only one truck, with a few spare items. Seeing the thing was mostly there, I took a closer look at the cab, and it looks a little bit rougher than it really is. It's been sandblasted, but then not painted and left outside, so rusted quickly. In reality, there is bad rust in only 2 areas, the rocker panels and the front cab corners. One piece I noticed is missing is the dash panel...

I had to think on it for a while. I checked prices, and thought of buying a '36 or a '40 I saw on Ebay until the price for each went through the roof. A week before Christmas I figured what the hell. I called him back and bought the pickup for too much money (but still far, far less than the ones on Ebay!). I opted just to buy one of each of the duplicate parts he had, and risk it on getting what's left.

The seller was gracious enough to deliver the truck to my house when the trailer I had lined up for making the journey threw a bearing and was unavailable. After a little detective work, I found the truck's identification number which is located in three locations on the frame - all on the top drivers side... I found the one just behind the front wheel. Then we compared the two titles he had, and got the correct one. Seems this truck was last titled in 1972, and last license in 1977, so it's been sitting for almost half of it's 70 year life span.

Assessing the Parts

The next stage (or should that be the "first" stage?) will be to go through, assess, and catalogue all of the parts I have. I think the best route will be to try find a body and chassis parts catalog, if I can, and then go through each part - photographing and cataloguing it for later reference and possible re-sale, depending upon the route I choose to rebuild the old girl. I will add more to this part of the page when I get to it, and will provide a summary here with links to more specific sections for anybody interested.

I did take a closer look at the cab, and it looks a little bit rougher than it really is. It's been sandblasted, but then not painted and left outside, so rusted quickly. In reality, there is bad rust in only 2 areas, the rocker panels and the front cab corners.

Planning the Project

It's generally a good idea to plan out just how the truck is going to be built before diving in too deep... There are many options to consider. This section will also be updated as I know more, and summarized here with links to more specific sections as I see they are needed.


The Search for Parts


Parts Search

Obviously, not all of the parts for the truck are in the pile of boxes I bought, and also being I am going to use a modern drivetrain and suspension, I'm going to have to be on the lookout for those parts. Parts hunting is always a major part of car-building... at least if you want to try and keep the cost of the project down by not ordering all new parts out of the catalog (when and if you can find them that way!). There are always good sources for searching... Keep friends and relatives aware of what you are looking for, keep an eye out on the local craigslist and classified publications if you have them, and talk to other car builders you know in the area. A bit of research goes a long way here - both in getting the right part and in paying the right amount for it.

Drivetrain Parts - Rear End

One of the first things I will be doing will be the chassis, so it makes sense to look for the parts I'm going to need first - such as a rear end. Looking through the local craigslist, I located a Ford 9 inch rear end out of a 1977 Lincoln Versaille, which while it doesn't have Traction-Lock (posi), and a pretty tall gear selection of 2.75, the width is about perfect for the frame - 44-1/2" across at the centerline of the rear end - which happens to be the same width the tabs on this rear end are located. So, hopefully I won't even need to remove them, and I can simply bolt this rear end into the frame when the time comes. We'll see...

1936 Ford Cab

There is a lot to figure out when it comes to these rear ends.


Body Part - Dash

An older vehicle like this won't always have reproduction parts available for it, and if they do the price might be outside of your budget. The only solution to this is to get out there and find somebody who is selling the parts you need off of an original vehicle...

The first part I fretted about finding was the dash panel. There was none what-so-ever in the pile of parts I had. I then checked companies that sell reproduction parts to see if one was even made for this old truck, and couldn't find any. Luckily, I found an original one on ebay:

1936 Ford Cab

They seem to pop up every once in a while. I watched and or bid on a couple that either went for too much money or were too rusted to be usable until this one came along. A little patience got me this dash for about $40.

Body Part - Running Boards

Another thing missing from the pile - running boards. These would be tough, I thought - but ended up not being as tough as they were simply expensive:

1936 Ford Pickup Frame

These were off of a Nevada state vehicle (less rust in the desert)I was fortunate that the running boards were in pretty decent shape, though:

1936 Ford Parts

The only real damage is some pitting, which should be easily fixable. You have to watch that you are getting what you pay for with parts like this - I saw a couple running boards sell for nearly as much as these that were almost completely rotten from rust - totally unsalveagable in my opinion, and good only for maybe use as a patch panel for another set - and iffy at best for that. I also saw at least a couple that were for a 1-1/2 ton truck - while they look somewhat similar, they won't work on the smaller pickup.

Drivetrain Parts

One of the first things I will be doing will be the chassis, so it makes sense to look for the parts I'm going to need first - such as a rear end. Looking through the local craigslist, I located a Ford 9 inch rear end out of a 1977 Lincoln Versaille, which while it doesn't have Traction-Lock (posi), and a pretty tall gear selection of 2.75, the width is about perfect for the frame - 44-1/2" across at the centerline of the rear end - which happens to be the same width the tabs on this rear end are located. So, hopefully I won't even need to remove them, and I can simply bolt this rear end into the frame when the time comes. We'll see...

1936 Ford Cab

There is a lot to figure out when it comes to these rear ends.


More parts and design criteria for the old Ford

I know it's been a while, but I haven't been completely idle on the old truck project.... While I'm not directly working on it (I'm still in the collection phase), there's been a few developments worth note...

First - I picked up an engine and transmission. The engine is a 4-bolt main 350 chevy, I'm not sure of the year, but it's a good block. It's a rebuild, but it has less than 20k miles on the rebuild, and the bore and grind are virgin - never cut. There are some that might be taken aback some by putting a Chevy in a Ford, and I had those thoughts too... Truth is, I've been a Ford person all my life, and when I think back on my experiences - well, I don't feel too bad about stuffing a Chevy in there.

The tranny is a Chevy TH350  also with less than 20k miles (from the same place), and as it's geared it will work out well with the 2.75 gears in the Ford 9" rear end I acquired. I was considering a 700r4 overdrive transmission, but the price was right for the TH350 - and with it working with the rear I have I couldn't turn it down. It was a good price too - my brother got it as a trade for some work, and he traded it and the engine to me for a really decent price.

I've been remiss in showing some of the research that I've done in choosing these as my drivetrain - I hope to remedy that with the following, taken mostly from emails I was trading with my brother, out of old textbooks, and of course off of the web. Note - I make no claim as to the accuracy of any of this information, and the large majority of it was gleaned off of several diferent web sites, some of which are linked to, and some of which I have lost or simply combined information from many different sites.


Calculating transmission and axle ratios

Here's an online calculator for figuring axle ratios and the like:

There's a discussion of overdrive transmissions here:

They seem to suggest this:

"For street rods the magic number for smooth running in overdrive seems to be a minimum of 1,800 engine rpm with 2,100-2,300 rpm at 55-65 mph a good goal"

Using a 25" wheel (same height as on my lumina, should be close enough),

A TH350 trans with 2.75 gears will be going 57 mph at 2100 rpm and 62 mph at 2300 rpm (not overdrive)

A 700r4 trans with 3.25 gears will be going 67 at 2100 rpm and 75 at 2300.
A 700r4 trans with 3.50 gears will be going 64 at 2100 rpm and 69 at 2300.
A 700r4 trans with 3.75 gears will be going 60 at 2100 rpm and 65 at 2300.

So, according that - the 2.75 gears are perfect for a TH350, but a 700r4 might need as tall as 3.75 gears. But that article also mentions that a overdrive transmission will have problems with a carbureted engine unless a "kit" is installed, and also mentions the computer we talked about. Anyway, it seems more and more like the TH350 is the way to go, especially since it means the rear end I have is already geared right.

Transmission Gearing:
Turbo 350___2.52__1.52__1.00_______1.94 R
Turbo 400___2.48__1.48__1.00_______2.08 R
700R4______3.06__1.63__1.00__.70___2.29 R

While I'm at it, I should list some of the research I've done on the Ford 9" - the one I ended up with is out of a 1977 Lincoln Versaille, which I think will fit perfectly - though that has yet to be seen...

Ford 9" Rear Ends


Going through some rear-end options, just researching. I'm just guessing, but I think the width I need is a 56". I think a 9" out of a truck -which is the most plentiful 9" out there - are too wide. A more optimum find would be out of a 60's galaxie, as from what I read, all 60's Galaxies had 9" rear ends.

I also looked at a "crate motor" from Summit Racing. A 5.0L ford longblock was $4000. Way outta here with that. A complete engine from Spaldings runs $800 to $1200. I still think finding a donor car might be the way to go. V-8 Thunderbirds or Cougars would work as well as Mustangs, and might be easier to find.

Additional Options:

Might consider the 8.8" rear out of an '98 and newer Explorer if the width is OK. Factory posi, 31 spline axles, 3.55 or 3.73 gears, disc brakes and built in E-Brake. Best of all, cheap and plentiful. I gave $250 for mine from a local wrecking yard. Bolt pattern is 5 X 4.5."

Thunderbirds and Mustangs in 1995 used an 8.8" rear end also that came with or without ABS brakes. 1990 Mustangs had no ABS brakes, but used the 8.8", where 1990 T-Birds did have the ABS option. There was also a 7.5" rear used for these cars that would NOT be suitable, but I think those were on the 4 and 6 cyl. models.

An 8" out of a 1977 Granada was used in one project. Had 3.25 gear ratio stock. Basically from what I've read an 8" will work fine for anything up to and including a 300 horse motor.

A Currie Enterprises version of a 9" made for a 1965 Ford Galaxie was used in "Old Bleu". This was a truck where a guy used mostly new parts:

Just out of curiosity, I took a look at Currie Enterprises, and priced out a "crate" rear end. They have what they call a "Hot Rod" rear end ("hot rod" means a universal application, 56" wide rear end), that one can buy with options on what you want. Here's what I priced out:

31 Spline - Stock Gear Case & Pinion Support

Traction Lock 3.25 Gear ratio (same price for any ratio)

11" Explorer Disc Brake Kit w/5 X 4 1/2" Wheel Bolt Pattern (the drum brake version is about $50 cheaper)

Base Price: $849.9

3rd Member: $999.65

Brakes: $899.95

Total Price: $2749.5

Price for Housing and Axles Only (Base Price Above): $849.90. When I broke it down further, the housing and axles were priced at $400 each.

That's directly from Currie.

I found this page:

Says this:

The Rod Factory offers narrowed 9" Ford rear axles in 3 different stages. Our Stage 1 rear axle is 56" wide from wheel surface to wheel surface and comes with 28 spline axles, bearings and seals. The Stage 2 includes new backing plates, brakes and drums. The Stage 3 comes with a rebuilt, 2.75 or 3.00 Open differential. Other widths are also available and additional options are listed below.

9" Ford Rear Axle Assemblies

Part No. / Description / Price

2590-1 / Stage 1 Ford 9" rear axle 56" wide / $695.00
2590-2 / Stage 2 Ford 9" rear axle 56" wide / $1045.00
2590-3 / Stage 3 Ford 9" rear axle 56" wide (2.75 open) / $1595.00
2597-1 / Stage 3 Ford 9" rebuilt 31 spline 2.75 TSD / $2045.00
2597-3 / Stage 3 Ford 9" rebuilt 31 spline 3.0 - 4.11 TSD / $2195.00
2598 / Rebuilt 28 spline open 2.75 3rd member / $649.00
2598 / Rebuilt TSD 28 spline 3.00 - 4.11 / $999.00
2598-2 / Rebuilt Trac Lock 28 or 31 splin 3.00 - 4.11 / $899.00


Currie Hot Rod 9" Ford Rear Axle Assemblies

Part No. / Description / Price

2590-1H / Stage 1 Ford 9" rear 56" wide / $799.00
2590-2H / Stage 2 Ford 9" rear 56" wide / $1149.00
2590-3H / Stage 3 Ford 9" rear 56" wide (2.75 open) / $1795.00
2597-1H / Stage 3 Ford 9" rebuilt 28 spline 2.75 TSD / $2095.00
2597-3H / Stage 3 Ford 9" rebuilt 28 spline 3.0 - 4.11 TSDk / $2295.00

The list below is incomplete, I think - and I've seen some inconsistencies w/other web sites.

Here's a couple good links on rear-ends:


Widths and technical infor on 9" Ford Rear Ends

housing width in inches

year/model 46 50 52 54 56 57 58-3/4


64-77 Broncos are 46" wide
58-60 T-birds are 50" wide

57-59 Ford/Edsel are 52" wide
63-69 Falcon are 52" wide

63-65 Comet are 52" wide
63-65 Fairlane are either 52" or 54" wide

65-66 Mustang are either 52" or 54" wide
67-70 Mustang/Cougar are 52" wide

66-69 Fairlane/Cyclone are 56" wide
66-69 Fairlane/Cyclone are 52" wide

70-71 Torino/Cyclone are 56" wide
71-73 Mustang/Cougar are 54" wide

60-64 Ford/Mercury are 56" wide
61-67 T-bird are 56" wide

58-72 F-100 pickups are 57" wide

73-90 F-100 & F-150 are 58-3/4" wide

Another list had it like this:

Year & Model / Axle Length / Notes
1965-1966 Mustang / 57.25 inches
1967-1970 Mustang / 59.25 inches
1971-1973 Mustang / 61.25 inches
1977-1981 Versailles / 58.50 inches
1967-1973 Mustang, Torino, Ranchero, Fairlane /59.25 inches to 61.25 inches
1957-1959 Ranchero and station wagon / 57.25 inches
1966-1977 Bronco / 58 inches
1977-1981 Granada/Versailles / 58 inches
1967-1971 Comet, Cougar, Mustang, Fairlane / 59.25 inches
1971-1973 Mustang / 61.25 inches
1964 Falcon / 58 inches
1967 Cougar / 60 inches
1967 Fairlane / 63.50 inches / coil springs
1972 Ford Van 3/4 ton / 68 inches

Yet other information went this way:

Where To Find The Nine Inch Rear Axle

1967-1973 medium and big block Mustangs and Cougars 1966-1971 Fairlanes, Torinos, Montegos, Comets, and other Ford intermediates with big blocks.
1957-1959 V8 Fords and Mercurys
1977-1981 Lincoln Versailles & Trucks

Types Of Nine Inch Axle Housings

1967-1973 Mustang/Cougar - light duty, thinnest housing material, small axle bearings, 28 and 31 splines.
1957-1968 passenger car and 1/2 ton truck - medium duty, stronger than Mustang type, 28 and 31 splines.
Ranchero/Torino - heavy duty thick wall housing, 3.25 inch diameter axle tubes with flat tops.
1969-1977 Galaxies (coils), Lincolns (coils), and late pickups (leaf)- 3.25 inch diameter all the way to the backing plate, coil housings have upper control arm mount

How To Recognize Nine Inch Housing Centers

1957 - no dimples, flat center band up the center of the rear cover, bottom drain plug.
1958-1959 - two dimples on back of housing, flat center band, some had drain holes.
1960-1967 - two dimples, flat center band, oil level hole in back cover.
1963-1977 Lincoln, LTD, Thunderbirds had 9.375 inch centers, housings were cut away at the gasket surface for ring gear clearance, one curved rib at the front top portion of differential, strong but no gears.

Tips On Shortening Nine Inch Axles

1972 and earlier 31 spline axles have the ability to be shortened.

28 spline axles are tapered and cannot be shortened and re-splined.
1973 and later cars have a 5-on-5 bolt circle and the axles cannot be shortened.
1967-1973 Mustang axles can be identified by wheel flange:
Oval hole = 28 splines.
Two large holes and counter-sunk center = 31 splines.

I looked at some old Ford Galaxies that were good candidates for width, but in the end the Versaille rear end came up on the local at a fair (but not cheap) price - so went with it.  What this all ended up telling me is that I am not going to go with a fuel injected, computer driven system like I first envisioned, but a naturally aspirated, old-school setup.  I'm more familiar with that setup anyway...

Back to the search: 

Other parts have been showing up at the door on occasion... First, an original stainless steel grille trim with only the most minor ding:

 Grille Trim

They do not make a replacement trim that I have found, and the grille I have didn't have one - so this was a good find. Next up, a piece that was supposed to be included with the parts I initially bought, but "mysteriously" was missing - the windshield frame:


There are companies out there that make a windshield frame, the cost is around $300 for a plain steel frame, and closer to $700 for a chromed one. The one I got cost 1/3 of the painted style and is in excellent shape - and as a bonus contains a windshield I may actually be able to use... Next at the door was the passenger side of the hood:

 Hood side

I have a full, complete hood, but the fins on the right side are pretty banged up. This one, while it has a good amount of surface rust on the exterior, is in much better shape. For $30, it will save me hours of work straightening metal. Here's the interior:

 Hood Side interior

Now - one of the rarest body pieces you can find on a '36 Ford pickup is original steel rear fenders. There are no steel replicas made, all that's available is fiberglass at a cost of about $275. I have a pair of original rear fenders, but they are in pretty sad shape. I've been always on the lookout for replacements, but it often seems they go for between $900 and $1200 a pair, more than I want to spend - I can probably repair the ones I have for less than that. I did finally find one, a driver's side that I got for a somewhat fair price, though the fender needs substantial repair:

Rear Fender

The crack is nasty, going through half the width of the fender:

Rear Fender Crack

Not only that, but there's the typical rot you find at the spot below the floorboards:

Rear Fender Rot

Still - even with all that wrong with it, it's still in better shape than mine. I'll still keep an eye out for another, esp. a passenger side - and if I end up with extras I'll either use my originals as source material for repair, or sell them at some point. I still may have to fix them, too - the one depends on how bad this one is once I get into it. Mine doesn't have much for rust, but it looks like someone was hooking a chain to it to try pull fence posts out or something... I would probably need an English Wheel to straighten it out, along with some metalwork that's quite likely well above my head.

That's it for now - I'll add more as it comes.