After years of market dominance, Chevrolet forced Ford off the top of the sales charts as the Model T’s tenure ended. The Model A returned Ford to the top spot – if only temporarily – as the automobile market changed dramatically since the early days of the Tin Lizzie, and Ford had to remain fluid to keep up with rapidly changing trends. The Model A’s run was relatively short, but it was undoubtedly successful. In 1932, Ford again aimed for the top of the sales charts with America’s first low-cost V8 passenger car. While it ultimately failed to knock Chevy off the top spot, it became a legend in its own right, bringing eight-cylinder power to the people and spawning American hot-rod culture.
The “Flathead” V8 engine formed the foundation of Ford’s lineup throughout the 1930s and beyond. The styling evolved quickly, with changes happening annually to keep the car fresh and competitive. For the 1936 model year, Holden “Bob” Koto of Detroit’s Briggs Manufacturing Company refined the styling further, adding fully skirted fenders and a new, simplified radiator and hood treatment that gave the car a graceful, elegant appearance with the impression of speed even while parked. Further enhancing the modern look were new stamped artillery wheels, which replaced wire wheels once and for all. The efforts were not quite enough to retake the top sales spot from Chevrolet, but the little Ford V8 has become the preferred choice for collectors, restorers, and hobbyists and is a milestone car in Ford Motor Company History.
This 1936 Ford V8 is a marvelous example of the rare and desirable Deluxe Cabriolet. Finished in Cordoba Tan with a Poppy Red pinstripe and tan interior, this car is one of the special so-called “Easter Edition” models Henry would roll out annually, featuring unique colors and equipment. Finished in colors from the Lincoln catalog and equipped with a Greyhound mascot, polished wheel spokes, and additional interior décor, the spec is comparable to the later “Super Deluxe” models. This example has enjoyed many years of care and attention in the hands of enthusiastic collectors. The earliest history is unknown, but this car was in the late 1970s near Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, by two brothers. Owned by an older woman, it was found in remarkably original condition. The brothers acquired the Ford from her and embarked on an extensive restoration to correct original standards, resulting in an AACA National First Prize in 1981. Since then, the Ford Cabriolet has enjoyed a charmed existence, enjoyed regularly, and maintained in excellent condition, and now displays a light and appealing patina.
The Cordoba tan paintwork is in very good condition with a consistent and glossy finish showing only a few minor imperfections consistent with age on close inspection. The body is excellent, with all original steel panels and factory-correct detailing. It retains authentic trim and Deluxe-specific accessories, including dual tail lights, a rear-mounted spare with a painted metal cover, chrome trim around the windscreen and grille, and dual fog lamps. It rides on the correct polished wheels, fitted with Firestone wide whitewall tires and original hub caps. The plating and brightwork are in excellent order, with straight bumpers and trim.
Lovely tan leather is used on the seats and door panels of the two-passenger cockpit, with matching leather used on the rumble seat. The upholstery is in excellent condition, remaining supple, considering the time since the restoration. It is pleasingly broken-in and well-suited to casual driving and club tours. A highly-optioned car, it includes a banjo steering wheel, a woodgrain effect on the dash and door caps, and even a factory radio. A modern stereo and speaker set have been discreetly installed and are well hidden. The convertible top (with roll-up side windows for superior weather protection) is trimmed in tan canvas and includes a matching boot.
Power comes via the standard 85-horsepower V8 with a single downdraft carburetor. Ford’s Flathead is one of the most significant engines of all time and has long been revered for its power, economy, and surprising refinement, particularly at such a low price point. This car lives up to that legend with crisp and smooth running and is an absolute joy to drive. At idle, it is remarkably quiet, with just a hint of the signature V8 Ford burble. Performance is snappy thanks to the generous power output, lightweight body, and easy-shifting 3-speed manual transmission. This car has the bonus of a Columbia 2-speed rear axle to improve cruising ability even further. Engine bay detailing is executed to a high standard, with correct paint finishes on the engine and accessories and proper fittings and hardware, all appearing clean and with minimal signs of use.
With its factory V8 power and handsome styling, it is no wonder the 1936 Ford has long been a favorite car among hot rodders and customizers. Ford built just 4,616 Deluxe Cabriolets in 1936, and few of those have survived unscathed, making it extremely rare to find a correctly restored, authentic car such as this one. We love the charming and friendly nature of these early V8 Fords, and this car’s impressive presentation and broken-in charm will no doubt bring many years of motoring enjoyment to its next keeper.
Offers welcome and trades considered