This week, another cool car from the Kannapolis Cruise In. The Kannapolis event is at the top of my list for places to see great automotive art. And as a bonus, you get to meet real Americans from the heartland. Folks who wouldn’t live in New York City or Hollywood if you paid them. It’s about core values, and more than a little nostalgia for a time when the world seemed less complicated.
For the second part of this report, I’m going to talk about a 1936 Ford Humpback Sedan built by a guy named Randy. What drew my attention to this particular car was the front end. At first I thought the car might have been from a less common marque, maybe a DeSoto or something similar. It looked like it could be been original equipment for a long lost brand I wasn’t familiar with. Since there weren’t any badges or other details to identify it, I had to ask.
Therein lies the story. A substantial part of this street rod is hand fabricated steel. I don’t mean adapted from some other components, fabricated from raw sheet steel. Hand made body parts like this is something you don’t see very often. However, there is a good reason for doing it this way. The original body that Randy bought was a mess. Not all the parts were there, and much of what remained was seriously rusted. The solution for missing and damaged parts is ingenuity and hard work.
The first thing is to build a frame from from rectangular steel. While you can’t see it, I the photos, the frame is rock solid and looks completely professional. Randy keeps a book with photos and notes from the build. Every step was thought out carefully executed.
The grille surround was formed from sheet stock, as was the front end apron and the connecting sections of the front fenders. He mounted small diameter tubing so that it formed the shape of the wheel openings and then tacked in formed pieces to blend into the shape of the non-rusted fenders.
The same process was used for the rear fenders. The rear of the body, from just below the current license plate was also severely rusted and damaged. This whole area was fabricated from scratch and then blended into the existing body shapes. And let’s not forget completely new running boards.
Randy also fabricated most of the new dashboard, and many other interior parts. The headliner and some other interior trim is made from carbon fiber. A nice accent to the red body color. Every part looks like it belongs and was built with care.
The motor is a Chevy smallblock crate motor, but it’s backed by a Tremec 6-speed tranny. Randy says he can cruise at interstate speeds with the motor running under 1800 rpm! Cars like this aren’t built for gas mileage, but that’s just gotta be nice. The ’36 Humpback does get some cruising time. It’s been driven from the Carolinas to New York State multiple times.
That’s what I love about the street rod culture, it’s all about ingenuity and building something personalized. A unique statement.