Al Strong's 1936 Chevrolet
Customer: Al Strong
Vehicle: 1936 Chevrolet Master Town Sedan
How long have you owned this vehicle?
I purchased the car in 2002 for $7500.
Where did you get this vehicle?
I located the car in a local news paper. It was located in Washougal Washington, not far from where I lived. I happened to be the first person to call on it. I had decided I wanted something different that had character and that you don't see frequently. I had the car for almost two years before I decided I liked it well enough to start on it. After my mother passed away we were going through family photos and I discovered my Grandfather had a 36 chevy when I was very small. It gave me a little sentiment about continuing on.
What condition was the vehicle in when you got it?
It started out looking like a good solid car. It was actually a poor man's restoration. It had a sort of decent paint job. The interior wasn't bad either. Later discovered lots of rust holes with Bondo squeezed into them. The door and side body wood was bad, Many parts were missing including the grill, wipers, interior visors etc. It also started it's life with only one taillight. The engine was worn out, and the knee action front suspension was shot.
What work have you done on this vehicle?
I tore the car completely apart. I removed the body from the chassis with the intension of retaining the original frame, but it had too much rust and was thin in many places. It went from a restoration to a street rod resto rod. I used Direct Sheet metal patch panels on the front quarters, new rocker panels and rear quarters. Installed a recessed firewall to give the engine more room for cooling. I fabricated new floor pans and a dash extension below the dash to hide the Vintage Air HVAC. I also tubbed the rear wheel wells to accept 10.25 wide rear tires.
I purchased a Art Morrison Air Ride Chassis built to my specifications. The rear axle was moved rear ward 1.12 inches and an adjustment was made for the front suspension to place the tires and wheels where they belonged, centered in the fender wheel openings. I chose a Chevy 440 hp stroked 383 cu in engine, GM 4L60E OD transmission, and Strange 9 inch 3:70 posi trac rear axle. It has mustang II power rack and pinion steering, Ididit tilt steering column and Wheel Shop Bango steering wheel wrapped in chocolate brown leather. I installed a Genie floor shifter that looks like the original shift lever. I also modified the original hand brake so it could be retained.
The original dash has been modified to accept Classic Instruments gauges installed from the back side of the dash to be less obvious. Air ride suspension controls and the Stereo head are located behind the glove box door.
Stopping is handled by Wilwood power disc brakes. I chose 17 inch Budnik wheels for the front and 18 in the rear.
I selected Wise Guys seats for the 3 point seat belts, but had to completely redo the rear to work with the wheel tubs. I also installed heated front seats with lumbar. I wired the car with a Ron Francis 24/7 wiring panel which drops down from under the dash for access.
I have done all the chassis and body fabrication work at home in my garage. Finish body work including making all the gaps perfect and custom paint work was done by Kevins Restorations in Vancouver. I had a color in my head that we couldn't find so Kevin had to custom mixed the color which we call Pearl Mocha. Upholstery was finished in Chocolate Brown by Jeff Shelton in Longview Washington. Carpet is dark brown German Square Weave. The final touch was Bronze tined glass provided by Kevin Beaty of Vancouver.
For now the car is finished. We are just looking forward to driving it which we started doing last summer. Eventually replace 14" wheels, replace steering wheel and re install original shift linkage.
What were the hardest parts to find?
The grill and grill trim were probably the most difficult. I was fortunate to find a NOS grill that had been re-chromed locally. Windshield wiper transmissions, and RH tail light assembly would be other hard to find parts.
What other vehicles do you own?
I still have a 1932 Ford 5 window coupe street rod that I bought in 1962. (just a body and frame for $25.00 from a class mate.) It has a 4" chopped top. Is powered with a 1962 corvette 327 and 4 speed transmission. It was featured in Street Rodder Magazine, Sept 2006,and was on the cover.
What is your next project?
My next project is a 1936 Ford 3 window coupe. It is a project I recently acquired from a neighbor who had it sitting in his garage for 20 years. It needs a lot of love, and hours of work. It will be powered with a 1955 Buick 322 in Buick Nail head engine and 700R4 transmission.
Do you have any advice for people thinking about doing a restoration project?
First of all you need to know what you're willing to spend. Will the project be worth what you invest in the end? Most hobbyists can't afford to have someone else do all the work for them, so you need to be prepared to get dirty. Don't be afraid to try things, but tools are very important. Don't be afraid to ask questions, finding resources for parts and information is most important. If it's a Chevy The Filling Station is a great resource.
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