Elsewhere in this issue, you may have read about another custom '36 Ford three-window the owner started with a nicely restored stocker because he was unable to find another decent starting point. This story is the complete opposite of that. You'd have a hard time finding something that would have made this build any harder.
Geir natvig has built a few hot rods before; in fact, his newest car is a '40 Ford coupe he drives yearround in norway, which we're sure is no easy feat. Sourcing rodding raw material is also not easy there, so when his search for a decent coupe proved unfruitful, he ended up starting with a humpback sedan a friend of his found upside down in a gravel mine where it had been resting for years. Converting a sedan into a coupe would be hard enough starting with nice sheetmetal, but Geir started with something that any sane rodder wouldn't have wasted time turning into a demolition derby contender. To say the sedan was rough would be an understatement.
I've never been to norway, but I'm guessing the folks there have more minutes in their hours and more days in their months. even more incredible than the fact that the humpback sedan's conversion to a coupe looks this good is that it was all done by Geir in his shop in one year while still working fulltime at his day job.
Geir is obviously someone who likes a challenge, and his favorite part of a build is working with his metalshaping tools and machinery, most of which he made himself. One glance at the sedan he started with and it's clear he really enjoyed himself with this one.
"I want my projects to cost as little as possible, and I do all of the work myself," Geir said. "It's more important to do it myself than having a 110 percent result." By taking this approach, he was able to keep his investment in the coupe down to $10,000 (u.S. dollars) after he traded some labor for the humpback and a '80 Malibu parts car.
Geir said the most challenging part of the buildup was locating the parts and making sure the lines flowed right while mocking it up in his small shop. He couldn't get much more than 6 feet away from it to get a good overall look, but you wouldn't know it from the final result.
Geir is already kicking around a few possible changes for the coupe, including making a new aluminum grille based on a LaSalle but with a shape more suitable for the '36 Ford in his eye.
As the saying goes, "Behind every good man is a good woman," and Geir would like to thank his girlfriend, Kristin, for all her support during his long hours in the garage.
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1936 Ford Coupe
The stock frame had lots of rust (the rear was nearly rusted off), so Geir repaired it, boxed it for strength, and Z'd the rear 3 inches. The front suspension consists of a split wishbone locating a Chassis engineering dropped axle with '46 Ford spindles modified to use Aston Martin Girling disc brakes. An '80 Chevy Malibu donated its 10-bolt rear with 2.45:1 gears and limited slip and is supported with a four-link and airbags for a smooth ride and tail-dragging stance. The chassis was plumbed in stainless steel and copper.
The same '80 Malibu gave up its 305ci small-block and Turbo 350 trans. An edelbrock X-1 with six 97s and edmunds air cleaners replaced the stock intake. Old-style edelbrock valve covers flank the intake, while late-'50s ram-horn exhaust manifolds send the burnt gases through a custom two-into-one exhaust using two mufflers in line. A walker copper radiator keeps it cool (something not always hard to do in norway during the winter).
Wheels & Tires
A '40 deSoto gave up its 15x5-1/2 wheels, which are wrapped in Firestone deluxe Champion 6.70 rubber, front and back. Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps finish them off for the perfect look.
It's hard to believe Geir started with that beat humpback body and ended up with this beautiful coupe. As the top was being formed from old and new sheetmetal, it was set about 3 inches lower than stock, and the rear was widened about 10 inches. The rear window was lowered 1-1/2 inches. The shape of the trunk is Geir's own design, which he rolled out of square tubing. Once it fit the profile he wanted, he welded the framework from the top to the rear of the car. He then rolled new panels on his english wheel. The rear of the body is nearly 3 inches longer than on an original coupe (discovered after the body was finished). Most of it was done by eye, since the only measurement Geir had was the width at the top of the rear fenders. The rear of the coupe was also channeled 2 inches, as the floor was missing anyway, and a new driveshaft tunnel was built 2 inches higher. The barely salvageable (don't know many who would had tried) sedan fenders were reworked to flow with the coupe body, and handmade fender skirts were added to the rear. The hood was shortened to work with the repro grille, which has been tilted back a bit. Geir took his own paint gun in hand and laid down the Spies Hecker RAL weinrot paint, and he is going to pinstripe it in the spring. The bumpers are '37 Ford, and the front is mounted closer to the body thanks to custom stainless brackets. The headlights are from a '35 Ford, and the taillights are '39 Ford. With the exception of the grille, most of the chrome and stainless trim is from Sacramento Vintage Ford.
The dash and gauges originally came in a '47 Ford but look right at home in the coupe. A '39 banjo wheel tops the '47 Ford pickup steering column, which includes a homemade shifter using some parts from a '59 Mercedes. The bench seat started life in the '80 Malibu but has been shortened and remolded to fit (it stills folds forward to access storage behind). Geir stitched it all up himself in black and white vinyl. The old heater was actually in the sedan when Geir got it and has been cleaned up and retrofitted with a new motor out of a Mazda.