Everyone has fallen in love with a Rod & Custom cover car at one time or another. For Bob Schneebeli, it happened way back in 1959 when this yellow '36 three-window coupe showed up on the front of the September issue. At that time, the coupe was owned by a 26-year-old hot rodder named Dick Brady, who had paid $275 for the car 10 years earlier. With a fairly stock '57 Corvette 283 between the fat fenders, the coupe was scooping up trophies at Southern California car shows. Bob was only 17 years old at the time but was smitten by the cover-model coupe and eventually made it his mission to own it.
The coupe may have been Bob's first automotive love, but it wasn't his only. He owns a wide variety of hot rod cars and trucks he's built over the years. In the early '70s, the '36 surfaced briefly at a swap meet in St. Louis, only to disappear again. When Bob finally tracked it down, he discovered that the long-lost coupe had been sold five times and had spent approximately 30 years in storage.
Naturally, the car had undergone a few changes between Brady and Schneebeli, but as Bob began the rebuild, he decided to return it to the condition it was in when he saw it on the cover of R&C. When Brady owned it, the coupe had '39 taillights, which had been replaced with '36s. Bob removed the spare tire, shaved the rear deck, and switched the taillights back to '39s. He pulled the entire drivetrain and built a 350 with a four-speed, built up the '36 chassis, ironed out the body, and reshot the paint. He's not quite finished yet. Bob's next step will be to redo the cockpit, using the old photos as a guide.
We met Bob completely by accident (or was it fate?) at the '02 Street Rod Nationals in Louisville. He was looking for the Pros Pick corral, which had already disbanded. We started asking questions about the cool yellow coupe. Out came the '59 issue, and we realized we'd stumbled onto a genuine survivor.