1936 Ford Pickup - Cowboy Up
Second Go Around
Ron Segal has owned more than a hundred of the wildest custom street rods and trucks on the planet. Many have appeared on covers and have been featured in major custom magazines, including Truckin'. Two of Ron's previous custom trucks, a '56 and a '59 Chevy pickup, were both featured on the same cover of Truckin'. Ron has been a custom car and truck enthusiast for the past 40 years. He has been a member of the Over the Hill Gang in San Bernardino, California, since 1987.
Ron is a successful general contractor and custom homebuilder in the Palm Springs area. He has built more than 300 custom homes during his career. Ron is a true-blue spur-spinnin' cowboy, who owns a ranch outside of Desert Hot Springs. Ron and his lovely wife Sue have been horse lovers long before they hitched up. Both of them rode rodeo, as Ron rode bulls 'n broncs and Sue was a barrel racer. Even though Ron hung his spurs up a couple of years ago, he continues to ride hay burners for leisure. Sue still rides with a cowgirl's rodeo flag team, and trail rides all over the country. Now, Ron has the time to focus on more horsepower, street rods, and early model custom trucks. He also has an affinity for cowboy art, artifacts, Gilmore Racing, and Howdy Doody collectables.
Ron's latest wild ride is this '36 Ford Roadster pickup. The roadster was originally owned by John Slyter of Davenport, Iowa. John hooked up with two well-known custom builders, Dave Lane and Tim Strange of Strange Motion, who are located in Cambridge, Illinois. The pair was responsible for the majority of the original buildup. John explained his vision of what he was looking for in style, performance, and function. By using a '36 Ford pickup cab, the roof was removed, the windshield A-pillars were chopped 2 inches, then laid back a couple of degrees, and then the rear portion of the cab and doors were stretched 10 inches. A custom lift-off soft-top was fabricated, then covered with tan canvas.
Underneath the body, the factory framerails were boxed and lengthened 10 inches to accommodate the stretched cab. A '33 hood and grille were major factors in the custom body-mod equation. To make the front fenders align with the hood properly, the inner portions of the '33 passenger fenders were fused to the outer portion of the '36 pickup fenders. Then, a pair of Ford commercial headlights were adapted to the front fenders. Next, 2 inches were added to the middle of the rear fenders to allow width clearance for the chubby rear tires. To create another cool custom touch, the cab doors were hung in the suicide position. A one-off custom bed with straight sideboards, a radiused roll pan, and a hinged tailgate were capped with a custom steel tonneau, which was covered with a roof-matching tan canvas.
The internal Allante cream upholstery and TEA's bench seat with a center armrest were covered and stitched by Autos By Scott in Joplin, Missouri. The engine's rpm, vital signs, and speed are now read by Dakota Digital gauges. A complete Ron Francis wiring kit was used to link every electrical component. When the Quality Components air conditioning is not being used, the Ball's Rod & Kustom remote electric windows, locks, and latches allow for fresh, cool air and security.
An independent front suspension, including a rack and pinion power steering, was installed to allow for better handling. The superior stopping power is produced by front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. The Chevy small-block 350ci V-8 engine produces 350 hp, and was machined and built by the crew at Everett Dodd Engines in Davenport, Iowa. Stock shot-peened connecting rods and TRW pistons were hung on the steel GM crankshaft. A loopy Crane camshaft gave the Chevy small-block an erratic heartbeat that is pure power and torque.
The factory cast iron heads were ported and polished to increase the fuel and air-flow rate. Next, the crew at FMS Exhaust installed the Sanderson headers, which flow into a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. Leonard Transmission in Davenport, Iowa, was responsible for shifting gears, with a beefed-up GM TH350 automatic transmission. Denny's Driveshafts linked the TH350 trans to the Ford 8-inch rearend, which was stuffed with a set of 3.25 gears and a posi-unit.
After Ron took delivery of the '36 Ford roadster, it was driven over to his close friend, Richard Lindly, at RC Classics in Palm Desert. The '36 was racked on the hoist and its front and rear suspension were removed. RC installed a four-link and a Panhard-bar rear suspension. Up front, new upper and lower A-arms were installed. Both front and rear suspensions received the Air Ride Technologies latest Shockwave pneumatic 'bag system. Angies Auto Center mounted the new American Racing Torque Thrust M 105 series one-piece aluminum wheels, which measure 18x7 inches in the front and 20x10 inches out back. The five-spoke aluminum spools were wrapped in Dunlop Sport 9000 rubber, front 225/40R18 and rear 275/40R20 tires. The engine was torn down, inspected, and rebuilt at A&S Automotive in Palm Desert. All of Ron's rides have always had that unique whine of a Pete Jackson noisy gear drive, and the '36 was not an exception. Dan Conden from Indio Hills, did the gear-drive install. The addition of Zoops billet-aluminum valve covers and air cleaner contribute to sanitizing the engine compartment.
All of the exterior surfaces were stripped and then painted by the talented Stan Howton from Beaumont, using PPG Garnet Red. Stan also laid down some serious blue pinstripe treatments on the fenders, the hood, the tailgate, and the dash. The interior stitch work was done by Eddy and his crew at American Auto Upholstery in Corona. A TEA's bench seat with a retractable center armrest was re-covered with high-quality soft leather and tuck 'n' roll inserts. Finally, matching door panels completed the uniform interior. Mercedes-Benz tan wool carpet keeps the footsies comfy. The interior recreation was all done by Eddy at American Auto Upholstery in Corona. And of course, the soft-top and tonneau were both covered in the same maroon material.
Ron's stretched '36 Ford roadster pickup is just another one of his wild horsepower fuel burners added to his well-stocked stable.