1936 Ford Deluxe Cabriolet - $37,900
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It's powered by a recently rebuilt 239 cubic inch 8BA flathead, which is really the one you want.

You’ve read it here before and it remains true: flathead Fords are some of the best all-around hobby cars you can own. Good power, fun performance, great looks, and a massive support infrastructure behind them make any pre-war Ford an excellent choice. Some are obviously more desirable than others and everyone has their favorites, but there’s little question that 1936 was an excellent year for the Blue Oval. The styling was completely revised and left the early ‘30s look behind and the proportions are exactly right. Add in a top that goes down, a rumble seat, and a few period upgrades, and this handsome 1936 Ford Deluxe Cabriolet becomes the car that you’ll look forward to driving every chance you get.

Washington Blue is the archetypal Ford color and it looks especially good on the 1936 models. This is an older repaint that might date back to the 1990s, but it shines up nicely and represents the color properly, so this Ford looks right. It has been driven and enjoyed, which is the whole point of owning an old car, is it not? But regardless of use, it still attracts attention and looks handsome from any angle. You probably shouldn't expect perfection, but it's perfectly OK to expect this to be a car that you can get in and enjoy with thumbs-up gestures from fellow motorists along the way. Panel fit is quite good, with doors that fit flush, a hood that latches easily, and the rumble seat pops up from a nicely finished opening. Proper black fender welting was used as needed and it appears that much of the chrome has been refinished, including the bumpers, with the rest being nice original stuff that shows some light pitting, as expected. The handsome 1936 grille is augmented with an accessory greyhound hood ornament as well as a pair of Ford-script driving lights that dress it up quite a bit. There's also an accessory grille guard included with the car. Twin taillights for safety, a metal cover for the spare tire, and a rakish profile make this cabrio one of the most handsome of the '36 Fords.

There's no new ground being broken inside, where you get familiar Ford brown leatherette, a rubber mat, and a big banjo steering wheel. We suspect that much of the interior is original, and with that in mind, it's in fantastic shape. The rubber mat isn't torn or cracked, the seats show no splits or tears, and the door panels, which are probably newer than the rest, are in good order. All of the original gauges are fully operational, including the thermometer-style temperature gauges and fuel gauge, and Ford's lovely gauge faces are still some of the most attractive of the era and look like they belong on a much more expensive car. There's also an accessory AM radio in the center of the dash, and remarkably, it works! It takes a bit for the tubes in the box on the firewall to warm up and given that the antenna is mounted under the running board, reception is spotty, but to find such a device still fully operational is pretty amazing. The rumble seat is upholstered in the same brown leatherette that's durable and weather-resistant, and it's cozy in back for kids or maybe two adults who know each other well. The canvas top is older and shows its age, but it isn't ripped or torn and seals up well enough to keep the rain off your head if you get caught in a shower. It also has a plastic rear window that isn't totally correct but does offer better visibility than the tiny original glass frame.

It's powered by a recently rebuilt 239 cubic inch 8BA flathead, which is really the one you want. It isn't totally correct for 1936, so this isn't a car for the absolute purist, but it does everything you want a flathead V8 to do and makes all the right sounds. Beyond a dual exhaust system, it remains quite stock, so it would not be fair to call this a hot rod, although it certainly feels energetic out on the open road. There's still a familiar Holley 2-barrel carburetor on top, complete with oil bath air cleaner, as well as a generator to make 6-volts' worth of electricity. The big advantage of the 8BA is the distributor, which is more conventionally located on the passenger's side of the block rather than on the front between the heads—service is ever so much easier. There's a big radiator up front that seems to have no problem keeping this flatty nice and cool, and the mechanical fuel pump delivers the fuel without any signs of flathead fever. There's also a new voltage regulator, optional oil filter assembly, and a new starter solenoid, plus a lot of recent wiring, so it's ready to drive. The engine looks great in Ford Green engine enamel with fresh plug wires and a proper gold-tone carburetor finish that simulates golden cadmium plating. Regardless of your tastes, this one looks right and runs great.

We do not believe the body has ever been off the frame, so please don't expect sparkling perfection underneath (that's also why this car is so affordable). The frame shows no signs of ever being hit or damaged, and while there's some minor perforation in the usual areas, none of it is significant enough to require either restoration or taking the car off the road. It's been that way for decades and won't get any worse, and if you really feel the need to fix it, it's just flat metal so it is not a significant job that requires experts. That said, our advice is to leave it alone because it drives beautifully. The 3-speed manual transmission has clean shifts, clutch action is light thanks to a fresh disc and pressure plate, and the dual exhaust system has vintage glasspack-style mufflers that have just the right V8 soundtrack. Modest 3.55 gears give this Ford great punch around town, yet it is still happy to cruise on the highway at 55-60 MPH without working very hard. Ride quality is surprisingly good for something with leaf springs and rigid axles at both ends, and the brakes—which are still mechanical—work rather well, so don't believe that nonsense about conversions being mandatory if you want to drive. Beautiful artillery wheels wear chrome "spider" hubcaps and trim rings, as well as a proper set of 6.00-16 BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whitewall tires (although Henry preferred to buy tires from his good friend Harvey Firestone).

This lovely cabriolet also comes with a nice set of books and manuals, including the original owner's manuals with envelope, a specification book, brochures, and a radio operator's manual.

Perfection is over-rated. I can't count the number of people who tell me, "My car is too nice to drive." Well, what fun is that? You may as well collect coins or clocks if you're just going to look at it. This Ford was built to drive and it does that EXTREMELY well. It looks great, and the road manners of a well-sorted Ford V8 like this are just delightful. And don't get me wrong, this car looks great from any angle and you will be proud to have your name on the windshield card at almost any show. It's reasonably priced for a 1936 V8 Deluxe Cabriolet, the engine is strong and fresh, and it does everything right when you're behind the wheel. And all of those are the right reasons to own an old car. Call today!

Vehicle: 1936 Ford Deluxe Cabriolet
Price: $37,900
Stock Number: 115062
Mileage: 60,574
VIN: 2970893
Engine: 239 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.78
Wheelbase: 112 inches
Wheels: 16-inch artillery wheels
Tires: 6.00-16 BFGoodrich wide whitewall
Exterior Color: Washington Blue
Interior Color: Brown leatherette
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