The best way to get the next generation interested in street rods is to let them ride in one. Of course, it's a big generation, so you'll have to build a big street rod. That's what Brent Schieder was thinking when he decided to build a 1937 Ford Cabriolet this time around.
We say "this time around" because he's had a couple of other nice, late-'30s Fords in his collection. His first was a '37 Tudor sedan. It was a beautiful car but what he really wanted was a convertible. So his second car was a convertible-a super smooth, screaming orange '39 named, appropriately, "Orange Crush." If that sounds familiar, it may be because that car won a mountain of awards when it debuted and was featured in the Mar. '05 issue of STREET RODDER.
Brent's a family man now and "Orange Crush," with its pair of Recaro buckets and rumble seat, just isn't practical for carrying the whole household to the car show. So, when he was ready to start another project, he knew it had to have a back seat and a trunk. He got on the Internet and found this family sized '37 Club cabriolet in Kansas. It was just a body on a frame with unattached fenders and running boards when it arrived in Northern California.
The '37 shares a lot of style characteristics with "Orange Crush." That's not a coincidence. In both cases, Brent teamed up with builder Leonard Lopez, whose team at Dominator Street Rods in Tracy, California, fabricated the whole car.
The Kansas cabriolet sheetmetal was in sad shape, with quarter-panels that seemed to be evaporating-no big deal since Brent's plans called for extensive modification of virtually every panel on the car. Most of the sheetmetal was retained, repaired, and completely reworked. Mickey Galloway from Mickey's Magic in Brentwood, California, did much of the initial body reshaping. The car was sectioned approximately 1/2 inch in the rear and 1-1/2 inches in front to keep the desired proportions. The rotten quarters were replaced, and new doorskins, trunk skins, and a firewall were built. The exterior hardware was eliminated to clean up the lines. Galloway also created the handmade grille.
The Cerullo seats were wrapped in solid and perforated leather, and embellished with metal
In addition to sectioning, proportions were tweaked in other ways. The front end was lengthened to stretch the wheelbase a couple of inches. The doors were extended 2 inches as well. The front and rear fenders were reshaped, the wheel openings were radiused, and new running boards were added.
Paul Blatt at Dominator contributed much of the metalwork as well, including the stock hood that was massaged and matched with aluminum side skirts and a reshaped cowl. The headlights and bumpers were built at Dominator. Tri-Valley Auto Glass in Pleasanton, California, provided the glass for the laid-back V-butt windshield. Brent, a cabinet maker by vocation, used his woodworking skills to build the oak bows for the chopped top. When the sheetmetal was perfect, Dominator's in-house painter, Darrell Schneider, finished it in custom tan and cream, using DuPont Cromax Pro waterborne basecoat, with a custom pearl mid-coat and DuPont ChromaPremier 72100S clearcoat. Leonard told us that he's been using a lot of DuPont waterborne paint at Dominator because of its durability and quality, not to mention the advantages of lower VOC content. The side trim was shaped from brass then chromed by Sherm's Custom Plating in Sacramento, California. Closer inspection reveals the distinct shape of the trim, which Brent describes as a radiused bead on the top edge with a cove shape on the lower edge. That look is carried throughout the whole car; you'll see it on the inside door panel trim, mirror, taillights, seat trim, steering wheel, pedals, and even the wheels.
The classy exterior is matched by the choice of rolling stock: modified Fusion five-spokes from Schott Wheels with Crescent-style center caps. The 18x8 and 20x10 rims roll on P215/45R18 and P265/35R20 BFGoodrich g-Force radials.