One of the fascinating things about hot rodding is that once a car is built it continues to evolve over time. Many cars change hands, get tweaked, or receive a full facelift to complement a new owner's vision of what they believe it should be. Sometimes the search for one's personal Holy Grail leads you to a finished car, which seems perfect, till you get it home and start thinking about how you would have done it if you had the chance to have built it from scratch.
Custom fabricated rear skirts...
Custom fabricated rear skirts by Butch Fairchild add plenty of allure to the coupe while a lustrous coating of PPG Performance Red brings the car to life.
Gail Fairchild, of Greentown, Indiana, is no stranger to cool cars, having owned a number of street rides over the last 20 years, including a pair of late-'40s Chevy haulers, a '49 Ford, and a '52 Olds Holiday coupe. Never one to let any of them sit idle, her philosophy has always been to drive 'em and enjoy them. Having been a fan of '36 Ford coupes for as long as she can remember, she set out on a pilgrimage a few years ago to find the car of her dreams. While attending the Goodguys Hot Rod Nationals at Indy in 2007, she came across a vibrant red five-window coupe that possessed a lot of the style she was looking for. A deal was made, she drove the car home, and continued to enjoy it for a year until her mind started to wander. Having stacks of vintage "little books" to fuel the fire, she traveled through them and accumulated ideas for the perfect redesign of her coupe.
The slick flowing lines of...
The slick flowing lines of Gail's '36 are accented by Diamond Back wide whites and flipper caps while the one-off lake pipes crafted by her husband, Butch, seal the deal.
Being married to a devout hot rodder (Butch) who has carved up old iron since the early '60s, she received plenty of support. The pair sat down and mapped out a rebirth for the coupe, which included a tear down to its bare essentials followed by a complete '50s-era styling added to its new life. Enthusiastic to break ground on the project, Gail and Butch met with Doug Dorn of Dorn's Autocraft in New Castle, Indiana, to review their concepts. After disassembling the car, the team at Dorn's addressed the existing chassis, giving it a much-needed freshening up. In order to retain a nostalgic feel, the original spine was stripped and boxed, yielding added structural strength. Creating a perfect stance, '68 Mustang parallel leafs matched up with an antiroll bar and tube shocks from NAPA help suspend a Ford 9-inch rearend filled with 3.32:1 cogs. To give the car plenty of road-holding capabilities, a Ford Mustang II IFS with stock spindles, lowered springs, NAPA tube shocks, and an antiroll bar helped dial it all in. Fluid pushed through a '68 Mustang master cylinder to 11-inch Ford front discs and '68 Mustang rear drums bring everything safely to a stop. Rolling on classic Wheel Vintiques steelies topped with Diamond Back rubber and a set of '50s-era-inspired flipper caps add just enough dazzle to the mix.
There's nothing like the rumble of a vintage Ford V-8 coming from a traditional Ford hot rod and since the mill in Gail's coupe had seen better days, she contacted Steve Davis of Knightstown, Indiana, to give it a new lease on life. Davis gave the '68 289ci engine a stock rebuild accented by an Edelbrock 500-cfm carb to catch its breath, while headers from Summit Racing linked to Brockman mufflers dump the spent gases. Shifts are effortless as they move through a stock C4 transmission linked to a driveshaft by Pete Gretz to spin the rear tires.