Sometimes the simplest youthful influences in life can make for long-lasting impressions as the years pass. It might be something someone once said, a simple photograph, or even a visit to a local malt shop that holds the key. For John Favaloro of Peabody, Massachusetts, growing up near the oceanfront in nearby Lynn laid the groundwork for a lifetime of seeking out his mystical unicorn in the form of a ’36 Ford roadster.

Recalling back to his youth, his eyes were always peeled wide open while watching classic black and white TV shows where vintage cars would grab his attention like a kid in a candy store. As he got older, regular drives with his dad through the beach causeway in Nahant would find dozens of hot rods, customs, and muscle cars parked there at any given time this would continue to fuel his fire. Once in his teens, John wasted no time in getting involved in the scene, starting with hopped-up Corvettes and then moving onto muscle cars. Somehow, the allure of ’30s-era Fords still lurked deep within his mind as he revisited his youthful memories.

The search to find his Holy Grail began almost a decade ago, leading him to Ottawa, Canada, to check out an original ’36 Ford roadster body on a rolling chassis he found in an ad. Armed with a trailer and pocket full of cash, he made a deal and hauled the vintage steel home. Finally having the ’36 in his garage, he began the disassembly of the weathered old drop-top with good friend, Tom Smith, and dedicated wife, Cathy. With the car blown apart the first item addressed was the engine combination that would be one of the main focal points of the build. Having always been a fan of early Chrysler Hemis, a decision was made to shoehorn a ’56 elephant motor between the ’rails. After confirming the chassis could accommodate such a beast, research led him to Carl Bills at Black Mountain Hemi in Lititz, Pennsylvania, who was enlisted to design the engine. Starting with a ’56 Chrysler Hemi block, he machined it and filled it with a stock crank, Egge 9.5:1 slugs, Schneider cam, and topped it with ’54 Chrysler heads. Crowned with a Hot Heads intake sucking air through a Holley Street Avenger 670-cfm carb, the engine was both stout and aggressive. Linked to a Chrysler 727 automatic the combination was ready for installation. While the drivetrain was being built, John and Tom kept busy bolting together a basic rolling chassis, utilizing the car’s original spine.