Our project 1936 Ford phaeton is making steady progress. After painting it at home (Apr. ’22 issue; Inflatable Spray Booth Makes it Easier To Paint Like a Pro) we cut, buffed, and started assembling the body. However, we had not addressed the dashboard, mostly because we were determined to be done with the bodywork and because the dash will be a different color than the body.
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The dashboard would be our first step in building the interior. In my humble opinion, the 1936 Ford open-car dashboard is overly plain, heading toward ugly. It should be noted, closed cars had a better dash. Since the roadsters and phaetons had this plain-Jane look, it was perfect material for a little hot rod enhancement.
We decided to ditch the stock 1936 Ford gauges in favor of a ’47 Ford speedometer and clock. We liked the larger size and the art deco look of the later gauges. Since this is a very traditional car, we decided black Stewart-Warner gauges, fresh off SpeedwayMotors.com, would be the perfect mate for our 1961 vintage, black face Stewart-Warner tach.
Armed with that decision we took out our tape measure and quickly ran out of room for the gauges. It seems the glovebox was consuming a disproportionate amount of the dashboard; it was more like a footlocker than a glovebox. To make everything fit, the glove box would need to be shortened. We have seen hot rods with the glove box eliminated, but felt we needed all the weather-tight (relatively speaking) storage we could get in our topless tub.
So we set about a glove box reduction program, along with building a new steel glove box in place of the cardboard unit from 1936. Like most metalworking projects it was a matter of working slowly and measuring twice … cutting once. Our reduction in size was dramatic, yet with the dashboard back in the car it looked quite proportional, and chances are the untrained eye could assume it is an early ford factory glove box. (We may even start a rumor about the super-rare, “small glove box ’36 Ford phaetons;” only five were built, all on April 1, 1936. One known to survive.) (Editor’s note: This is what happens when you are living on an island off the coast of Georgia! —B.B.)
Because of the taper of the dashboard the glove box door is not square, rather it follows the contour of the dashboard. To reduce the opening and then fill it with a door involved cutting it both vertically and horizontally. The glove box door accents these tapers for a very pleasing look. We managed to make cuts that saved the factory mounting tabs for the actual glove box, again adding to the illusion of a factory unit.
The glove box door hinge is a rudimentary unit made of a rod that rotates in two simple brackets. We shortened the rod and used one original hinge hole and drilled a second hole to complete the hinge. We drilled a hole in the center of the door and used a cool chrome knob from Lokar to complete the early hot rod look.
After the glove box project was complete, we had the desired extra room for our gauges. We will show you the completion of the dashboard and gauges in the next issue. But for now, let’s take a closer look at reducing and reshaping our 1936 Ford glove box. MR