Bruce Rosengren's 1936 Ford
1936 Ford Cabriolet owned by Bruce Rosengren of White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Bruce purchased the old custom in the fall of 1955. He had just turned 17 years old at the time, and was looking for a stock 1936 Ford 3-Window Coupe. Not able to find one he could afford, he stumbled across the cabriolet in the Classic Car section of the St Paul Pioneer Press. The car was priced a $350,00, a price that Bruce could afford. The car was located in the West Side of St. Paul. When he first saw it, he felt that there were some issues with it. First of all, he really wanted a hot rod, not a custom car. The pluses were that it was a 1936 Ford, and it was some sort of a 3-Window with its padded top. The negatives were that the custom work was dated, probably late 1940s. The top was kind of ragged, and the color was a cream light and green two tone. The red velour interior was faded, but that was something Bruce could live with. The '36 already had the Packard grille, the solid hood side panels, and the chopped padded top. There were no bumpers on the car. Except for these modifications and dual carb manifold, everything else was pretty much stock on the car. Bruce bought the car, and never looked back. The old custom was going to be his go fast hot rod.
Bruce asked the Fruedenberg brothers, Dick and Jim, to build him a fast flathead motor as he had not interest in OHV engines. While the engine was being built, Bruce took the car to Don's Body Shop of White Bear Lake to french in 1948 Chevrolet taillights, inset the license plate, shave the door handles and install electric door solenoids, and paint the car flat gray. The car was then brought to a custom upholstery shop in St. Paul to have the chopped top redone.
By the spring of 1956, the new engine was installed and ready to roll. The car turned out to be everything Bruce had hoped for, except that it had an overheating problem on hot summer days. Due to this, Bruce drove without a hood during the summer. According to Bruce, the highlight of the summer was when he whupped a 1934 Ford 3-Window coupe with a freshly installed 1949 Oldsmobile OHV V8 on their "unofficial drag strip" on Otter Lake Road. Bruce never lost a race, but this was his most memorable race.
In the summer of 1957 Bruce went to Annapolis, Maryland to attend the US Naval Academy. He stored the '36 in the backyard of his parents house underneath an old apple three. His dad got tired of looking at it, so he asked Bruce if he could sell it away. As Bruce had become enamored with college life on the east coast, he told his dad to go ahead and sell it. Bruce never saw his old cabriolet again after it got sold, and he still regrets that he let his dad sell the old custom.
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