Rod Authority Sets Out In Search Of The Perfect Street Rod Project


Rod Authority officially launched in May of 2011 as the online community’s best resource for all things hot rod, street rod, and custom and what better way to celebrate our two year anniversary than with a custom build of our very own! Now that we’ve gained some momentum and sprouted legs it’s time to tackle a full-blown street rod project build – enter Project: Flat Out.

When Mike Alexander first came on board here as the Rod Authority Editor we knew that he would have his hands full turning out great content, but little did we know that he would soon be hunting for his own project car to add some much needed flair to the Power Automedia stable of muscle. Although our shop has tackled plenty of ground-up builds before, the majority of them are built with performance / racing in mind.


Seeking to stir things up a bit, Mike began the hunt for something curvy and classic between 1930-1939 and had his heart set on either a ’33 Ford 3-window or a ’36 Ford 5-window coupe, both dream cars on that never-ending bucket list.

paintWe all kind of joked a bit at the thought of a custom street rod entering our shop, and to be completely honest we really didn’t see him coming through on such a rare find since he set his sights so high right out of the gate. But as we’ve painfully learned, when Mike Alexander puts his mind to something – watch out, because it’s going to happen, one way or another.

So we did what any smart magazine would do and threw our full support in his corner to bring you this one-of-a-kind build first hand. We will be following the complete build from start to finish with installs, tips and tricks, and of course, plenty of mocking Alexander’s mishaps along the way. Let’s take a walk through how Project: Flat Out came to be.

Initial Concept // Idea Gathering Phase

Every build begins with an idea. That idea looms in your head, penetrates your dreams, and eventually becomes a dedicated and named folder on your desktop staring at you all day long – as if daring you, even taunting you to build it and bring it to fruition. Which is exactly how the ’36 Ford started calling out to Alexander – from his desktop folder simply titled NEXT.


With these amazing examples of '36 Ford greatness, still none had quite captured the ideas that Alexander had floating around his cranium so it was time to move forward - he's definitely got some mighty big shoes to fill here!

It was here, in this wallet sinking folder of doom, that began to sprout image after image of gorgeous slammed ’36 heaven screaming his name – “pick me, pick me, pick me!” With images like the ones pictured throughout, Alexander’s brain began to light up and the wheels started to turn. It doesn’t help that Mike’s closest friends happen to be badass hot rod builders egging him on to build something to compete on the Goodguys circuit, well maybe it does – but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Score! // She Might Be Ugly But She’s Mine

So the decision was made – it had to be the ’36. Already deciding that an original car would be the route he would take, Alexander began with the normal Craigslist, eBay searches burning his retinas late into the night.

Have no fear, she’s definitely in good hands now.

Let us be the first to tell you, these things are not easy to come by – or cheap for that matter. And with a meager budget the search was growing cold and hopes were dimming of finding an original that could be worked over into the dream machine he was after.

Maybe a bit too cliche – but just when Mike had almost given up on the search, his phone rang and a buddy on the other end sent him over a listing to check out. Well, she was affordable… but certainly quite “rough” to say the least.

However, not to despair – it didn’t take long and a deal was struck. Alexander called up his buddy Brian Goude to help him make the trade and load up the car, and as if it was “meant to be” everything went smoothly and the car was headed to the RA Garage that very weekend.

Bullet holes and all – this thing was the real deal. A bit rough around the edges, but with the heavy amount of mods in mind, this happened to be the perfect canvas for what will be a great journey of saving some good ol’ Henry steel. Alexander’s good friends up at Image Street Rod & Custom came to the rescue assuring that the ’36 is in good hands for the transformation with some custom touches from Sadistic Iron Werks and others joining forces along the way.

Pencil to Paper // Simpson Artistry In Action

Turning a vision into a concept and then turning a concept into an actual working machine is no easy feat. There are many steps along the way, some can be more painful then others.


But for us, the concept and planning stage is one of the most fun and exciting parts of the build as the ideas are fresh and swirling. Connecting with auto art visionary, Sven Simpson of Simpson Artistry, Together – Alexander, Sven, and Keith Vandermeulen of Image began to share ideas back and fourth about the vision and mods for this build.

Simpson works completely in pencil and would send rough drafts here and there for some direction of the mods to be performed and through this collaborative approach the team was able to put pencil to paper and turn this vision into the actual concept you see  pictured below. We won’t give away too many of the custom touches just yet, you’ll have to check back often to follow the progress.


The project name for our ’36 Ford carries two distinct meanings that are at the core of this build. Project: “Flat Out” refers to both the stance of the ’36 sitting low to the ground as well as pulling the flathead out (have no fear, that will get built for a killer Model A cruiser) and replacing it with modern muscle via a Ford Racing Coyote Mod Motor with some custom Hollywood Hot Rod tricks to come.

Coming To Life // The Right Foundation

It goes something like this: The hot rodders and customizers of yester-year used EVERY available technology (and more, inventing their own tricks along the way) to take something original and “boring” and modify it so it looks, sounds, and performs BETTER than the original version.

They didn’t sit around and ask themselves “how was it done back then?” – no, they blazed the trail for us to follow and pushed the boundaries of what people thought was possible. So throwing tradition and caution to the wind – we’re about to set out on a journey and blur the lines between classic and modern right here on RA.


The right foundation means everything with this caliber of build. Stay tuned as we follow along the complete chassis build over at TCI Engineering.

The idea/theme behind this project is to build a ground-up street rod keeping the classic lines of old mixed with completely updated modern performance and subtle custom touches throughout. Starting from the foundation up, featuring a TCI Chassis with Currie 9-inch and Baer braking – this Ford will definitely perform as good as it looks.

Stay tuned as we bring you the step-by-step build action and all of the shenanigans that are sure to ensue.

36 Ford Image pic-small

About the author

Dennis Pittsenbarger

Admitted knucklehead and automobile aficionado to the bone, Dennis shares his car obsessions and current news with a hot-rod-loving audience worldwide.
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