Bob Sage’s ’36 Ford Roadster
When you own a highly regarded wheel company in the street rod aftermarket, it makes sense to have a personal vehicle that reflects your brand. A good example is this ’36 Ford belonging to Bob Sage, owner of Wheelsmith, which builds and sells a broad selection of steel and wire wheels for hot rods. Even more fitting is the fact that the car was built by one of Southern California’s most well-regarded street rod shops, Barry’s Speed Shop.
It’s easy to see why Bob wanted a ’36 roadster for sunny SoCal cruising – it’s one of the most beautiful designs of the fat-fender era. He actually bought the reproduction fiberglass JB Donaldson body and Flatout Engineering chassis more than a decade ago and made slow-but-steady progress on the build before handing it off to Barry White’s shop to finish.
The Flatout chassis consisted of new frame rails fitted with polished aluminum Corvette independent front and rear suspensions, giving Bob great handling and ride quality in addition to a just-right stance. Add in rack-and-pinion steering and disc brakes, and it’s ideal for cruising curvy coastline roads. Wheelsmith 15×6- and 16×8-inch steel wheels fitted with blackwall radials and ’40 Ford hubcaps and trim rings give a classic look to the modern chassis.
In a similar vein, the Chevrolet LS6 engine offers modern performance and efficiency, but gets a vintage twist with Cadillac-style valve covers and a matching air cleaner, which tops the throttle body for an Edelbrock EFI system. A Billet Specialties Tru Trac system, aluminum radiator, and polished stainless headers help round out the package, which is backed by a McLeod clutch and Tremec five-speed transmission.
Barry’s shop did all the necessary finessing and bodywork to get the body ready for paint, while also stretching the cockpit, lengthening the top, and incorporating enhancements like custom gravel shields and Lincoln bumpers. The shop is also responsible for the PPG Vibrant Green paint, which is complemented by just the right amount of stainless brightwork, plus the beige paint on the wheels.
Another nice complement is the maroon leather upholstery by Kiwi Kustom covering a Glide bench seat. Its vintage style is further enhanced by a custom woodgrain finish on the dashboard, Stewart-Warner gauges in an engine-turned panel, and a Juliano’s banjo wheel atop a tilt steering column.
There’s little doubt that Bob’s wheels – and the rest of his car – get plenty of attention each time he takes this righteous roadster out for a drive. And with LS6 power responding to his right foot, we know the experience puts a smile on Bob’s face.
Photos by Steven Bunker