Wayne Chronister’s Beautifully Built 1936 Ford Cabriolet


Walking the rows and rows of vehicles at any given car show will surely generate excitement and intrigue, no matter what kind of classic ride you’re into. For some, it’s the super-rare cars that catch the most attention, while other enthusiasts look for over-the-top builds. Others still, look for factory originals or patinaed “barn cars” rescued and run “as found.”

“I found this car as a basket case and wanted to see if we could build a complete car. I hope we did!”                  – Wayne Chronister

While we can certainly respect the gamut of classics and hot rods the industry has to offer, it’s cars like this 1936 cabriolet owned by Wayne Chronister that really catches our eye, thanks to the notable yet not overdone modifications, sophisticated style, and classic character of the vehicle. Need we say more?

Built in just a year’s time with the help of Harold’s Hot Rods of Enid, Oklahoma, and Wes Smith of Noble, Oklahoma, this incredible classic cabriolet is one of many custom classics that Chronister has owned in his lifetime.

Over the years, he’s had custom vehicles ranging from a 1934 Plymouth to a 1963 Nova convertible, with no discernibly-favored manufactures in the lot. That is, maybe not until this beautiful Ford nicknamed “Silver Ghost” came along!


A proud member of the Oklahoma Hot Rod Association, 73-year-old Chronister is most definitely a car guy at heart, with  his passion  shining through with just one look at this beautiful Ford Model 48!

A Different Kind Of Build

With a love for the hobby that dates back more than 55 years, Chronister is no stranger to the build process, but this latest project was a bit of a different kind of build. Having found this particular 1936 Ford “as a basket case”, Chronister embarked on a journey to not only save the classic, but also build an impressive custom out of it. We’re sure you’ll agree that is exactly what he did.

Aesthetically, the cabriolet maintains many of its classic styling ques, with just enough modifications to make it truly one of a kind. One of the most prominent modifications is the chopped convertible top, which Chronister told us was one of the more difficult, but interesting, parts of building the car. it is also his favorite modification on the finished project.


The car also features 1934 Ford headlights, custom flush-mounted taillights, and a custom laid back grille. You’ll also find shaved door and trunk handles, gas filler, and rear bumper. The car is topped with a sleek PPG Mercedes Benz Brilliant Silver paint scheme, which gives the surface of the car a brilliant sheen in direct sunlight.

Simple and clean goes a long way when it comes to the interior of a street rod. In this '36 cabriolet, the sleek interior finishes off an already clean build with simplistic style, without sacrificing any creature comforts!

Inside, the cabriolet is just as beautiful, featuring black leather tuck-and-roll covered bucket seats and door panels, upholstered by Enid, Oklahoma-based Jack’s Auto Upholstery, which also took on the task of building the custom convertible top for the car.

Fittingly, the dash is also custom, with built-in A/C controls and outlets, Dakota Digital VHX instrumentation, and sleek Super Deluxe badging.  The car also boasts creature comfort items like an ididit tilt steering column and cruise control, a must for the long-distance driving the Chronisters have already done in the car.


There’s nothing quite like the front end of a classic Model 48 – a bit more refined than the Model A with understated factory beauty to boot!

More Than Skin Deep

A real looker, Chronister’s cabriolet is impressive enough if based just on aesthetics alone, but in true street rod fashion, this ’36 Ford’s appeal goes much further than skin deep.

Under the hood of the cabriolet, you’ll find a small-block Chevy 350ci powerplant bored .010-inch over. Fitted with a COMP Cams camshaft, Brodix heads, an Edelbrock intake manifold, a Performance Distributors DUI ignition, Quick Fuel carburetor, and Hedman long-tube headers. This bad little Chevy engine gives the cabriolet plenty of oomph to back its impressive looks, and then some!


Some may not like it, but putting a small-block Chevy engine in a Ford has been a street rod tradition for decades. Some would say it’s the best of both worlds! Where do you fall on the spectrum?

Backing the engine is a 700R4 automatic overdrive transmission for smooth cruising, whether that be around the block, to a local show, or hundreds of miles cross-country, like the 685 miles each direction the Chronisters drove from their Noble, Oklahoma, home to be at the 2016 Goodguys Colorado Nationals. That’s where we found this beautiful little convertible. Out back, a Ford 9-inch rearend with 3.00 gears puts the Chevy engine’s power to the pavement, making quick work out of spinning the 18-inch rear wheels.


Oh, how we love every angle of this car – almost as much as we love the fact it made the trek all the way  from Oklahoma to participate in the 2016 Goodguys Colorado Nationals!

With a built small-block powering the Ford, a beefed up suspension was needed, so Chronister outfitted his car with a Mustang II front end and a four-link with QA1 coilovers in the rear. This configuration is bolstered by Fat Man tubular control arms and rack-and-pinion steering. All of this attaches to a fully boxed frame flanked by 17-inch front and 18-inch rear American Racing wheels wrapped in Falken 205/50-17 and 225/60-18 tires respectably. Stopping power for the cabriolet is provided by a combination of disc and power drums.

With Chronister’s motivation for building this car being to “see a car completed,” there’s no doubt that he is particularly happy with his once dilapidated ’36 turned classy show car. A real gem hailing from Oklahoma, we wouldn’t be surprised if this classic convertible doesn’t show up in a number of winners’ circles for years to come!


Chronister would like to thank Jack Whately of Jack’s Auto Upholstery, Harold Clay of Clay’s Hot Rods, and Wes Smith for their dedicated work on the car!

Photo gallery


About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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