Project FlatOut Build Thread: Classic Style Meets Modern Performance

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When it came time for Rod Authority to celebrate its two-year anniversary in style and start a ground-up project build, we knew we needed some major heavyweights in our corner to pull off an amazing build for our readers to follow that wouldn’t drag on for years and years. We all know “Rome wasn’t built in a day…” but, no one likes to read about that never ending project that never really comes to fruition or sees any road time. 

So we set out to do something a bit different and get all of our ducks in a row to create a tight, but realistic plan to hit this build hard and bring you, our loyal readers, the step-by-step progress “Live” so you can stay up-to-date on the progress in a fun and creative way – mixing all of our custom rich media capabilities via video, photos, and beautifully crafted in-depth tech articles.

The project name for the Rod Authority ’36 Ford build carries two very distinct meanings that are at the core of this build. Project: “Flat Out” refers to both the menacing stance of the ’36 sitting flat to the ground as well as pulling the flathead out (have no fear, it will get built for a killer Model A cruiser down the line) and replacing it with some modern muscle via a Summit Racing Coyote Mod Motor featuring custom tricks to come. Proving that you can teach an old dog some new tricks.

Builders and customizers of year’s past didn’t sit around and ask themselves “how was it done back then?” – Nope, they blazed the trail for us to follow and pushed the boundaries of what people thought was possible time and time again, and generation after generation. So throwing tradition and caution to the wind, we set out on a journey to blur the lines between classic and modern right here on RA. We cover the gamut of everything from custom to street rod to traditional and everything in between, but for this build we wanted to bring some of the genres together head-on and evoke some thought and emotion on either side of the line.

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The hot rodders and customizers of yester-year used every available technology of their era (and more, inventing their own tricks along the way) to take something original and “boring” and heavily modify it so it looked, sounded, and performed better than the original. “Hot rodding” is absolutely all about improving and personalizing, so here is our version of what Ford Engineers would design and build if they built the 1936 Ford – TODAY.

Gettin’ Started // The Right Foundation

Teaming up with some of today’s heavy hitters, we have some serious fire power on our side to make this dream a reality. Keith and the team at Image Street Rods are heading up the build and tackling the major body surgery in store for this ’36. But before we could tear into the sheetmetal, we had to start with a solid foundation.

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Every great build begins with the proper foundation. Whether it’s architecture, hot rods, or building a company – starting from the ground-up with quality components and design is definitely the key to success.

Since we knew right from the beginning that performance and handling would be important pieces of this puzzle and that we weren’t just building a beautiful “show piece” – we contacted the chassis experts at TCI Engineering to help us start in the right direction. The key to this build is that we actually want something that can drive and perform as good as it looks and not just sit hiding in the garage.

As you can see in the video above, Total Cost Involved knows a bit about scratch-building a custom chassis to handle the demands of modern muscle, while still keeping classic styling and beauty intact. We chose to go with the complete “show package” along with a custom air suspension setup to give us the look and stance we were after yet still maintain the performance needs that our beast will demand.

You can check out the complete chassis build in this article and follow along the rest of the build by visiting the build archive story links in the “sidebar” or by bookmarking this build-thread which will be completely updated along the way.

Modern Performance // Classic Lines Meet Modern Tech

As you can tell, Project Flat Out will be more than just a “pretty face.” The sexy curves and stunning lines of this all-steel ’36 doesn’t stop with the exquisitely modified exterior. The heart and soul of this baby will come via the beastly performance of the chassis and drivetrain.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing is an accurate description as the Coyote-powered ’36 won’t give away too many hints of what’s underneath at first glance, but make no mistake – it will certainly be noticeable the minute that push-button ignition is fired.

Coyote

More To Come // Stay Tuned

We’re just getting warmed up here. There’s plenty more one-off action to come, and we have tons of tricks up our sleeve that you won’t want to miss. Metal mods galore, a classic interior that will of course feature high-end custom touches and tech, while still keeping that perfect blend of old-school, and much much more.

Stay tuned as we dive deeper into what it takes to meld modern technology with classic styling and hopefully we’ll make Henry Ford and his progeny proud. Please leave us comments and suggestions or thoughts in the comment box below – we look forward to hearing from our readers, no matter which side of the fence you fall on. Any and all feedback is appreciated as we continue to bring you the latest and greatest hot rod action right here on RA!

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About the author

Mike Alexander

With over a decade of automotive print and editorial experience, Mike Alexander enjoys shooting and writing about cars, and has several projects cars in his stable.
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