Corvair-Powered 5 Window: 1936 Ford Deluxe

This is something you don’t see every day: a 1936 Ford Deluxe 5-window coupe converted to a rear-engined configuration with a flat-six from a Chevy Corvair on board. Normally, a Ford of this vintage would be significantly hot-rodded if it were to be modified, so I’m sure there’s a good story about the inspiration behind this build. Find the ’36 Ford here on eBay with bidding over $15K and no reserve.

Despite looking like brand new, what makes this Ford so cool is that the build was completed sometime in the late 70s / early 80s. Considering hot rod never stopped being popular, you have to wonder who thought a wicked custom like this would be better suited to a smaller engine mounted in the rear versus the traditional school of thought that would jam an even larger engine in up front.

But man, what a clean install it is. There’s no denying someone put in the legwork to make this engine swap look practically factory. Other features include independent suspension, front and rear; automatic transmission; A/C (though the compressor is currently missing); bucket seats with a powered driver’s seat; all steel body with numerous custom touches; Corvair Spyder custom dash; AM/FM + CB radio; and more.

The interior is straight out of the 1980s, and still looks mint today. Obviously, the now-vacant space under the hood has been converted into a fully-finished trunk, giving you a sense of just how extensive this build was when originally completed. While it may not be for everyone, it’s hard to deny the ingenuity on display, and for a no reserve auction, there’s a lot of potential value here that cannot be duplicated for the price.

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Comments

  1. Dcowan

    Honestly I think it is a fantastic build. It nice to see something different now and again.

    51
    • Johnmloghry Member

      Very cool. It’s different ofcourse and commenters find things to complain about, but it was a vision made real.
      God bless America

      2
  2. Jack M.

    This looks like a really cool build. I wonder if there is enough airflow into and out of the engine compartment. I don’t see any scoops or louvers back there.

    12
    • BlondeUXB Member

      Think of it as a Tucker with two headlights…

      14
    • Brakeservo

      Is this the apogee or nadir of ’36 Ford customs??

      1
  3. Ian C

    I love it! Only thing I would change would be to swap it to a 4 spd. I also noticed the VA inspection sticker on the windshield. So, it was in VA, title is from IA, and the car is in CA. Looks like this has traveled the country.

    12
  4. DavidL

    I agree w/ Dcowan. It’s a fantastic build but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it. First question is why? Great work on the body and apparently on the engine installation. But why? Is the engine on the Corvair enough to power a car this heavy w/ the steel construction and all? And all the Corvair components, dash, AM/FM, CB(?) radios, etc. Looks like the work of a Corvair enthusiast/classic Ford enthusiast who was trying to have the best of both worlds. Best of luck to him and congrats on a beautiful build but not on my list of ‘Lotto cars’.

    7
    • Fred W

      Based on the curb weights I found online for ’36 Ford and ’66 Corvair, the ’36 is lighter- by as much as 600 pounds depending on who you believe. I have to admire all the engineering that went into this, assuming it drives well. But I wonder why it still has a hot water heater under the dash.

      11
      • DayDreamBeliever Member

        Interestingly, the weights don’t seem that far apart, as originally spec’d. The 2nd generation Corvair was right around #2600. Depending on the configuration, the Ford was listed as being between #2500 and #2800. So, close, except this car likely has many things which add weight, due to the mods and upgrades. If this weighs less than a ton and a half, I’d be really surprised.

        One thing which has me curious… Does it have heat? Corvair passenger compartments were heated by air drawn off of the engine cooling system (problematic when oil leaks were present). Some early models had a gasoline-fired heater mounted in the front trunk, which could heat up so rapidly in winter weather that it could break the windshield with the sudden temperature rise. I assumed that the device seen in the right footwell was part of the AC setup….

        6
      • Fred W

        Info I ran across said ’66 Corvair was 3400 lbs- can’t believe everything you find on the ‘net! 2600 seems more realistic.

        5
      • Duaney Member

        Looks like a south wind gasoline heater

        2
    • Rock On

      DavidL- the 1936 Ford V-8 was rated at 85 horsepower and 144 ft-lbs of torque. The naturally aspirated Corvair flat 6 is rated from 80 hp and 128 tq all the way up to 110 hp and 160 tq. So the performance should be similar if not better with the Corvair drivetrain.

      7
      • DavidL

        How do you think it would handle? It looks to me like a lot of the weight has been shifted to the rear of the car. I’m wondering if it would tend to oversteer. If it’s going to be a street cruiser it probably wouldn’t matter too much. Just wondering.
        Regardless I love the look of the car but still curious as to the why of the Corvair engine.

        4
      • George

        The Corvair engine in this build is 140 hp. Note the 4 carbs, but also stated in the description on the eBay ad.

        7
  5. Frank Sumatra

    Great looking car and a really cool idea to do something different. I challenge all Negative Neds to please post an image of your project if you have a bone to pick with this gem.

    26
  6. DayDreamBeliever Member

    This just has me scratching my head, wondering why it was done.

    The Glenn Pray Cord cars were FWD with Corvair drivetrains, neat and a great use of the power system. But this car, while certainly well done as far as the engineering and installation goes… So many issues crop up when considering taking it anywhere. There is carpet in the engine compartment. And there are a huge number of louvers in what would now be the front trunk. Not surprised that the AC system is incomplete, mounting the compressor in the available space would be challenging, and rob from the less than optimal power for a car this big.

    What I see is a great looking car, which can be cruised but not really used. Easy to see why the Powerglide was chosen, much easier than to hook up a manual linkage.

    There are some great cars around with complete driveline changes, but for practicality, this isn’t one of them.

    BTW, many years ago I saw in a magazine a hotrod, perhaps a T-bucket, which won the “Best Engineered” trophy at a major meet. It had a Corvair engine mounted in the front, but with I think a rear drive setup. Totally unique car, drew lots of attention. But it wasn’t a closed car, and practicality wasn’t expected to be a part of the equation. With a ride like this ’36, it should be.

    So far bid to $15K+, so someone wants it.

    5
  7. Dcowan

    Anyone know what that bluish box on the passenger is? A battery maybe?

    1
  8. Gaspumpchas

    That is a Southwind heater, used them much in early cars. Runs on gasoline. To me having a heater that runs on gasoline in the passenger compartment is a really bad idea. The craftsmanship is amazing. Something different. I’d love to know how it runs and handles. Also wonder if it has the early or late swing arm setup? Good luck to the new owner!!

    Cheers
    GPC

    11
    • dcowan

      Thanks gaspump

      3
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      That’s the 1965+ IRS setup.

      Finished out at $17,600

      4
    • Brakeservo

      Both of my Tatra 603’s had gas powered heaters under the front seat – I would joke that it was a factory installed firebomb!

      1
  9. Chevy Guy

    They did the right thing. Out with the Ford, in with the Chevy.

    5
  10. BSM

    Unsafe at any speed!

    1
    • Bob McK Member

      BSM, How do you know it is unsafe?

      5
  11. CanuckCarGuy

    Very cool showcase of creativity and engineering – I really enjoy seeing something different, and this is very cool. Now, let’s update this beauty by swapping that Corvair mill out for a modern Subaru WRX sti intercooled and turbocharged flat four…

    4
  12. PDXBryan

    CanuckCarGuy
    I was thinking the same thing! Or just go completely bonkers with a Porsche 3.6 flat six or some such craziness!

    2
  13. TimM

    I believe in being different but a corvair motor in this heavy old car!! It seems like it would be a little underpowered to me!!! The being different thing is cool but being in an underpowered hot rod is not!!!

    1
    • George

      Similar weight, almost double the HP.

      8
  14. IkeyHeyman Member

    It would be fun popping the hood at a “cars ‘n coffee” when somebody says, “What kinda engine does this here thing have, pal?”

    8
  15. lars

    corvair engines have powered many an odd vehicle.
    https://www.corvair.org/chapters/ultravan/

    5
  16. George

    Cover over, and provide drainage, for the louvers to keep your luggage and groceries dry. Well, ditch the 80-90s interior and redo. Otherwise, I love it! Very unique and well designed. Go to the original eBay ad and look at the original construction photos, especially the frame with the engine installed.

    5
  17. Morley Brown Member

    This guy went the other way

    12
    • Steven Ramos

      I know somebody that put a V8 on the FRONT of a Corvair…He also did that with a VW beetle

      3
  18. Bo Bohannon

    I cant believe that someone with this nice a build would put a Corvair engine into it. My neighbor bought a new Corvair when I was a kid and that thing was a problem and they worked on it all the time, trying to get faster and more productive RPS. This was true Chevy guy that has drag race Chevy’s. It would really chap him when my Dad’s slant six dodge pickup would beat him in a quarter, of course the slant six had a little work performed on it.

    3
  19. newfieldscarnut

    No comment

    2
  20. Joe Haska

    Had to see it to believe it! My first reaction was how stupid it was, then you look at it and read the comments, and I just don’t know what I think. I would really like to see it in person. I am almost afraid I might like it with out the valour interior.

    2
  21. Steve S

    The corvair engine also had a problem throwing the belt off since the belt had to twist itself to go through the pulleys around the edge of the engine block to the driveshaft

    • ACZ

      Not if you used the correct belt, tensioned properly.

      4
    • Duaney Member

      Chevy fixed that within the first few weeks of production

      2
  22. rod444

    This would be a blast at a car show. Open the hood – no engine. Open the trunk – can’t see an engine from behind. Move the spare tire cover – there it is!

    Kudos to whomever had the engineering skills to put this all together and still have a great looking car.

    9
  23. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Love the vision and execution. Not perfect but sharp looking and it works. Very unique! Years ago a friend of a friend had a Corvair-swapped VW bus (much simpler). Good power and smooth as silk. Thanks, Jeff!

    6
  24. moosie MOOSIE Member

    very nice car with or without the corvair drivetrain, looks pretty much thought out and very nice workmanship. i once was thinking about putting 4 harley 80″ v-twins in a row to power a early ford hot rod but that dream never materialized.

    2
  25. Gaspumpchas

    Just a useless tidbit u guys might dig.> When the engineers were building the corvair, they wanted to make sure the mill didn’t make its way into a Volkswagen, so they designed the ‘vair windmill to run in the opposite diredtion as the VW.. Not to worry, Hotrodders found that you could flop the ring gear in a vw transaxle to the other side of the case and Volla..Never underestimate the power of an American gearhead! TRue or not still a great story. Happy Motoring!!

    Cheers
    GPC

    5
    • ACZ

      It’s a tall tale.

      • Brakeservo

        Mount a little 3.5 horse Brigg’s & Stratton under the front hood and watch people’s reactions!!

        1
    • xrotaryguy

      The Corvair transaxle can be driven from the front or from the back. in the Pontiac Tempest it is driven from the front with a clockwise rotating engine. In the Corvair it is driven from the back. This is why the Corvair engine must rotate counterclockwise.

      • ACZ

        That’s the whole principle behind the Crown Corv8 kit.

        1
  26. johnj

    Second time I have seen this swap. I neighbor had a model A ford pickup with a corvair setup in it. This was back in the late eighties and was an older build even then. I think his was the turbo version if I remember correctly, and was also really well done. Denver/Lancaster Pa area, wonder if its still around.

    1
  27. BR

    Somebody, despite the shortcomings, got it already. Surprised it lasted this long. Beautifully done!

    2
  28. xrotaryguy

    Why was it done? So he wouldn’t need power steering of course! 🤣

    Love the early Corvair Spyder dash!

    2
  29. Ed P

    This gives new meaning to Small Block Chevy!

    4
  30. ACZ

    Beautifully executed and beautifully engineered. This is what hot rodding is really about.

    6
  31. Dave S.

    I love it ! What amazing workmanship !

    2
  32. Tony T

    Hows about a schematic of the drive train and packaging?

    1

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