Amid the exotic, custom-bodied classics on display and at auction during the mid-August Monterey (California) Auto Week, one ride that may stand out above the rest is a plebeian 1936 Ford Deluxe two-door sedan.
While you can sometimes find these wonderful V-8 chariots at Long Island shows, the car being offered by Mecum Auctions at Monterey is in a whole other league. It sports a jaw-dropping polished stainless steel body with a shine that looks like liquid mercury. And it’s the only one still in private hands among four cars remaining from the original six built by Ford and Allegheny Ludlum Steel.
According to Allegheny Ludlum, the Fords were designed to promote what was then a new metal to the American public. The cars proceeded to log at least 200,000 miles each in the hands of company executives before they were officially “retired” and sold to individuals in 1946. Three of them are currently in museums and Mecum marketing director Sam Murtaugh said he believes the two lost cars were cannibalized to provide parts for the others. Allegheny and Ford later collaborated on a handful of other stainless vehicles, namely two 1960 Thunderbirds and three ’67 Lincoln Continental convertibles.
The ‘36 set for auction on Saturday, August 14 has running gear that any Ford aficionado would recognize: the 85-horsepower flathead V-8, three-speed transmission and Columbia overdrive. But while a regular sedan in nice condition might fetch $20,000 to $30,000, Murtaugh said he wouldn’t be surprised if bidding on the stainless version hits seven figures before the dust settles.
If you can’t make it out to Monterey, there’s a ’36 stainless sedan in Cleveland’s Crawford Auto Museum and another one in Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center. And if you want to get a closer look at those silvery smooth Thunderbirds and Lincolns, the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania has a pair on display until September 30.