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Anatomy of a Build: Not-So-Mellow Yellow Coupe

Anatomy of a Build: Not-So-Mellow Yellow Coupe


“You have nothing to fear but fear itself,” is a saying associated with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but many times fear of trying new things at home keeps a lid on hot rod projects. Too bad, since the ’36 Ford that Bill Raso of Long Island, N.Y. put together at home proves it can be done with great results, too.

“I‘d get up and go down to the garage in the middle of the night to make a cardboard pattern to try an idea,” Raso told Hot Rod Hotline. Raso thought up the whole concept for the car and built almost every part of it himself. “I’m not a professional,” he noted. “I have an equipment shop, so I own an old Bridgeport and an old lathe and some metal working tools, but it isn’t the tools that build the car, it’s the ideas you have inside your head that drive you.”

Raso did fiberglass work to switch the headlights from 1936 to 1937 style and says he has no background working with ‘glass. He says doing new things takes him longer than a pro and admits he sometimes has to do things twice. But he thinks that anyone who takes the time can do good work as long as he/she enjoys tinkering with cars, a passion that Raso inherited from his father.

A 300+-hp Chevy LT1 V-8 fitted with a Street Performance MPFI system and a load of chrome dress-up parts powers the coupe. It has an automatic transmission and a 3.53:1 rear axle ratio.

For paint, Raso started with an off-the-shelf PPG color, but had it custom mixed. The original idea was to put ghost flames on top of the yellow, but the flame guy said he wanted to make the Ford “pop” and asked Raso if he could try orange Gothic/tribal style flames on the body. Matching flames are also on the underside of the fenders.

Raso made the headliner, door panels and console right in his own garage. The gauges came from Classic Instruments and were custom made. “I have Air Ride in the car,” said Raso. “So, they made me Air Ride gauges and made everything to match. They’re very good—not cheap—just very, very good.”

Raso spend six years and the better part of six figures making his car. Many aspects of the project snowballed into grander schemes as the build progressed. For instance, he originally had planned doing a street-driven car with simple ghost flames. “You get to a point where you tell yourself ‘You can’t stop now,’” said Raso. “So, you make something look or work a bit more professional, even if it takes a few extra months.”

The ’36 Ford coupe is a hit wherever it’s seen.

The front seats were custom stitched.

The LT1 makes a bit over 300 hp.

Credit where credit is due.