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Pete Scialabba's 1946 Ford Convertible

March 2009

Pete Scialabba's 1946 Ford Convertible

Pete Scialabba found himself looking for a project. With plenty of hot rod experience under his belt, he knew that in order to maximize fun and minimize hassle, it would be best to start with a solid original car. After searching high and low throughout the Nor Cal area, he heard tales of a suitable car stashed down in Los Angeles. He grabbed some cash and a buddy and headed south. He discovered the car to be bone stock, in pristine condition, and showing a scant 81,000 miles on the odometer.

After looking the car over, he decided to leave the car mostly stock. All of the door handles, side trim, and parking lights, usually shaved clean by customizers, were retained. The very talented Bruce Weidemann brought up the body to show-car specs before being shot in a lustrous black shade of PPG by Pat Lash.

The old flathead was still running when plucked from the rails, but simply unable to provide the many miles of effortless cruising that Pete had planned. A fresh ZZ4 350 was trimmed with a Holley carb and a Caddy air cleaner and mated with a 700R4. A Mustang II set-up from Fat Fender Street Rod Shop and a Posies rear spring were also added.

Sid Chavers was called upon to cover the drop-top's insides in supple red leather. He recovered a Chevy 60/40 split bench seat with an integrated armrest, and whipped up some trick pleated door panels. The dash was left stock and the original gauges were converted to 12 volt. A red-rimmed Banjo wheel rounds out the interior.

The car is clean, low, and reliable, and according to Pete: A whole lotta fun!

Tech Specs


  • Owner: Pete Scialabba
  • From: San Jose, CA
  • Year: 1946
  • Make: Ford Model: Convertible


  • Manufacturer: Chevrolet
  • Displacement: ZZ4 350
  • Induction: Holley four barrel
  • Ignition: Mallory
  • Heads: Stock 202
  • Headers: Sanderson
  • Exhaust: Flowmaster


  • Transmission: 700R4
  • Shifter: Chevy Van Tilt column shifter
  • Differential: Ford 9"


  • Frame: Original Ford rails
  • Front Suspension: Mustang II by Fat Fender Street Rod Shop
  • Rear Suspension: Posies rear spring
  • Steering: Rack & Pinion
  • Brakes: 11" Disc front, drum rear
  • Wheels, front: 15x5 Solids
  • Wheels, rear: 15x7 Solids
  • Tires, front: 185/R15
  • Tires, rear: 225/R15


  • Manufacturer: Ford
  • Body Style: Convertible
  • Modifications: Hood top
  • Paint: PPG by Pat Lash, bodywork by Bruce Weidemann


  • Dash: Stock
  • Steering Wheel: Banjo
  • Gauges: Stock converted to 12 volt
  • Seats: Chevy 60/40 bench
  • Upholstery: Sid Chavers (Sid's Upholstery)


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