The Vault

Nailhead Ford

Anne Grinney-Colomban Car Feature, Pinup Tags: , , , , ,
Nailhead Ford

By DCImagery/D.Chartier

Model: Miss Tracy Anne

In his blood

Jim Ramirez’s love for cars started at a young age with his father as his main influence. Jim’s dad, Doug DeRoxas, grew up being in car clubs, such as The Sheiks in Northern California, and passed his love for American steel on to Jim. He learned how to turn a wrench as a kid helping his dad and his dad’s best buddy, Kevin, in the garage. As old hot rodders, they always had something for Jim to do.

At fifteen years old, Jim got his first car, a ’55 Chevy Bel Air. The plan was to do a ground-up restoration on the car but Jim got his driver’s license before the car was finished and needed a running ride. He sold the ’55 and picked up ’68 Road Runner for $1500. Stepping on the throttle really got Jim’s blood flowing. Although he grew up with muscle cars, his passion was somewhere else. He wasn’t quite sure where, though.

Finding his way

Back in 2005, attending his second Viva Las Vegas show, Jim knew he had found his niche. A couple months later at the legendary Paso Robles car show (now known as West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationls in Santa Maria, California), and a pocket full of cash, Jim was on a mission to drive home a hot rod that he would make his own. He came across a ’36 Ford pickup with a 401 Buick Nailhead in it.

Jim tracked down the owner, Jason Sanabia, who happened to be from So Cal as well. Jim and Jason made the deal and became close friends.

“One of the best parts of the deal was some of the great friendships made from meeting Jason,” Jim says.

Another new look

Over the years, the ‘36 has gone through many facelifts. The body mods were done for the most part when Jim got the pickup, so it was mostly just a matter of fine tuning it all to make it his own. Just about everything on the truck has been changed or modified. The Nailhead stayed in the truck, of course, but went under some changes as well. The way you see it here was the final time under the knife. I personally have seen a couple of the different looks on the ’36, and by far this tops them all.


“The 401 Nailhead caught my eye. At the time I knew little to nothing about them but since then, they are my engine of choice,” says Jim.

The Buick 401 was not easy to find the right parts for and figuring out the linkage on the six Stromberg 97s, Jim couldn’t have done it without the help from Rick Shelton, a.k.a. Mr. Stromberg. The sextet of Strombergs feeds the fuel to a rare Weiand 6-71 blower. Jim added the custom made zoomie exhaust by Randy from Imperial Hot Rods in Riverside, California, so you can hear him comin’. Keeping with the Buick theme, the powerhouse is tied to a ST400 tranny and a rear end out of a ’64 Riviera to lay down the rubber of the Hurst 16-inch cheater slicks.

The front end was put together with a 1930s Ford straight axle and a 28 inch reverse eye spring with Bilstein shocks. To top off the look of the front end, Jim had it all chromed. To stop the beast, the brake system is juiced up with front modified Buick drums with Wilson backing plates and stock rear drums.

Behind the wheel

The interior is as kickass as the outer shell. Starting with the kustom bench seat matching the flake green with the diamond inserts in the white vinyl. The guys over at Sew Cal Upholstery in Ontario, California, did a great job. They also tied in the door panels, shifter boot and the headliner. The stock dash was loaded with Stewart-Warner gauges. To steer the beast, the custom-made steering column is topped off with a matching green flake Superior steering wheel.

Finishing touches

The grille is a stock ’36 Ford with a custom insert. Headlights are from a 1930s Ford car. Jim also added the ’59 Caddy taillights. After he decided on the metallic Cosmic Green, his Uncle Gary Sheldrick sprayed the color.

Credits: Steady Clothing provided by Vintage Styles Now; hair flower by


Owner/Builder: Jim Ramirez

Location: Orange, CA

Vehicle: 1936 Ford pickup

Chop: 5”

Grille Shell: Stock w/custom insert

Paint: Cosmic Green Metallic single stage

Painter: Garry Sheldrick

Engine: Buick 401 Nailhead

Tranny: Buick ST400

Induction: Weiand 6-71 blower w/6 Stromberg 97 carbs

Ignition: Pertronix

Exhaust: Custom zoomies (Randy @ Imperial Hot Rods, Riverside, CA)

Rear End: 1964 Buick Riviera

Suspension: F- 28” reverse eye spring w/custom perch, Bilstein shocks;
R- Coil-overs

Brakes: F- Modified Buick drums w/Wilson backing plates; R- Buick drum

Wheels: F- 16×5 Ford steel;
R- 16×8 steel

Tires: F- 5.50-16 Firestone/Coker;
R- P255/70R16 Hurst cheater slicks

Seats: Custom bench

Upholstery: White and metalflake green vinyl

Upholsterer: Sew Cal Upholstery (Ontario, CA)

Dash: Stock w/Stewart-Warner gauges

Steering Wheel: Superior metalflake

Taillights: 1959 Cadillac

Car Club: Throttle Kings C.C.