Twenty-some years ago, Joe H. Floyd and his wife bought their first 1936 Ford. It was a Ford Cabriolet to be exact. You could say it was the key that sparked an ignition of passion.
"Throughout my career I really never had a time to really play with them, so when I got that first ‘36 Ford all of that fun came back," Floyd said.
There are a total of 13 different production models of the ‘36 Ford with a few variations of some of the models. Floyd has all 13 of the base models.
To him, they're more than just cars. He says they represent an end of an era.
"The ‘36 was really the last of the Bonnie and Clyde designed cars before they went on to the type of cars we're used to seeing today; which makes the ‘36 Ford unique in the annuals of the Ford Motor Company," Floyd said.
He takes each one out on the road at least twice a year. While they may be shiny now, it took a lot of work getting them to look like this.
"It's been 20 years worth of chasing down parts and working on the cars, fabricating replacement parts, getting to know other people who are doing the same thing so you can trade parts. When you're doing historic car restorations, you know, a lot of work is just plain research," Floyd said.
Each of the cars has its own unique story. But some of the stories are a little more interesting than others.
“As to how it survived World War II? It was built in a factory that was half owned by Nazis with the Ford Motor Company," Floyd said, describing one of his many cars. "It ended up being a very rare car. The driveline and the front were made by the Ford Motor Company in Germany with parts imported from the United States."
During World War II, the model Floyd has, was confiscated by the Germans and used to transport military leaders. There's a very good chance a German general once sat in the German car that Floyd now owns.
"Three of them made it to Paris and were abandoned by the German Army and some enterprising soldiers figured out how to get them back to the United States," Floyd said.
And the man who designed the car's body, Hanz Glaser, went on to be a designer for Porsche after the war.
It's not just international history in his collection; there are several American originals like the 1936 Woddie Wagon. That’s the original Station Wagon.
"And the term station wagon came from the fact that you lived in your country house, sent the car down to the station to pick up your guests. That's where the term actually came from. A car all built out of wood," Floyd said.
The frames were made in Detroit and then shipped to Iron Mountain, Michigan where Ford had its own factory forest used to finish the cars.
For Floyd, his collection is a piece of history brought back to life, giving him the chance to live like they did decades ago.
"There's probably nothing more exciting, at least for me, is a nice warm spring day where you put the top down on your 1936 Ford Cabriolet and head down the highway. You get a chance to experience what people experienced 75 years ago and what the automobile really was like,” Floyd said.
While Floyd may have one of each of the 13 models, he's not finished.
“If you're a collector, there's never an end. There's always one more car that you're looking for," Floyd said.
There is a "next" on Floyd's wish list. He recently purchased 1936 Ford made completely out of stainless steel. It's one of four ever made. He hopes have it sometime in April.