Mad Nut’s 1936 Ford Banzai Run to CA & Then Back to the 50s

The “Minnesota Mad Nut” haulin’ buns in a 1936 Ford rose up out of the pavement like a pagan god pulling a Teardrop trailer and screamed past traffic. Or at least that’s what it must have looked like to any one of the travelers headed between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Pomona, California just a few days before last Father’s Day Weekend.

As hot-rodders we’re all half-crazy, so I don’t think the guy I met at the LA Roadsters Show last Father’s Day weekend would mind me calling him the “Minnesota Mad Nut.” I’d spent the day covering the LA Roadsters Show and was trudging back through the swap meet area towards my parked truck when I spotted a pretty little black 1936 Ford three-window coupe.

At first, I thought the 1936 Ford was part of the camp with the monstrous motorhome alongside, but then I noticed there was a Teardrop trailer parked next to the 1936 with a small array of vintage Ford parts on the ground. In for a closer look at the coupe a guy wearing a brown hat turned around and spotting my STREET RODDER shirt asked me if I worked for the magazine. I answered yes, and he proceeded to tell me he’d driven the 1936 all the way from Minnesota pulling that trailer full of old Ford parts. “Yeah, I had that Teardrop packed full of Ford tin and iron the stuff sold fast like deep fried cheese curds” (non-Minnesotans think, hot cakes). Our conversation turned to the 1936 and he told how a few weeks earlier he had painted the coupe in his home garage.

Man talk about a hardcore hot-rodder this guy was the real deal and even more screwed-up than me. I asked him if he’d make it to Back to the 50s in time and he assured me he would. I said cool, STREET RODDER will be there in full force and we will meet him there.

As soon as we hit the Minnesota State Fairgrounds I kept an eye open for the 1936 coupe and had a few false alarms when I spotted similar cars. On the very last day only hours before another Back to the 50s Weekend was in the record books I found the 1936 Ford with an LA Roadsters show pass and a Back to the 50s pass in the windshield. A girl sitting in a folding aluminum chair behind the coupe was startled when I asked where the owner was. She said the 1936 belonged to her dad, and I said yes I met him in Pomona last week at the LA Roadsters show, please tell him I said hello.

— John Gilbert