Percival Customs & Fabrication is a Father and Son team, that took their passion for restoring classic cars and turned it into a business.
Wayne has been involved with restoration from a young age, he learned from his Father and Grandfather about classic tractors and how to restore them back to original. Wayne and Houston rebuilt a 1927 John Deere D that Wayne’s grandfather found and it was sold and given to Jay Leno to be apart of his tractor collection. This lead to him having a love for the classics. In High school Wayne began working in the automotive industry, he then also got into welding and fabricating. The two things went hand in hand and made him great at what he does.
Houston followed in the family footsteps, being around classic tractors before he could walk. He then learn to drive and repair them from a very early age. That turned into him working on cars and fabricating from the age of 10. Houston attended school for automotive mechanics which led him to a job in production building boom trucks. From there he joined a local business doing speciality fabrication, all while building and working on classic cars on the side.
Four generations of the Percival men.
Bottom row, left to right; Wayne Jr., Floyd (Grandpa), Wayne Sr. Top row, left to right; Houston, Tucker
It's a Saturday morning and my wife's phone rings. The caller ID says Jay Leno! We were invited to see his collect of amazing cars, however the main reason was to show him how to start the 1927 John Deere D we restored. While Jay was filming a show, we got to see his collection, have lunch with him and his crew and just hangout for the day. Needless to say, meeting Jay Leno was huge for the Percival's!
This is a article Houston submitted to The Iron and Steele Podcast
THE $9K 1936 FORD
*This is a great story sent to me by Houston Percival. In a note he attached along with it, he mentioned that he figured I'd enjoy it, since I "love '36 Fords so much" HE WAS RIGHT. Thanks, Houston for the great story!*
We all have that grandparent, parent or uncle who got us into classic cars. Mine happens to be my dad and my great uncle, Jim. My Uncle Jim has had numerous early Ford hot rods. To list a few: two 1936 3 windows, a 1936 4 door sedan and a 1935 cabriolet all of which are street rods. I loved the styling of 36’s as much as my uncle. He always described them as, “The most elegant car Ford ever built.”
Like most young hot rodders, I got my start in this stuff with Model A Fords. First was a ratty 1930 Pickup that I eventually got on the road after about 3 years. Next was a '30 Tudor Sedan that got a Flathead. Then my dad and I built a '31 Vicky. But all the while, I was always wanting a '36.
One day I got a phone call from a local guy who had a dark blue 74 C10. He wanted to have his LS swap finished so he could sell the truck. So, dad and I go look at it and ended up going in together and buying the truck the way it was. The intention was to flip it and split the profit. We finished the truck which came out super nice. The only option it didn't have was a tach. After everything was done, the total we had "in" it was $9300. My dad really enjoyed the truck and was driving back and forth to work with a for sale sign on the dash.
One day my uncle Jim invited me out to his friend, Joe's house for a hot rod lunch. We were looking at cars in his shop and garage. There was a 1947 Ford Convertible, 1936 5 window, 1941 coupe (yuck) and a Washington Blue, all stock 1936 Tudor Sedan, with the ugliest color yellow wheels I’ve ever seen. The car ran the Great Race in 2001, from San Antonio to Anaheim. And it looked like it hadn’t moved since. I asked my uncle about it, and he said it had a bad motor. Apparently, they had hurt it somewhere along the way during the race.
A few months later, my uncle’s friend, Joe called my dad and asked if he could come look at something on one of his cars he was working on. My dad goes out there and happened to be driving the truck we had for sale. Joe started asking a bunch of questions about it, and how much we wanted for it. My dad told him $20k. Joe then mentions that he would like to sell the '36 Tudor. He apparently had big plans to build it but was finally coming to the realization that he just wasn't going to get to it. Joe tells my dad he wants $16k for the '36, and offered to trade it for the truck. Unfortunately, I hadn't been able to run out there with my dad, as my wife Stacey (girlfriend at the time) and I were on our way to go camping with her parents. So, my dad calls me and says "Hey, so, Joe wants to trade his blue '36 Tudor for our truck. What do you think?" I told him to make it happen, but to tell Joe he would have to throw in another flathead he had in the shop out of his '47 ford, and the matching Columbia rear end that was behind it. This, I thought, would make the trade a little more even. My dad said he would work on it.
Meanwhile, me not knowing what a '36 Tudor that has sat for more than 15 years was worth, I decided I'd better do a little research. The first person I got ahold of when we got back from our camping trip was my good friend, Brandon, from East Bay Speed and Custom. I ran the potential trade scenario by him, and in so many words, Brandon told me basically if I don’t do that deal, I’m crazy. So, we went for it!
The day after we got back, my dad, my wife and I went to talk to Joe to work out the specifics of the deal on the truck for the '36, the spare motor and the Columbia.
The following day we returned with truck title in hand and trailer in tow. We aired the tires up on the '36, opened the garage door and pushed it outside, letting the sun hit it for the first time in 17 years. The blue paint was hidden by a thick layer of dust. It had a car cover on it that seemed like it had more let things through it than it had protected it. With the deal done, parts loaded and '36 on the trailer, the first stop on the way home was my uncle Jim’s, who was surprised and happy that we had been able to get our hands on it.
We took the new prize straight to my parents' house and unloaded it. The next day, my wife started cleaning it up. First, a wash to get the nearly two-decades of dust off of it. She even took all the seats out of it and vacuumed the mouse poop. Somewhere in this tedious process, I overheard my wife ask my dad, “how do you get rid of the mouse poop smell?” His response was, “Nothing can get rid of that smell but time!”
The next thing to come off were all of the Great Race stickers. With the car cleaned it was mine and my dad's turn. It was time to get it running. We were able to coax it to life the following day, but my uncle was right: It definitely had a bad motor, confirmed by the unmistakable knocking sound coming out of it. No problem, but now we had a motor swap to do.
Luckily, I had the spare motor that came with the car. I started by putting it on an engine test stand. I then sprayed some WD-40 in the cylinders and changed the oil. I removed the intake manifold as well, just to see what it looked like inside. To my surprise, it was actually very clean, and even had adjustable lifters. I then took the spare distributor and carburetor from my sedan and threw them on. We had it up and running in about an hour or so and it seemed very healthy. I let it idle for a couple hours out front of the shop. It had great oil pressure, and water temp stayed nice and cool.
Since the '36 still ran, and just made a little knocking noise at an idle, I decided to start collecting parts before I tore it apart. I figured I better call someone who has done what I was wanting to do once or twice. So, after another few phone calls to Brandon, I now had a list of what I needed to give it that perfect attitude adjustment I had in mind. I wanted it to sit just like his black 36 3 window. I got a dropped axle, and a set of old chrome steering arms. I already had a set of old chrome backing plates and spindles to match.
With the motor out, I got the dropped front axle in with a reverse eye spring to get the front suspension sitting where I wanted it. I made lowering spacers for the 36 wish bones to get the rear down 2”. A set of 5.50x 16’s in the front and 7.00x16’s in the rear completed the look. I also converted it to juice brakes. Eventually, I got the new motor installed and running with the help of my dad and my brother. My first test drive was the day before the Draglynx’s New Year’s reliably run. I only put about 15 miles on it just the day before the event. But hey, what could possibly go wrong?
Surprisingly, the answer was: Not much! We actually had a pretty uneventful day. The only problem we had was about halfway through the run, when I had to do a little brake adjustment. With only that and discovering the car had 4.11’s, it was a good first day in the '36. We put about 300 miles on the car day.
Since then, the car has had a rear end swap to 3.78 gears. I still haven’t installed the Columbia, but it is on the list. Along the way, I also fixed a bunch of wiring issues, installed an Edmonds 2x2 intake with some old chrome 97’s, and most importantly, logged numerous fun-filled miles. My wife and I even used it in our engagement and wedding photos. It’s definitely a better driving car than an old Model A.
Lastly, since my dad and I had gone in together on the truck that we eventually traded for this '36, we had to figure out what to do about getting him out of his "half." (Which in reality, was actually more like 3/4...) In the end, I had to let one of my cars go in order to buy him out. I ended up selling my '30 Av8 to a good friend of mines' father-in-law. So, it went to a good home, and I get to own a fine example of the most elegant car Ford ever built....