1936 Ford Coupe - David Zocchi

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1936 Ford Coupe


David Zocchi of Coeur d’Alene, ID

“Zocchi”- you know the name; you know the style. In all honesty, Merriam Webster should consider putting it in the dictionary being synonymous with words like “low”, “sleek”, “cool”, and certainly “chopped”.

Unfortunately, the world lost an absolute legend in the customizing scene in 2016. Richard Zocchi is credited with being a major part of the resurgence of customizing cars back in the 70’s when the custom car scene had all but died out. He came in to change the game with his famous “Cool 50” Mercury, thus reigniting the fire for so many of us. Richard went on to build some of the most influential customs of all time, utilizing not just traditional styling but also bringing in that modern twist which set his builds apart from the rest.

One would think that after Richard had passed, the world had forever lost that style. That blend of old, new, and timeless elegance, that propels our hobby to the next generation and beyond. But not so fast, luckily for us, we never lost that style. Luckily for us, Richard had a nephew, David; and David Zocchi learned from the best and it’s evident with the ‘36 Ford below that David calls “Caldonia”, it just runs in the family.

Now David is not new to the car scene, you’ve seen his builds including a ’62 Bel Air, ’61 Olds 88, and the restoration of his Uncle’s “Cool 50” just to name a few. However, “I’ve always dug the ’36 3 window- I just had to find the right one, I always wanted to build one as a well-executed custom, reflected with my own tastes”.

In life, timing is everything, and in 2011 David found the ’36 he had been looking for, it was a running driving car but in David’s mind it was a blank canvas. When he bought the car, it was blue with red wheels, unchopped, and had a hot rod style rake but David knew it was a good car he drove it like that for a while until he could find the time to do what he always envisioned, transforming this hot rod ’36 into a tail dragging custom.

In 2015, he made the initial step when dropping his car off with Marcos Garcia of Lucky 7 Customs in Antioch, California. At the time, Marcos was doing a ’54 Chevy for David’s son, Joe. If you’re a fan of this site, you have already heard Marcos’ name several times in our past features. He and his team of dedicated craftsmen are responsible for so many outstanding builds featured on this site and I’m proud to be able to mention them again in this story, also check out Joe’s Chevy, it’s OUTSTANDING. The plan for Marcos and his team was to keep it simple on the ‘36, notch the frame and bag it to give it the altitude/attitude adjustment it desperately needed, as well as fit ’40 Chevy skirts to it. It wasn’t what the final product was going to be, but it was a start, and the plan was to bring it back to Marcos shortly after to get the real build going.

Unfortunately for David’s Ford, that wasn’t going to happen for several more years. During the time in which David had planned on having Marcos build the ’36, his Uncle Richard’s “Cool 50” came up for sale. David knew that he had to buy the Merc’ that he had such fond memories of and have it restored in honor of his Uncle Richard. So, the Ford went on the back burner while Marcos and the team at Lucky 7 restored that car and then David showed “Cool 50” for a few years before the car went back to Cherie Zocchi.

Fast forward to 2019 and it was finally time to get David’s ’36 under way. Off it went back to Lucky 7 Customs to build the tail dragger David has always hoped for. Beginning with the chassis/suspension which was in great shape, they opted for comfort and reliability with a Jiminez IFS kit for the front with QA1 shocks and disc brakes. Mated to the front suspension with airbags from AccuAir, and a rack and pinion from Flaming River. The frame was already notched from the first visit to Lucky 7 and was reinforced, and tidy, so Marcos and his team added a 9” rear end with 3.25’s and a 4 link and “Caldonia” sits on a set of 15x6 Firestones with Lyons hubcaps. Under the hood, much like the chassis, David wanted to keep it simple, functional, and reliable. So, a crate 350 Chevy was ordered, and it was paired to a 700R4 automatic trans for easy and trouble-free cruising.

While the chassis was being handled, in another area of the shop, the metal fabrication team was going to town on the exterior of the car. “I knew I had to have a LaSalle grille, it was one of my must-haves on the entire car, and that was because my Uncle Richard always said a ’36 Ford should have a LaSalle grille in it”. While the ’40 LaSalle grille was being fit, the front fenders were also peaked adding dimension and a pair of ’36 Chevy headlights were added which were lowered and reshaped with “King Bee” trim. After the front of the car got a generous restyle, David told Marcos that he really wasn’t fond of the stock 2-piece hood and so a 1-piece was crafted along with custom side panels with LaSalle inspired gills which were custom made from brass by Marcos to replicate the blades on the grille.

Finally, a ’39 Ford front bumper was added to the front “I had a hard time deciding on what bumpers to run, I didn’t want something that was overdone or made the car look heavy, Marcos said he had some ’39 Ford bumpers at the shop and after we tried them on the car, I knew they were right for the car”.

Continuing past the hood, you’ll notice that the running boards have been pinched and contoured to flow into the custom rear fenders and flush mount skirts which were also on the “must have” list. The rear fenders and skirts were made possible thanks to Josh Bullock of True Metal Shaping. Of course, when it came to the chop subtlety was key, much like the entire car, mild and functional but not overstated. David gives Marcos all the credit when it comes to the top, he went for a traditional 3.5” chop focusing on the overall flow of the roof and how it responded to the design of the rear of the car. Focusing more on enhancing the original design from Ford, rather than radically changing it. To get the lines/shapes they were hoping for, the deck lid had to be extended several inches and reformed (once again this was made possible by Josh Bullock) to accept the new side profile of the lowered lid making the car appear to be longer. Once all the metal work had been finished, PPG supplied the 1937 Packard “Rich Metallic Loam” and it was laid out by Marcos giving David’s car a rich, calm, elegant finish.

Peering inside “Caldonia” you will find an interior that is just as warm and welcoming as the exterior. Looking at the dashboard which has been meticulously wood-grained making it seem like it was always meant to be that way which of course matches the garnish moldings. The gauge cluster was donated by a ’34 Plymouth and the gauges were rebuilt by Redline Gauge Works while the banjo steering wheel and column are from Limeworks. “Marcos and I agreed to use a dark brown color for the interior but Sean Johnstun of Fat Lucky’s Upholstery had complete creative freedom”. Sean used his artistic abilities and understanding of the traditional upholstery style to create what you see before you. Sean utilized a custom-leather and vintage fabric combination on the stock seat, door/kick panels, and headliner for an ultra-cozy experience.

I think some of the most special and important parts of any build, when building with any shop, is the importance of collaboration and communication. Like I said before, this is not the first time that Lucky 7 has been brought up in one of my stories, nor is it the second time, nor the third, however no matter how many times that crew is brought up, everyone says the same thing about them. They are some of the “nicest, most talented, artists in the business” and David assured me of that. “I talked to Marcos every week, a lot of the time, he knew what I wanted before I could even tell him, he just understood my vision. there were times during the build where I would give Marcos a small fraction of an idea, and he ran with it and produced a product far greater than any expectation or hope I could have wished for. They truly get it at that shop and are nothing short of a privilege to work with”.

David would like to take a moment to thank everyone who had a hand in this build including Marcos Garcia, Logan Stipe, Eddie Gutierrez, and Brian Anderson just to name a few. “Caldonia” is currently taking the show circuit by storm but after it is all said and done, David says “I built this car to drive, and it will be driven”, looking forward to seeing you out on the road David, thank you!


Traditional styled 3-Window Coupe modified with a 3.5” Chop

1940 LaSalle Grill

1936 Chevrolet Headlights lowered & reshaped with peaked front fenders

Custom Modified hood with 1-piece side hinge

Factory Stainless Trim

Custom Flush mounted Fender Skirts by True MetalShaping

Shortened 1936 Ford Taillights

1939 Ford Bumpers

Exterior Door Hinge Mirrors

Chrome Plating & Stainless by Sherms Custom Plating. Sacramento, CA


PPG Rich Metallic Loam (1937 Packard) 

Paintwork by Marcos Garcia of Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA


Custom Brown Leather upholstery by Sean Johnstun of Fat Lucky’s. Prescott, AZ

Brown Square Weave carpet

Vintage Fabric headliner

Original Dash with Wood Grain finish by Marcos Garcia of Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA

1934 Plymouth Gauges with 1936 Ford Clock Mirror

1936 Ford Radio & Heater

Limeworks Banjo Steering Wheel

Lime Works 1940 Ford Style Steering Column

Power Windows with Factory crank handles

Hertz Audio System

Ron Francis Loom : 12 Volt Wiring Harness


Stock 1936 Ford frame reinforced & c-notched

Jimenez Bros IFS Kit

Flaming River Rack & Pinion Steering box

Ford 9” Rear End with 3.25 Gear Ratio

Frame Mounted CPP Master Cylinder

Stock Fuel Tank

Chassis Fabrication by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA


QA1 Adjustable Rear Shocks with Accuair Air Suspension & 4 Link Kit

Suspension Work by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA


Front: Disc brakes

Rear: Drum brakes


15x6” Steel wheels with Lyon hubcaps wrapped in Firestone Deluxe Champion Bias-Ply whitewall tires

Wheels / Tires by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA


GM SBC 350 Crate engine; Green color

Demon 650 4-barrel Carburetor

Sanderson Shorty Headers with Glasspack Exhaust by Diablo Muffler

Aluminum Finned Valve Covers

Engine Work by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA


GM 700R4 Transmission

Transmission Work by Lucky 7 Customs. Antioch, CA

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