Lou & Linda Zibrin's 1932 Ford "El Tiki" Woodie
(from Volume 19, Issue 242)

story by owner Lou Zibrin, photos by Michael B. Kelly


My love of cars began at an early age while living in Yonkers, New York. Pumping gas at a service station allowed me to buy my first car, which was a 1957 Chevy 2-Door Hardtop. Eventually I graduated to a 1961 Corvette with a 427 cubic inch Motion motor shoe horned in it. At that time I became partners in a Custom Corvette Shop.

In 1979 I decided to make the move to Florida, so I loaded up the ‘57 Chevy Nomad I had at the time, and relocated to Kissimmee, Florida. Once there I co-founded the Mid Florida Classic Chevy club, and was active in the scene. In 1980 Mike T. from the Osceola Rodders, and my club Mid Florida Classic Chevy, helped start the Autofest at Old Town. It was held for a few years, and was so successful that it pretty much outgrew the available space at Old Town, necessitating a change in plans. Rather than host a once a year event, Old Town decided to turn it into a weekly occurance. Thus was born the Saturday Nite Cruise at Old Town, which recently celebrated its 24th Anniversary on June 7th of 2014.

Along the way I met my wife, Linda, who loves cars as much as I do and was already a regular at Old Town herself. Together we have built several Corvettes, street rods and muscle cars, as well as three other Woodies. The car you see featured here is Woodie number four for us.

We found this 1932 Ford Woodie in Leesburg, Florida. The car was a work in progress, but featured many new parts including the one-off custom 2-Door white maple body built and designed by the owner, Charlie Thomas. Upon purchasing the Woodie, I was able to persuade my friend Bob Alford with Pro Street Customs to help me finish the car at his shop. I did the mechanical work, wiring and final assemblies, while Bob and myself did the paint and body work. The color chosen was a custom blend two-stage base coat / clear coat shade of burgundy that I call “Sweet Cherry Wine”. When it came to a set of wheels I opted for old school style 5-spoke mags, made by Coys in black chrome.

For power I chose a 351 Ford Windsor motor bored .40 over, then fitted with a roller cam and Holley carburetor tucked under a distinctive Cadillac air cleaner. Shifting duties are handled by a Ford C4 automatic transmission, passing the power back to a Winters style 9-inch Ford rear end. Calling on another friend, Bill Clarke dialed in the chassis and fabricated a custom fuel tank and fan shroud.

The interior includes Autometer carbon fiber gauges, a tall Lokar shifter topped by a custom Tiki head shift knob, power windows and power seats. The upholstery on the seats and the vinyl top installation were done by Doug at Drop Top Interiors. The rear deck is custom bamboo wood, and adds to the “El Tiki” theme....which is also the name put on the personalized Florida license plate out back.

After four months of hard work it was ready for its maiden voyage. We chose to debut it at the Beach Blast hosted by Mike Kelly’s Cruise News, where we received a Top 50 award. The beach setting made the Woodie seem right at home.

Linda and I really enjoy this Woodie, taking it to the local cruise-ins and shows, and driving it as often as possible. As for my next project? Who knows. After I sell this one, I guess I’ll just see what mood I am in! -Lou Zibrin