Robert Anderson capped off an eventful six months with his radical custom 1936 Pontiac sedan by winning the America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod award at the Goodguys 32nd West Coast Nationals presented by BASF.
Known as the “Pindian,” the Pontiac is the latest full-custom build to come from Steve Legens and his talented team at Legens Hot Rods in Martin, Tennessee. It debuted at the Detroit Autorama, where it was a Great 8 finalist for the coveted Ridler Award. It also earned a Top Five spot for the Goodguys Street Rod of the Year title last month and was a Top Five finisher for the Hot August Nights Cup.
This is the second time Anderson has teamed up with Legens for an award-winning build. The owner and builder worked together several years ago on a stylish ’40 Ford pickup, which ultimately won the 2015 Goodguys Truck of the Year Early title. The Pindian project seemed like a natural next step after they found a low-mileage vehicle on which to base the project.
In stock form, the ’36 Pontiac was influenced by the Art Deco design movement of its era, led by a streamlined grille with a distinctive grouping of vertical center bars that flowed up over the hood and back to the cowl. The Legens team built on that foundation, nipping and tucking the body to make it even more sleek and stylish. They took the definitive grille trim strip and extended it up and over the roof and down the decklid. The trim panel not only stays in place when the hood is raised, but also serves as a skylight over the cabin with clear panels between each trim rib on the car’s roof.
While the trim is a defining feature, it’s just one element in an extensive list of metal modifications. The body was stretched 4-inches in front and wedge sectioned from 2½-inches in the front to zero in the rear. The top has been slightly chopped – just about half an inch – and the headlights moved down from the sides of the grille to the fenders. Custom beltline trim was made to wrap all the way around the vehicle, complemented by a reworked grille and custom bumpers coated in a gold-tone finish to accent the flawless pearl white paint.
The car’s interior is almost minimalist, highlighted by an incredible center-mounted spherical gauge cluster. Steve was inspired by an ad for the 1936 Pontiac that proclaimed, “This car will last 100,000 miles!” and was illustrated with a globe of the earth with four horizontal “roads” emanating from it and a car driving on one of them. With the help of Eric Brockmeyer and Dakota Digital, the globe-like cluster became a reality and each gauge features a stationary pointer and a spinning face. The rest of the interior features Glide seats stitched in caramel-colored Wollsdorf leather, Relicate carpet, a custom steering wheel machined by EVOD Industries, and aluminum trim from Clayton Machine. All switches and controls are tucked underneath a sliding panel in the center console.
The sedan rides on a custom Roadster Shop chassis with a Kugel Komponents independent rear suspension and Winters quick-change center section. Power comes from a supercharged LT4 Corvette crate engine from GM Performance, cranking out 650hp. The shop topped it with a custom engine cover and the car’s original flying Pontiac hood ornament. It’s backed with a 4L80E overdrive transmission from Bowler Performance that’s pushbutton actuated thanks to a Mastershift kit.
A custom build this distinctive needed an equally impactful finishing touch, which came with the one-off wheels from EVOD Industries. The build team loosely pulled inspiration from the car’s original spoked wheels, making the design more elegant and contemporary with a finish that matches the rest of the trim. The wheels measure 18×8- and 20×11-inches and help lend a coach-built quality to this stylish sedan.
Stunning streamlined styling, simple elegance, and amazing build quality are all elements you’d expect to find in America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod. Goodguys and BASF would like to congratulate Robert Anderson and the crew at Legens Hot Rods on this amazing build and for bringing home the big win from Pleasanton.
Photos by Steven Bunker