In a world where ultra-smooth fiberglass street rods are a fact of life, finding a unique and authentic ’32 Ford can be a challenge. Some builds are dated and need to be modernized, while others are so thoroughly modern they’ll be dated by next year. One of the best bets you can place is on a timeless creation like this ’32 Ford roadster. It’s an all-steel master work carefully planned and bolted together by someone who definitely knew their way around a Ford. The parts list includes familiar pieces like a small block Chevrolet V8, a smooth-shifting automatic transmission, Halibrand wheels, and a custom leather interior; but the execution of these items is what sets the car apart. If you’ve been searching for a street rod that you can show with pride, this ’32 might be the perfect solution.
Some of the most famous cars of the scene earned their place by toeing the line between elegant and aggressive. This roadster works its way towards that balance, beginning with its all-steel body. Some advancements, like the flush-fitting doors, are a product of the ’32 model year but, mostly, the pristine lines are the result of a lot of blocking and time. Everything appears to be factory with the exception of a modified firewall and a three-piece Rootlieb hood which has been louvered on both sides. Once everything was put together, the sheet metal received a coat of mile-deep black paint that suits the car perfectly. Reflections are crisp all around and, overall, the work presents very well. A taut, black Lebaron Bonney top fights the elements while also rounding out the car’s classic profile.
Where many would opt for the smooth treatment, this roadster holds onto its character with a nice mix of stock and aftermarket trim. At the front, rechromed factory bumpers with polished stainless brackets mount below a stock grille shell with fresh stainless trim, a Ford badge, and a polished radiator cap. At either side, a pair of Ford Twolite headlamps keep close thanks to a polished crossbar. Follow the louvered hood back to a smooth cowl flanked by round lights that now serve as turn signals. The windshield is a new piece, held in place by a chopped and chromed tilt frame and the fresh chrome is mirrored on details like the door handles and light bezels. The top frame continues the show of high-quality hardware with chrome and wood accents for a touch of elegance. Out back, another rechromed factory bumper sets the tone while a pair of Duolamp taillights sit just above it. Access to the new stainless fuel tank is granted through a polished gas cap, while a left-aligned license plate bracket helps keep things legal.
Between the frame rails, Henry Ford power is replaced by a well-dressed small block Chevy. The base is a modern 350 block dressed in black paint and topped with GM Performance Parts aluminum heads, an aluminum bowtie intake, and a Holley 750cfm carburetor. According to the current owner, the unit was built with the same parts list as GM’s stalwart ZZ430 crate engine, so you know there is plenty of power on tap. The narrow accessory drive turns only a water pump and a chrome alternator while a single electric fan pairs with an aluminum radiator to keep the bay cool. The engine is dressed with chrome ZZ430 valve covers and a chrome air cleaner assembly, while a mix of fresh hoses and braided stainless lines snake throughout the bay. The distributor divides spark through Moroso plug wires and the spent gases spiral out through ceramic coated Sanderson shorty headers that flow into a coated dual exhaust system with glasspack-style mufflers. Naturally it sounds great but, equally important on a car like this, it looks impressive as well.
Underneath the roadster, work remains clean and impressive. The striking black paint continues across the floors while the boxed Lobeck chassis is filled out by miles of new hardware, hoses, and lines. Behind the small block, a 700-R4 four-speed automatic knows just when to shift. GM used these transmissions in a lot of their products, but this one started life in a C4 Corvette and now works with a Precision Industries 2,400 rpm stall converter to get this roadster moving. Power spins down the driveline to a Halibrand Quickchange with a polished center section while vintage Halibrand Sprints wrapped in BF Goodrich radials connect the chassis to the road. The front rests on a polished and drilled aluminum axle with a chrome transverse leaf spring, QA1 adjustable shocks, and a chrome 4-bar setup with the rear utilizing a chrome 4-link and coil overs. When the roads twist, a polished billet Mullins steering box keeps turning effort minimal while Wilwood four-wheel disc brakes bring the Ford to an authoritative halt. This is definitely a car you want to show with mirrors under it.
Much like the engine bay, the interior is a small space filled with some impressive pieces. At the ground floor, fresh black wool carpeting is protected by matching floor mats while a tall Lokar shifter and emergency brake pop through the middle next to a polished fire extinguisher. Primary seating is provided by a plush bench seat wrapped in rolled and pleated tan leather. If you need extra space, flip open the rumble seat and drop in your luggage or a few extra traveling companions. Back inside, the door panels follow the lead of the seats with matching leather, small storage compartments, and body-matched door handles. Climb into the driver seat to get a better view of the simple but attractive instrumentation. The gauges are classically styled Stewart Warner pieces that keep tabs on oil pressure, water temperature, speed, revs, voltage and fuel from within an engine-turned instrument bezel. A walnut-rimmed banjo steering wheel tops a polished GM-style tilt column while, below, a small chrome accelerator and round brake pedal round out the controls.
The roadster includes a nice pile of restoration photos as well as component manuals for many of the pieces installed. If you’re worried about registration issues, the car is titled as a ’32 Ford so everything at the DMV should be smooth sailing.
The ’32 Ford has aged with more grace than most, with a design still capable of turning heads in factory form. The decision to leave the basics alone and make only time-tested additions is a huge part of why this roadster works so well. With its polished small block, smooth-shifting automatic, comfortable leather interior, and vintage swagger, you’ll never tire of finding this car in your garage. Quit watching the Fords go by and add this jewel of a roadster to your collection today!