The evolution of a hot rod

As I was looking through my digital photo album I ran across some older pictures of your Humble Editors 1932 Ford five window coupe.

I have not done a ton of things to this car but it is amazing how the look and feel of a hot rod can change with rather simple modification. As a hot rod can be an extension of your personality so it is important to make it the way you like it.

Here is how it looked at one point:

1932 Ford rear

 Fenders made from ’36 Ford spare tire covers in the front, home made in the rear.

Olds motor in 1932 Ford

 1956 Olds power plant.

 1932 Ford Five Window Coupe

OK, those slicks has to go and so does the drag race “high in the nose” look.


1932 Ford Five Window Coupe Firestone 2

Dropped original heavy axle and Firestones pie crust tireas changes the car completely.

 1932 Ford Five Window Coupe no lettering

Loosing those silly numbers on the side certainly helped to clean up the car.

At this point I started to like the car but something was still missing…

1932 Ford 5 window hood

 Aha! A hood! Yup, that added greatly to the lines. It completes the car and it flows great. Mmmm…something is still missing!


1932 Ford 5 window rear

 Yes, that’s it. Fenders. It puts the old back in to the car. This just shows how versitile the 1932 Ford is. It can be built in many ways and look great.

This car is now sold and Your Humble Editor is looking for something new and fun, Well, something old and fun. Like a 1937 Ford cabriolet. Know of any? Let me know.


Reader’s Rides: 1932 Ford Five Window

Sometimes your Humble Editor get an e-mail from a ClassicRoad reader with pictures of his or her car. Bob Mervar from Oregon state did just that and his 1932 Ford five window is too cool not to share with the world.

1932 Ford five window

The car was finished in 2009 and Bob has been driving the wheels off it ever since.

1932 Ford cruising

Some more pictures coming soon. Thanks for sharing, Bob

Harry’s “back in the day” Hot Rod Pictures

I bought a vintage Volvo from Harry and his wife a few years ago. I learned that he has been a car guy and hot rodder all his life and here are some pictures to prove it.

Gotta love this stuff:

A Mopar 413 Ramcharger powered this red hot rod. The stick figure in the front is Harry himself.

With a ride like this it was not a problem to atract the ladies.

Just love the stance and look of old hot rods.

The hot rod started life with a different color. Check out the two color top insert.


More evidence that the ladies dig guys with hot rods…

A completey restored 1937 Dodge truck was the ride of choice for a while.

One of the earlier cars Harry owned was this 1926 Ford Model T. Bought it for $150.00 and sold it for $300.00. They only car he made money on!

Thanks Harry for sharing your time machine with us.

Roller Nailer Engine up-date

This is the FOUR-HUNDRED-TWENTY-FIVE-CUBIC-INCH engine going in the Roller Nailer chassis:

Lonely chassis waiting for POWER !!



So I met this guy…

I went to the LeMay open house, to attend the old car auction. On my way to the auction site, I stumbled across this cool looking ’32 Ford. It stopped me in my tracks, and it didn’t take long to notice that the car did not have an ordinary engine.

It was powered by a jet engine!

The 1932 Ford Roadster is now owned by LeMay Auto Museum but the builder Lenny was there to show off his engineering masterpiece. Lenny spent a fair amount of time with me, showing the various features of the car. He was fascinated when I told him that I used Ford F-1 shock mounts, dropped axle and split wishbones on my hot rod.

He said: That what we did in the “old” days !

Not just the average 350/350 combo, huh?

Before embarking on the jet build, he spend lot’s of time racing his car.

Lenny also spend several years racing on the salt flats in the early fifties.

Lenny worked for Boeing in Seattle, so the jet engine solution was probably close to home.


Gotta love those shocks !

Once he learned that Your Humble Editor was born in Sweden, he told me he worked in Sweden for Volvo Airplane Division in the sixties.

Funny story: Most of the engineers in Sweden at that time spoke good English, but most of the mechanics did not. There was one air plane mechanic that really wanted to learn English, especially the name of various engine parts. So every time Lenny pointed out a part, the mechanic would pull out his note book and write it down.

One day they were working on an engine that was just run, and Lenny leaned in on the exhaust pipe and burned himself. He said “Hot Mother F…..he stopped abruptly, realizing that was not appropriate language. As he walked away, he turned around and saw the Swedish mechanic mutter to himself while he wrote “Hot Mother” for the English name of the exhaust pipe.

We can only be grateful that Lenny did not complete the sentence !


1932 Ford hot rod: The fendering is finished

1932 Ford Five window Coupe fenders

After all the fenders had been test fitted I shot the inside of the fenders with etching primer and then applied a rubberized undercoating. This prevents “tneds”  That would be “dent” backwards as the rock would leave the tire and make an “outie” Get it?


1932 Ford Five window Coupe fenders

Also, the wheel wells got a shot of the undercoating as well.


1932 Ford Five window Coupe fenders

I made these simple upper shock mounts that clears the fender.


1932 Ford Five window Coupe fenders

Then it was time to squirt some paint on the frame rails as well.The rear quarter panel was not painted when I originally painted the cowl and doors to remove the ugly lettering so this was a good opportunity to make sure everything match.
Puh, that was a long sentence!


Back in the “showroom” for assembly. The Volvo wheel is just temporary until I get new rear rims. I ordered new 16’s with 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern in order to solve the axle width. This way I can eliminate the adapter and save an inch. Hopefully it will be enough as I really don’t want to tear down the rear axle this year.


Yup, the whole damn shop is red. My interior decorator is going to be sooo pissed!

The white paint on the headers was peeling badly and now would be the time to fix it.

As I will not run hood sides and the fenders and top hood with sort of picture frame the engine it better look good. This looks cleaner.

So how did it come out? Pretty damn good I think, It certainly changed the look and feel of the car.


The OE frame horn covers fits better than the repop


I was concerned that there would be too much red but the chrome acorns and adding a chrome license plate frame it looks pretty balanced.


The not so faux Olds engine is nicely framed between the hood and fenders.

I plan to change the top insert to black and also the dash and steering wheel should be black. For right now I just plan to drive the crap out of it.

1931 Ford roadster parts chasing

A hot rod should have it’s own personality and you don’t achieve this but installing mail order components. For example, I am always on the look-out for interesting guages for my hot rod builds. Usually something comes along that grabs my attention at a swap meet or in this case, my friends garage.

This 1947 Volvo PV 444 instrument cluster was doing service as garage art but now it will once again do what it was designed to do: report speed and other vital information about the engine.

The model A roaster will use this1932 style dash. I did not waste any time testing the fit. I approve. Volvo cluster it is.

Now I best get back to the ’32 Ford and the issues with the rear wheels.

1932 Ford five winda…fender install up-date

Burning the mid night oil on this one. I don’t want it to interfear with my day to day business so I get to work on this at night. Soon we will have hot rod weather in Washington state and this car needs to be READY for action!


After some slicing and dicing of the rear fenders they finally fit the body I am finally pretty happy with the fit. Applying Swedish Volvo standards to eighty year old American cars can cause hair dramatic loss though.


In the Uh-Oh department…You have heard the expression “Cause and Effect”…Well, this is a good example…I caused it…by hanging fenders…the effect is now that the axle width does not work with the fenders. Acually, multiple issues going on here. The axle is too wide and the wheel is not really centered in the wheel opening. The latter is a common deuce problem.

Now what? I will have to shorten the axle. If I tear it down I should fix the parallel ’36 rear bones as they are not really part of a good suspension. They should connect in the middle like stock. If I change the wish bones I need to re-route the exhaust. Then I may go to coil springs or coil overs for comfort.

Don’t you love hot rodding??!!



1932 Fender install project

The unboxed center of the frame still has the holes for the foot boards so I figured the location is pretty much the gospel. After installing the boards I can work from there.


So far so good. Stay tuned.

’32 Ford: Let’s get fendered…is that a verb??

Starting on this project…”luckily” the previous owner filled the fender bolt holes with mud. I just drilled through it and tapped out the cage nuts. Now I can hang the rear fenders.

We will see how the new fenders fit this 80 year old body.

The frame is not boxed in the center…that’s a good thing. The foot boards bolted up very nicely. now it’s time to test the fit of the front fenders.

Stay tuned…