What sort of car would you build for yourself if you were the owner of a street rod shop? Would it be something cutting edge with every trick part on the market, particularly those you were hoping to sell? Or would you make it a "design exercise" and push the envelope so far out of shape that the linage of the end result was impossible to identify? Or maybe you'd just build something that was simple, tasteful, and beautifully executed-a real car that not only looked like a hot rod, but one that could go from point A to point B without a trailer, laptop computer, or a support crew. That's not only what Richard Graves would do, that's what he did.

Head honcho at Richard's Wheel & Chassis in Long Beach, California, Graves is the kind of guy who can take a pile of parts and make a rod out of them. Of course, in this case, he started with a pretty cool pile, one that he had been gathering for some time. There was a good, running 327 Chevy that had been pulled out of another hot rod, enough transmission parts around the shop to put together a five-speed, a '57 Ford rearend that came out of a wrecking yard 10 years ago, and a set of '56 Ford pickup brakes that had been yanked off a car that got discs. Not a bad start. All Richard needed to come up with was a cab to build the '32 Ford pickup he'd always wanted; just about everything else he could find or fabricate.

Richard was ready to get serious after buying a fair cab on eBay. He turned to the Kiwi Konnection for framerails; then Richard, along with Jeb Scolman, hung the front and rear suspension, built the necessary brake and clutch pedals, fabricated engine and transmission mounts, and installed the steering.

With the chassis well on its way, Jeb turned his attention to the truck's body. The non-chopped, non-channeled, unmodified cab was soon factory fresh, but a major part of the truck was still missing-the bed. But with a talented guy like Scolman around, it was less of a problem than you might think. He simply made one. While he was at it, he whipped up a custom 15-gallon gas tank, banged out a pair of trick rocker covers, and reworked an early Studebaker air cleaner to make it fit a Holley two-barrel carburetor.

When it came time to paint the Deuce, Gerardo Hernandez was the triggerman who laid down the perfect black acrylic enamel, and then the oh-so-subtle pinstriping was laid down by the legendary Dennis Riklifs. Inside the closed cab is a custom bench seat that was covered by Darrell Morgan of Seal Beach, California. The inside of the doors are painted steel and a stock-style rubber mat covers the floor.

After six months of fabrication and body and paintwork, Richard set a goal of assembling the truck in two short weeks, an ambitious goal he accomplished. But, despite the brief build time, once the truck was on the road, the only complaint was that the rear gears were a tad high, but that's easy to fix.

It could probably be argued that street rods are a reflection of the builder's personality. Some builders are all business while others are flamboyant. Of course if this theory is valid, it means Richard Graves is an uncomplicated, get-to-the-point, no B.S. rodder with an uncanny eye for detail and unlimited talent. I guess we'll let you be the judge of that.

F A C T S & F I G U R E S
Richard Graves
Long Beach, California
1932 Ford highboy pickup
CHASSIS
Frame / Manufacturer stock-style '32 / Squeak Bell-Kiwi Konnection
Wheelbase stock 106"
Modifications custom crossmembers, mounts, steering by Richard's Wheel & Chassis
Chassis plumbing steel
Rearend / Ratio 1957 Ford 9" / 3.00:1
Rear suspension transverse '36 Ford spring / Pete & Jake's shocks
Rear brakes 1957 Ford drums
Front suspension Magnum axle, '46 Ford spindles, '36 Ford transverse spring, Pete & Jake's shocks
Front brakes '56 Ford F-100
Master cylinder '61 Chevy pickup
Steering box Vega
Front wheel make, size Ford, 16x4
Rear wheel make, size Ford, 16x5
Front tire make, size Firestone, 5.00-16
Rear tire make, size Firestone, 7.00-16
ENGINE
Make Chevrolet
Displacement 327
Machining / Assembly unknown, engine was a used takeout
Cooling fan mechanical '55 Chevrolet six-cylinder
Radiator brass by Mattson's
Alternator GM
Valve covers custom by Jeb Scolman
Manifold / Induction GM / Holley circle track 2-bbl
Ignition / Wires '60 Chevrolet / Packard solid core w/ Rajah ends
Headers '60 Chevrolet cast-iron manifolds
Exhaust / Mufflers glasspacks
TRANSMISSION
Make Chevrolet T10 with S-10 tail shaft
Clutch disc '88 Camaro
Pressure plate '88 Camaro
Shifter S-10
Driveshaft custom
BODY
Body style / Material pickup/steel
Body manufacturer Ford
Body mods none
Hood Rootlieb
Grille Vintique
Bodywork Jeb Scolman
Paint type / Color PPG acrylic enamel / black
Painter Gerardo Hernandez
Graphics pinstriping by Dennis Riklifs
Headlights / Taillights Vintique '34 Ford commercial / Vintique
Outside mirror Vintique
Bumpers none
INTERIOR
Dashboard '32 Ford pickup
Insert / Gauges '34 Plymouth / reworked by North Hollywood Speedometer Service
Stereo / Speakers none
Air conditioning none
Wiring custom by Richard's Wheel & Chassis
Steering wheel '66 Mustang
Steering column '36 Ford
Interior mirror Vintique
Seats custom bench
Upholsterer Darrel Morgan
Material / Color vinyl / black
Carpet none-stock-style rubber floor mat
  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article