If one thing is for sure, when you decide to immerse yourself in the hot rod hobby, you soon find out who your friends are. If you own a pickup truck or, even better, a trailer, then you probably already have more friends than you know!
True hot rod friends know what Saturday afternoons are for, and what it means when someone says that it looks like "roadster weather" outside. Friends are also an excellent source for collecting parts and pieces when you're putting your own car together, and are usually the first ones to call you when they have a project to sell.
Jon Wright, the owner of CustomChrome Plating in Grafton, Ohio, knows his way around a project or two. But being in a chrome-plating business, you might think Jon would own a car that showcases his talents by having a completely chromed undercarriage or would at least be able to blind a few folks when he opens the hood on one of his cars, but that's not the case.
Boo Lowery, one of Jon's friends living in Florida, had started collecting parts (mostly old N.O.S. speed parts) for a steel '32 Ford coupe for close to 15 years before he began assembling it in the early '90s. But, as projects sometime do, work on it stalled, and it was eventually sold to a friend of both Boo and Jon-Ed Chapla. In fact, Ed called Jon when he needed help hauling the car from Florida back to Ohio.
Jon was impressed with what Boo had completed on the car and told Ed he'd be interested in buying it if he ever wanted to sell the coupe. But in the meantime, Jon decided on another of Boo's vehicles to purchase: a nice, glossy '32 three-window.
A few years later, as fate would have it, Ed called Jon to see if he was still interested in the car, and it turned out Jon was. Ed hadn't made much progress on the car in the three years he had it, and Jon decided he was going to keep the retro theme with which Boo had started, only he would add a few of his own ideas to enhance the concept. The idea would be to build a car that a 16-year-old might have had in the '50s-nothing over the top, but a nice driver with some cool touches.
But after 'flaking paint on the chassis, Jon decided to blow the whole car apart and start over from scratch. The chassis is an original Ford item, to which a Model A front crossmember was added. Vintage parts, such as the filled Dago axle and the Halibrand quick-change rear, were installed, as were a Model A rear spring and tube shocks (along with finned aluminum Buick brake drums) on each corner. Rollers were simple: 16-inch steelies (fours up front, sixes in the rear) were wrapped in Firestone rubber, painted red, and then topped with Moon discs.
Jon's original-steel coupe looks good from any angle. A stock set of 'rails and an X-membe
Most folks know about the 59AB Flathead found in many o' Fords, but there are a handful of other designations the factory offered at that time as well. The motor in Jon's coupe is a 1948 59Y model (reportedly made of a stronger material for military use), rebuilt and assembled by Rick Wojtko of Rick's Speedway Performance.
Rick used the appropriate speed parts of the time to hop up the Flattie, including a 4-inch Merc crank, Jahns forged pistons, and an Isky 400 JR camshaft. Ultra-rare GranCor aluminum heads (from the GRANatelli CORporation) and intake manifold were bolted up and are fed by a triple Rochester carb system. A Vertex magneto sends the spark along with Taylor wires, and exhaust exits through a custom stainless header system designed and built by Dan Tesar. A '39 Lincoln box equipped with Zephyr gears was also installed utilizing a Weber clutch and pressure plate combination.
The steel body features a 3.5-inch chop, a filled roof, louvers in the cowl's sides and on the decklid, and was painted with DP90 primer by Harbourtown Body Shop. Inside, a '34 Ford dash was cut down to fit the Deuce's dimensions, and forward of the '38 Ford banjo steering wheel are five gauges from Classic Instruments. And, as you might imagine, any chrome there is on the car was done in-house at CustomChrome Plating.
Once folks stop staring at the GranCor heads, their attention typically turns to the interior of Jon's car, which is done in "po' boy" style: a Mexican blanket and sound deadener. Ah, but don't let the low-buck look fool you; the blanket has been cleverly sewn by Joe Smith of Covington, Ohio, to hide the fact a Wise Guys bench seat is underneath. So there is some comfort in there and not just a collection of misplaced springs poking at the driver.
With a pair of '32 Fords-one glossy and one not-it's funny when Jon parks them together and watches who walks up to which car first. Invariably it's the dull one, possibly because of the unique heads that draws the onlooker a bit closer. But, in reality, the overall appearance of the primered highboy coupe draws every 16-year-old (or at least 16-at-heart) over and whispers in their ear: "Hey! Get in! Let's go!"
The Halibrand V-8 quick-change sports all the right vintage pieces, including an early "To
Check out the aluminum GRANatelli CORporation heads and intake manifold. Very rare indeed.
There are only a few louvers found on Jon's coupe, and they aren't in the places you'd exp