1932 Ford Roadsters - Two Means To An End
A Pair Of Deuces With Similar Lineage
From the August, 2008 issue of Street Rodder
By Ryan Manson
Photography by Brian Brennan, Ryan Manson
As a hot rodder in the 21st century, it's often misunderstood why we do the certain things we do. Tall, skinny bias-ply tires stand out amongst the wide, fat radials. Multiple-carb'd Flathead motors clatter and leak amongst the fuel-injected, computer-controlled contemporary modular motors. Drum brakes pull and fade compared to modern performance disc brakes. Transverse-spring suspension designs are stiff and ill-performing compared to independent suspensions with adjustable coilover springs, and the like.
There are drawbacks to virtually every aspect of hot rodding that not only don't make sense to most people in today's society but don't make sense even to some car guys. The musclecar and street rod guys laugh when you mention running a Flathead or early Hemi motor, but the thing they don't get is it's all about style, aesthetic, and tradition.
Granted, it's hard to do anything that hasn't been done before when building a hot rod today; nobody's out there reinventing the wheel when it comes to building a '32 Ford. But, given the vast amount of aftermarket parts and accessories available today, one can build a car that would be next to impossible to have built not only way back when, but even 10 years ago.
The Flathead in Charles' roadster...
The Flathead in Charles' roadster was dressed in period N.O.S. accessories to keep with the prewar theme found elsewhere. Edelbrock block-script heads and Super dual intake are similar items to what Vic Sr. ran in his roadster, way back when.
Build options began to shrink as the supply of original steel dwindled, and guys started looking at alternatives. Building a '32 roadster back in the 1940s was one thing-there were still original cars around-but fast forward 60-plus years, and it has become painfully obvious that option just isn't there anymore.
Enter the aftermarket reproduction-body industry. Beginning in the early 1970s, fiberglass reproduction '32 Ford roadsters, among other years and styles, began to be manufactured. All of a sudden, it was once again possible to build a Deuce roadster, thus becoming popular for a second time. The 21st century kicked off, and, lo and behold, the '32 Ford is not only being reproduced in 'glass but in steel, as well, 75 years after its inception. And, not only in its original, factory guise but in the form of a legitimate convertible design, complete with roll-up windows and a hideaway drop-top. Old Henry himself would be hard-pressed to believe his humble '32 roadster would still be receiving the attention it is 75 years later. But, the popularity of the Deuce roadster continues to grow even today, with more on the road than when they first rolled off Ford's production line, and guys like Charles Franklin and Mark Trostle are firm believers in the fact that the '32 Ford roadster is one of the most iconic cars ever built.
Like a lot of hot rods built today, the comparisons between the Franklin and Trostle highboys can be drawn like a line in the sand; but, when it comes time to split hairs, the two cars actually have less in common than one would first think. Yes, they're both '32 Ford highboy roadsters built in a similar vein, but other than a few simple styling cues, that's about where the similarities end.
One of the biggest differences is the fact that, other than the Brookville body and Vintique grille and insert, every item on the Franklin roadster is gennie vintage Ford. From the wheels to the chassis to the original Deuce column, it was all built from parts that Charles has been searching for over the years. Mark's car, on the other hand, technically isn't even a roadster. It's actually a Dearborn Deuce convertible body, complete with roll-up side glass and a hideaway top. And, every major component of his highboy, from the wheels to the chassis to the Juliano's column, came from an aftermarket source. Here are two cars that are distinguishingly similar yet completely different.
From the ground up, both cars roll on traditional rubber-Dunlop racing bias-plies on Mark's car, and N.O.S. Firestone Ascots on the rear and Firestone skinnies up front on Charles' roadster. A set of Dayton wire wheels were ordered up for Mark's highboy, while Charles opted to use a pair of 18-inch '38 Ford accessory wheels in the back and V8-60 wheels up front. Suspension systems were kept traditional up front with a transverse leaf design on both cars-Pete & Jake's equipment for the front of the Trostle car with a dropped axle and split hairpins, while a drilled Deuce heavy axle was attached to stock, unsplit '32 Ford radius rods on the Franklin '32.
Mark went with SO-CAL Speed Shop disc brakes, hidden inside Buick-style finned drums, while Charles utilized '40 Ford backing plates coupled with '38 Ford drums. Out back, a Ford 9-inch rearend hangs on Aldan coilovers under the Dearborn Deuce, while Charles' Brookville car rides on a '34 Ford banjo fitted with a stock transverse spring and '40 Ford backing plates with '36 Ford drums.
The drivetrain package for the two highboys, while both of Ford origin, are also distinctly different. Beneath the original '32 Ford hood on Charles' roadster sits a '47 Ford 239ci Flathead backed by a '37 Ford transmission. The Flattie is equipped with a pair of original Edelbrock block-script heads and dual Stromberg 48 carbs on an Edelbrock 2x2 Super intake manifold. Mark's Deuce, on the other hand, is slightly more contemporary, with a 351ci Ford Sportsman V-8 engine backed by a Tremec TKO-600 five-speed manual trans. A single Holley 670-cfm four-barrel carb feeds the engine through a Ford Racing Performance Parts intake manifold, and Holman Moody valve covers dress up the small-block.
When it came time to add some color to their respective rides, both opted for the venerable hot rod black, with PPG providing the material in both instances. Green Dayton Wire Wheels offset the color on Mark's car, while the matching wheels on Charles' roadster add to the black-on-black effect. And, like the paint scheme, the interiors of both hot rods are similar but distinct. Mark had matching green leather stretched and stitched over a modified Wise Guys bench seat, while Charles modified a rear seat from a '34 Ford four-door sedan before pulling a hide of oxblood leather over it.
Both cars were upholstered in a traditional tuck 'n' roll manner, from the seat to the kick panels. Juliano's steering components were used in Mark's car, while an original '32 Ford column topped with a 17-inch Bell Auto Parts steering wheel was installed in Charles' hot rod. The dash panels on both cars are decidedly hot rod, with the Franklin roadster remaining low-key with a simple stock insert plugged with a trio of vintage Stewart Warner gauges, while the Trostle car has a set of Classic Instruments gauges set into a Knecht gauge panel. Vintage Air climate controls rest under the dash on Mark's convertible, while the stock cowl vent is the only sort of creature comfort found on Charles' roadster.
In a side-by-side comparison of these two highboy hot rods, it seems they share quite a bit of similarities; when the specs are perused and the cars broken down, it becomes apparent they are actually more different than alike. These are two cars built in the 21st century to look like those from the years directly following the big war, using both new and old components alike. If that doesn't put the current state of our hobby in a nutshell, I don't know what does.
Now in reproduction, the Vintage...
Now in reproduction, the Vintage V-8 roadster boasts an original set of much sought-after block-script Edelbrock heads.
An N.O.S. 17-inch Bell Auto...
An N.O.S. 17-inch Bell Auto Parts steering wheel holds court in the roadster's confined cockpit, attached to an original '32 Ford column with functioning headlight controls and ignition switch.
A trio of vintage Stewart...
A trio of vintage Stewart Warner gauges fills the original roadster gauge insert.
The '34 Ford four-door sedan...
The '34 Ford four-door sedan seat was bolted to a set of sliding seat tracks from Speedway Motors before being covered by Carol Knapp in oxblood leather in a tuck 'n' roll pattern.
N.O.S. vintage Firestone Ascot...
N.O.S. vintage Firestone Ascot racing tires are mounted to '38 Ford 18-inch accessory wheels with '38 caps.
Austin Healy taillights flank...
Austin Healy taillights flank a '32 license plate.
Mark's Deuce is Ford-powered,...
Mark's Deuce is Ford-powered, as well, but is slightly more contemporary in nature, with such modern amenities as air conditioning, an alternator, and an electric fan. Polished aluminum dress-up goodies include Holman Moody valve covers and an O'Brien Truckers air cleaner.
The '32 dash received an Auburn-style...
The '32 dash received an Auburn-style gauge panel, courtesy of Knecht Equipment Co., and was filled with Classic Instruments gauges. A Juliano's Banjo steering wheel and column fit the vintage-themed interior perfectly.
SO-CAL Speed Shop hidden disc...
SO-CAL Speed Shop hidden disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power while retaining a vintage look, as do the other aftermarket items on the frontend-from the Super Bell dropped axle to the Pete & Jake's shocks to the monoleaf transverse spring. Original Guide headlights mount on a chromed stand that doubles as an upper shock mount.
The green leather upholstery...
The green leather upholstery was stitched up by Scott Clampet at American Speed Company over a modified Wise Guys bench seat. The rest of the panels were custom-fabricated to fit the Dearborn's dimensions.
One of the neat features of...
One of the neat features of the Dearborn Deuce body is its side door glass that completely seals the cockpit when the top is up.
Out back, a Tanks Inc. reproduction...
Out back, a Tanks Inc. reproduction gas tank mounts between the capped rear framehorns below the pair of '39 Ford taillights, Michigan '32 plate, and license plate frame Mark's father had since the 1950s.
Dayton Triple Lace wire wheels...
Dayton Triple Lace wire wheels are shod in Dunlop vintage racing bias-ply rubber at all four corners, with 15x6s up front and 17x7s out back.
Facts & Figures
1932 Ford roadster
|Frame / Manufacturer ||'32 Ford |
|Wheelbase ||106" |
|Modifications ||boxed front framerails, lowered front crossmember 1 5/8" |
|Rearend / Ratio ||'34 Ford / 4.11:1 |
|Rear suspension ||'34 Ford radius rods, un-split; transverse spring w/ rolled eyes & 2" de-arch; '32 Ford shocks |
|Rear brakes ||'40 Ford backing plates w/ '36 Ford drums |
|Front suspension ||drilled '32 Ford heavy axle; unsplit '32 Ford radius rods; transverse spring w/ rolled eyes & 2" de-arch; '32 Ford shocks |
|Front brakes ||'40 Ford backing plates w/ '38 Ford drums |
|Master cylinder ||'39 Ford |
|Steering box ||'32 box machined for needle bearings & seal |
|Wheel covers ||'38 Ford |
|Front wheel make, size ||'38 Ford, 16x3 5/8" |
|Rear wheel make, size ||'38 Ford, 18x3 5/8" |
|Front tire make, size ||Firestone, 450x16" |
|Rear tire make, size ||Firestone Ascot, 700x18 |
|Gas tank ||'32 Ford modified to accept Stewart Warner (Lancaster, PA) sender |
|Make ||'47 Ford |
|Displacement ||239 ci |
|Machining / Assembly ||Vintage V8 Restoration (Orange, CA) |
|Water pump ||59AB w/ motor mount tabs removed |
|Cooling fan ||'46 Passenger |
|Radiator ||'32 Ford V-8 |
|Alternator ||'47 Ford converted to 12V |
|Heads ||Edelbrock (Torrance, CA) |
|Manifold / Induction ||Edelbrock 2x2 Super / Stromberg 48s |
|Ignition ||'47 Ford |
|Exhaust / Mufflers ||1 ¾" / 20" glasspacks |
|Make ||'37 Ford |
|Clutch disc ||11" Ford truck |
|Shifter ||modified original |
|Driveshaft ||shortened '34 Ford |
|Body style / Material ||'32 Ford roadster / steel |
|Body manufacturer ||Brookville Roadster (Brookville, OH) |
|Body mods ||shaved door handles |
|Hood ||'32 Ford |
|Grille ||Vintique Inc. (Orange, CA) |
|Bodywork ||Vintage V8 Restoration |
|Paint type / Color ||PPG / Black |
|Painter ||Joe Morisette (Orange, CA) |
|Headlights / Taillights ||Guide / Austin Healy |
|Other body items ||'32 Ford windshield chopped 3" |
|Dashboard ||'32 Ford roadster |
|Insert / Gauges ||'32 Ford / Stewart Warner |
|Wiring ||canvas by Vintage V8 Restoration |
|Steering wheel ||17" Bell Auto Parts |
|Steering column ||'32 Ford |
|Seats ||'34 Ford four-door sedan mounted on sliding seat tracks from Speedway Motors (Lincoln, NE) |
|Upholsterer ||Carol Knapp (Whittier, CA) |
|Material / Color ||leather / oxblood |
|Carpet ||black wool w/ oxblood piping |
Facts & Figures
D. Mark Trostle
1932 Ford Dearborn Deuce
|Frame / Manufacturer ||Lobeck's Hot Rod Parts (Cleveland, OH) |
|Wheelbase ||106" |
|Modifications ||shortened & thinned framehorns; capped rear horns |
|Chassis plumbing ||stainless steel |
|Rearend / Ratio ||9" Ford / 3.70:1 |
|Rear suspension ||Aldan (Carson, CA) coilover shocks |
|Rear brakes ||Ford drum |
|Front suspension ||Super Bell (Peculiar, MO) axle, transverse monoleaf spring & hairpins |
|Front brakes ||SO-CAL Speed Shop (Pomona, CA) Buick drum-style hidden disc |
|Master cylinder ||GM power |
|Steering box ||Flaming River Industries (Berea, OH) Vega |
|Wheel covers ||Dayton Wire Wheel (Dayton, OH) knock-offs |
|Front wheel make, size ||Dayton Wire Wheel Triple Lace, 15x6" |
|Rear wheel make, size ||Dayton Wire Wheel Triple Lace, 17x7" |
|Front tire make, size ||Dunlop Racing, 5.50x15" |
|Rear tire make, size ||Dunlop Racing, 7.00x17" |
|Gas tank ||Tanks Inc. (Clearwater, MN) |
|Other chassis items ||notched front & C'd rear |
|Make ||Ford |
|Displacement ||351 ci |
|Machining / Assembly ||by John Vermeersch (Detroit, MI) |
|Camshaft ||Ford Racing Performance Parts |
|Cooling fan ||SPAL 2,500 cfm |
|Radiator ||Walker Radiator Works (Memphis, TN) |
|Heads ||Ford SVO aluminum |
|Valve covers ||Holman Moody (Charlotte, NC) |
|Manifold / Induction ||Ford Racing Performance Parts / Holley (Bowling Green, KY) Avenger 670-cfm |
|Ignition ||Mallory Ignition (Cleveland, OH) Unilite |
|Headers ||Sanderson Headers (S. San Francisco, CA) |
|Exhaust / Mufflers ||stainless / Flowmaster (Santa Rosa, CA) Hushpower |
|Make ||Tremec TKO-600 |
|Clutch disc ||Centerforce (Prescott, AZ) clutch |
|Shifter ||Lokar Performance Products (Knoxville, TN) 12" |
|Body style / Material ||convertible / steel |
|Body manufacturer ||Dearborn Deuce (Branford, CT) |
|Body mods ||grille & hood line dropped 1", rolled rear pan |
|Hood ||Rootlieb (Turlock, CA) |
|Grille ||Brookville Roadster (Brookville, OH) |
|Bodywork ||American Speed Company (Plymouth, MI) |
|Paint type / Color ||PPG / Black |
|Painter ||American Speed Company |
|Graphics ||Gibb |
|Headlights / Taillights ||Guide / '39 Ford |
|Outside mirror ||SO-CAL Speed Shop swan neck |
|Other body items ||chrome by Finney Plating (Detroit, MI) |
|Dashboard ||'32 Ford |
|Insert / Gauges ||Knecht Equipment Co. (Arlington, TX) / Classic Instruments (Boyne City, MI) |
|Air conditioning ||Vintage Air (San Antonio, TX) Mini Gen II |
|Wiring ||American Autowire (Bellmawr, NJ) |
|Steering wheel ||Juliano's Hot Rod Parts & Interior Products (Ellington, CT) |
|Steering column ||Juliano's Hot Rod Parts & Interior Products |
|Seats ||modified Wise Guys (Elkhart, IN) bench seat |
|Upholsterer ||Scott Clampet, American Speed Company |
|Material / Color ||leather / green |
|Carpet ||black, Bill Hirsch Mercedes-Benz |