For 75-plus years, the `32 Ford has served as a hot rodder's palette--a mobile canvas allowing rodders to create their own drivable work of art. Build styles include stock, traditional, and contemporary as well as a blend that, when finished, the car's lines that were once readily visible are at times cleverly disguised (and sometimes not so cleverly!).
Many variations designed and built over the years have stood out and withstood the test of time. Each of us can name our favorites and for all of the "right" reasons. The guys on the East Coast have their favorites, often competing with the Left Coast as to who has the most bitchin' ride.
Many of the ideas of young enthusiasts from the past have been immortalized and kept alive by building what we now call "tribute cars." These use the styling cues and ideas of the past to bring back the feeling of an era gone by. Many add modern components that enhance safety and ride quality that were not available when the cars were originally welded together. Current trends run from crudely-built incarnations that are wildly chopped, channeled, and barely drivable, to cars that, to the entire world, look like they just came back from the dry lakes but they have all the comforts of a modern car. Some of the original cars are being uncovered from under piles of boxes and old blankets, and pulled from dusty corners of old garages and shops, having not seen daylight for many a moon.
These trends are driven by many different reasons. Some come from the youth who like what they see in the old magazines. Some remember growing up with a dad who was there in the day. Others are still carrying the banner of the good times they had as a teenager.
A '56 Oldsmobile V-8 was slid...
A '56 Oldsmobile V-8 was slid behind that Gennie Deuce grille, looking as though it was meant to be. The original air cleaner was customized.
Mike Thompson falls somewhere in the middle as he had the good fortune to have a dad who is a hot rodder. Mike caught the bug at a young age and still works on hot rods with his dad. Thanks to George Lucas and the Milner coupe, Mike had become addicted to this unique hobby. One day he was driving along on the information highway when he spotted a car for sale. As is often the case, Mike and the car of his dreams were geographically undesirable to one another; the car was eastern Canada and Mike was 3,000 miles to the West in Washington. He had told himself to never buy sight unseen, but the seller was very forthcoming with all the necessary info and a ton of photos.
He was drawn to the car not only because of the 2-inch chop and Olds running gear, but also for the time period it represented. Mike developed a passion for traditional hot rods, and he felt this one told a story that denotes a period of time when a hot rod was the thing to have.
To fund his Deuce coupe Mike parted with two Model A Fords. The car arrived after its coast-to-coast ride and, as expected, a bit rough and mocked together to sell. The 324-inch '56 Oldsmobile Rocket engine and Jetaway Hydra-Matic transmission had seen better days. But it was Ford steel and just what he wanted to make his own, and he wanted to bring the car back to its former luster.
The 1950s East Coast look was very appealing to Mike, and the plan was to reflect this in the final build. He used a stock '32 Ford front axle with an original buggy-type spring then removed two leaves and reversed the eyes to get the nose down. A set of '36 Ford wishbones were turned upside down, split, heated, and bent to clear the Olds powerplant and hold the spring in place. The shocks are early friction-type that Mike had chrome plated. Forward braking is a compilation of `48 Ford brakes with chromed backing plates and Buick drums.