It's hard to imagine that there has been a '32 Ford highboy sedan built in the last 27 years that doesn't take some trace of influence, directly or indirectly, from the famous Eastwood & Barakat sedan from 1982. Eastwood built the chassis and Barakat built the engine. Together, they finished the car in not much time and for not much money, using stuff from their garages, plus lots of talent and taste.
Maybe you're old enough to remember when that red primered Tudor showed up on the cover of Hot Rod magazine's November '82 issue (the first primered rod to make it). The car was so remarkable in its time that HR Editor Leonard Emanuelson dedicated his entire editorial column to Pete "P-wood" "Eastwood and Rick "Bearcat" Barakat's ground-breaking sedan, which he described using the words "rawness" and "savagery," calling it "more animal than car," stating that it represents "what hot rodding was all about in the beginning," and admitting that it inspired his own plans for a hot rod project. Gray Baskerville continued the laudation in his feature story inside the magazine, calling it the "12-week wonder" and "the world's fastest rusto rod."
If you're not old enough to remember all that, you can probably still appreciate the coolness of the car, but might be scratching your head as to why it caused such a big commotion. The answer is that in 1982, building a low-buck, primered, traditional hot rod using parts out of the garage (which is what Eastwood & Barakat did), wasn't what a lot of rodders were doing. Earlier that same year, Jamie Musselman's '33 roadster won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award, making Boyd Coddington a household name, which helped establish the smooth, high-tech, contemporary style that would be prominent for the next dozen or more years. That's why a homebuilt, flat-finished, 11-second budget bomber had people staring in slack-jawed astonishment. The fact that the sedan vanished not long after it appeared only added to it's legendary status. It's equally hard to imagine that Eastwood & Barakat could have possibly predicted that the car they put together cheap and quick would one day be called one of the "75 Most Significant '32 Fords Of All Time" and the inspiration for so many other hot rods, including the one you're looking at right now.
Bill Paul is friends with Jason and Jerry Slover at Pete and Jakes Hot Rod Parts in Peculiar, Missouri, and first saw photos of the original E&B sedan-smoking its enormous rear tires-on the cover of the P&J catalog.
"It screamed hot rod," Bill remembers. And it compelled him to build a tribute. Nota replica-a tribute. Bill wasn't trying to do what Eastwood & Barakat already did, but to do what Eastwood & Barakat might do if they were building the same sedan today, using easily available and affordable parts and technology.
The project started in 2004 with an original steel body. Instead of keeping the buggy spring rear suspension, which would mimic the suspension on the E&B sedan, Bill called the Slovers and ordered a P&J 3100-series '32 Ford chassis package, including fully boxed 'rails with a tubular X-member, a 4-inch drop I beam, hairpins, performance ladder bars, and Viper rear coilovers.
Like the E&B car, Bill's sedan runs a Chevy small-block mill, but unlike the 355 Rick Barakat built in '82, Bill stepped up to a 434ci Dart Little M block with SB2 aluminum heads. Matt Driskell at Driskell Enterprises did the machining and assembly on the engine, dyno'd at 711 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque.
Ron Kesler got to work on the exterior steel, slicing 2 inches off the top (less than the 3-inch chop on the E&B car). A Rootlieb steel hood and Brookville grille with a Vintique insert were part of the rebuild. Jeff Wilson's primer job and the bright orange paint on the chassis evoke the look of the old sedan that the new one is meant to honor. Bob Bond's lettering, modeled after the original Eastwood & Barakat graphics, completes the homage.
Barakat's small-block was...
Barakat's small-block was a low-buck hot rod piece, maybe with a crack or two. Not likely with the 711-horse 434 Dart Little M pulling Bill's sedan. The air cleaner is owner built. Water flow was reversed, using an electric water pump under the passenger side motor mount to cool the heads first; it never runs hot, even when idling for extended periods.
"I tried to keep the interior...
"I tried to keep the interior simple since E&B had basically none," Bill said. This was put together to get it to Indy, but it has since gone back to Bob Schumacher at Vintage Fabrications for an upholstery upgrade on the Wise Guys buckets, plus headliner, floormats, and other modifications.
The Pete and Jakes and Superbell...
The Pete and Jakes and Superbell sedan wears the minimal gloss finish that the E&B sedan, but not many others, wore in the early '80s.
Not gone and not forgotten,...
Not gone and not forgotten, it was exciting to see the current incarnation of the original Eastwood & Barakat sedan at the GNRS in 2007. We're glad Bill built his following the "once-was" '80s look of this Deuce-the car that may have inspired the whole traditional hot rod revival.
The whole point of the chassis...
The whole point of the chassis build was to keep it (reasonably) low-buck and (relatively) bolt-on. P&Js' components are off the shelf, but can pull the driver side front tire off the pavement.