When designing and building high-end hot rods, roadster pickups generally don't fall into the mix. But then how can you go wrong with anything as iconic as the Deuce? Don Smith from Mansfield, Texas, is no newcomer to hot rods (two- or four-wheel variety, as he's the owner of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership) and especially '32 Fords. He owns all models of the '32 save one, so to him a '32 Ford roadster pickup to finish the collection was a natural selection.
Obtaining one of Henry's gennie steel models proved to be the easy part-it came from a friend. Now for the fun-and effort. First, a little more on the truck's early years; as with so many hot rods the "behind the scenes" story is often as entertaining as the final presentation. As already written, Don has all models of the '32 with the exception of the '32 roadster pickup. His open-air Deuce pick-me-up spent a goodly portion of its "youth" as a work truck driven around Pomona, California, as the shop truck for High Grade Plating. It's here our pickup became transoceanic with a boat ride to Sweden where it spent many years.
The H&H Flathead sports 296 inches producing 300 hp at 5,200 rpm from a polished vintage S
In an interesting twist, the truck was placed back on a boat and ended up back in the States and in Texas and eventually under the watchful eye of Jim Jard (another hot rodder with an interesting track record) of Houston. Jard and Don are friends and when Don began searching in earnest for a '32 roadster pickup Jard was there to help him reach his goal. The roadster pickup moved from a garage in Houston to a garage in Mansfield only to end up at the beach, well, Beach City, Texas, and the shop of Roy Pigford, a longtime builder of many an award-winning hot rod.
The idea of building a special '32 roadster pickup is one thing but ending up with a hot rod that will stand among other well-executed topflight examples of hot rodding-well, that's something else. With this goal in mind, Don and Pigford put their considerable talents together and began. Our first chance to see the '32 Ford roadster pickup was at the Grand National Roadster Show this past winter as it was in contention for America's Most Beautiful Roadster.
A pair of Stromberg 97s fitted with custom stacks and screens rest on top of the S.Co.T. b
As with all builds, as good a place as any to start is the foundation, and in this case the original '32 pickup frame was retained and then boxed and notched at the firewall. This improves the hood and fender's relationship, giving the "downhill" look. The '32 frame was then fitted with a Pete & Jakes (Peculiar, Missouri) center crossmember, Model A front crossmember, and Posies (Hummelstown, Pennsylvania) semi-elliptical rear springs. The rear suspension is based on a fully polished Winters Performance Products (York, Pennsylvania) quick-change outfitted with a limited-slip differential, 4.11 gears, and painted axle housings with Dutchman (Portland, Oregon) axles held in place with Pete & Jakes ladder bars and shocks. Rear braking comes by way of finned Buick drums via Wilson Welding (Flower Mound, Texas).
Up front, a Super Bell (Peculiar) 4-inch drop I-beam axle with buggy spring, P&J shocks and Panhard bar, Wilson Welding finned drum brakes, with Vega steering through a LimeWorks (Whittier, California) steering column and a white finish four-spoke wheel. The brakes are operated through a P&J pedal assembly and a Wilwood (Camarillo, California) master cylinder. All that braking slows down old-time Firestone rubber mounted to one-off custom wheels (16s in front and 18s in back) by Mike Curtis found at the corners.
Polished vintage Navarro heads really help with the old-time speed parts look.
Polished Wilson Welding finned Buick drum brakes (note drilled backing plate) attach to a
The bed wood is a long way from stock and it is probably a good idea as the fresh light co
Roy Pigford's custom nerf bars reside front and rear; note the frenched license plate.
Molded taillights come by way of a '39 Chevy.
LimeWorks supplied both the four-spoke wheel (wrapped in pearl white leather) that rests o
The shifter is topped with a gold-colored glass ball handle.
Moving the pickup down the road is a 296-inch Ford Flathead having undergone a thorough going over by H&H Flatheads (La Crescenta, California) pumping 300 hp at 5,200 rpm-both impressive numbers for a Flathead. H&H prepped the fully ground block while all the components are polished. Detail is the word of the day with loads of paint, plating, and polish to make this Flathead flat (no pun intended) sparkle. Unmistakable is the polished vintage S.Co.T. blower topped with a pair of Stromberg 97 carbs, custom stacks, and screens. Firing the fuel is an MSD (El Paso, Texas) ignition with Taylor (Grandview, Missouri) primary wires. Polished vintage Navarro heads beautifully accent the Flathead along with a Chevy 409 water pump and chrome-plated generator. Other cooling components include the SPAL (Ankeny, Iowa) electric fan and the Steve Long brass radiator. The custom exhaust system is based on polished stainless steel headers, an exhaust pipe, and mufflers all fabricated by Roy's Body Shop. Hooked to the Flathead is a Chevy S-10 five-speed with a McLeod (Placentia, California) clutch package operated by a custom shifter and P&J pedal.
The P&J pedal assembly is fitted with custom engine turned pads at Pigford's shop.
Pigford started the project with original sheetmetal but as is often the case, the work only begins at this point. The doors were rebuilt with new skins and wooden doorframes by Wood 'n' Carr (Long Beach, California). Other sheetmetal changes include a Rootlieb (Turlock, California) hood, Dan Fink Metalworks (Huntington Beach, California) grille, and stainless insert complete with "original" crank hole. The pan under the front grille was shortened at Pigford's and custom nerf bars were added to the front and rear. Sealed beams along with '39 Chevy taillights make up the lighting while all the electrical in the truck comes by way of Bob Mayes (Pasadena, Texas). The bed is shortened, note tire/wheel combo is centered in the wheelwell and features a roll pan. The sheetmetal and powertrain components were sprayed in PPG custom mix gold prepared by Paul Stoll of PPG. Pigford sprayed the color on while Rodney Hutcherson was instrumental in the color sanding and buffing. No small task for a hot rod being readied for AMBR competition. Bob Talton's (Pasadena, Texas) fine pinstriping runs along the body lines, bed, dash, and the top of the '32 grille shell. Other noteworthy efforts came from Jim Zeiger who handled the glass, while Sherm's Custom Plating (Sacramento, California) was responsible for all of the brightwork.
The '32 steel dash is fitted with '34 Plymouth insert and gauges rebuilt by Red Line.
The gold paint is striking but it is truly well accented by the pearl white leather interior stitched over custom diamond tuft seating and door panels; carpeting is a custom gold hue over plenty of Dynamat (Hamilton, Ohio) insulation. All this fine stitch work was aptly handled by Gabe Lopez (San Bernardino, California). The steel '32 dashboard is fitted with '34 Plymouth gauges rebuilt by Red Line.
Here's one '32 roadster pickup that has made the rounds, literally crossing the Atlantic Ocean-twice, working as a shop truck and a hot rod only to end up as a showstopper. Well, there you have it: One heck of a shop truck turned into as high a level hot rod as you will ever see.
Stock '32 framerails are the basis for this highly "tuned" chassis; fitted with a Pete & J
A Chevy S-10 five-speed trans complete with custom shifter is used behind the H&H Flathead
Pigford and his crew fabricated the polished stainless steel exhaust system; the rear cros
The polished Winters quick-change is fitted with painted axle housings that wrap around Du