Just the Facts
Owner: Wade Keith
There are many reasons why anyone would want to build a hot rod—probably about as many as there are hot rodders! Wade Keith, a 40-year-old rodder living in Texas already has a foothold in the rodding world. Keen-eyed readers of STREET RODDER will probably remember the story on his 1930 Ford roadster, nicknamed "The Normandy Car", that appeared in the May 2009 issue of the magazine (so named to honor the World War II vet who was killed in action in 1942 before completing it).
Being a family car, special attention was paid to the seating, which was created at Kiwi K
The roadster was equipped with a 392 Hemi and, as it happened, Wade has since found another 392 engine on Craigslist to purchase—one that had once sat up front in an old quarter-mile dragster. But a Model A roadster isn't much of a family car and Wade, his wife, Janell, and two children, wanted something that could transport the entire family in on their outings. So the search for a sedan was on. He contacted the same person who helped him build the Normandy roadster: Steve Dennish at LimeWorks Speed Shop in Whittier, California.
LimeWorks has been in business since 1994 (located in a 1940s-era auto parts store) and it has continually expanded its own line of traditional-inspired hot rod parts as well as build cars for customers. Because of this, folks are always asking Dennish if he knows where to find vintage parts, especially hard-to-find ones.
It just so happened just a week after Wade put in his request to look for a sedan that Dennish got a call from a guy in SoCal who wanted to sell one—a 1932 Ford. In very good shape and rust free, the only potential downside was it was a four-door. It seems people have never really considered four-door vehicles good candidates for rod building and, especially when it came to the 1932 Ford, would usually removed a Fordor body, then pop a roadster on its more desirable chassis and drivetrain combo and be done with it.
Using a 1940 Ford dash in the car was Janell Keith’s idea. And though using a vintage Pors
Wade purchased the car and had it shipped to LimeWorks, and Dennish then set about taking a set of photographs of the 1932, to which he applied a Photochop—cutting the pictures apart to better visualize the amount of chop needed. Said and done, Dennish and LimeWorks' Kerry Burch ended up taking 2-1/2 inches out of the posts and leaning the A-posts and windshield back less than an inch to get the right profile.
The 1932 chassis looks fairly traditional, but is now boxed and equipped with a Model A crossmember and a new K-member. Set up with a stock wheelbase of 106 inches, the chassis uses a Currie 9-inch rear (3.73:1) located with coilover shocks and Jitney Jake ladder bars, while up front you'll find SO-CAL Speed Shop hairpins, a Chassis Engineering spring, and a modified I-beam axle from Chassis Engineering (Dennish drilled the axle himself). Whoa comes from 11-inch drums out back and a set of real Buick finned drums up front, assembled with Wilson Welding and Machine finned backing plates. An F-100 steering box went in, which connects to a LimeWorks steering column, and Halibrand wheels (15x4.5 and 15x8) are shod in Hurst rubber front and rear (26x4.5 and 31x10.5).
The aforementioned 1958 Hemi dragster motor was machined and assembled by Taylor Engine Rebuilding located in Brea, California. Innards of the 392 include a 4-inch stroke steel crank, Wiseco flat-top 4.06 pistons, Eagle H-beam rods, and an Isky roller camshaft. Chrysler 331 heads are equipped with REC 2.10 and 1.80 valves, Rally Enterprises billet roller rockers, and topped with a set of valve covers from Hot Heads. Induction used to be in the form of an Enderle eight-port injection system, but that was changed to a Hilborn four-port setup and a BDS 6:71 blower. LimeWorks made their own header system for the Hemi, and Morrow Transmission in Pearland, Texas, prepped the TH400 transmission that's outfitted with a TCI Automotive converter and a manual shift valvebody.
The car also incorporates a unique gas delivery system designed by Dennish. Out back and in its stock location, a 1932 gas tank has its fuel extracted via an electric pump, which feeds a Moon tank located in front of the grille. Dennish developed a float valve system to fit inside the Moon tank, from which fuel is then removed via the Hilborn mechanical pump, so the total capacity to the system is around 25 gallons.
Once the bodywork was completed, the Deuce was delivered to Bob Cole of Cole Automotive in Long Beach, California, who used PPG products to cover the 1932 in deep black paint. The car was reassembled at LimeWorks, where they added Arrow headlights, 1937 Ford taillights, a set of their own spreaders bars, and a polished stainless steel firewall cover.
Once used in a front-engine dragster, the 1958 Chrysler Hemi was assembled by Taylor Engin
To finish up the exterior, the 1932 was hauled around the corner from LimeWorks to Dennis Jones, a pinstriper who has been laying down the fine line since the 1960s. Jones is also an expert at gold and silver leaf and foils, and added the "Higher Power" graphics to the rear of Wade's ride.
Inside the four-door you'll find a 1940 Ford dash (which was Janell's idea) that has been outfitted with Mooneyes gauges, and a Porsche 356 steering wheel (modified by LimeWorks) bolted to one of their 1940 steering columns. There is no A/C system in the car, though Dynamat insulation was installed before Kiwi Kustom (Riverside, CA) laid out the Argentine leather, whose color could be best described as Burnt Sienna. Kiwi Kustom also created the framework of the Ford's pleated seating, allowing for a comfortable ride for the entire Keith clan.
Now that the project has been finished, Wade and his family are out cruising in their latest ride, rolling up the miles on what they call the "ultimate family hot rod". But that car will probably have to compete with the next car Wade has talked about building: a 1957 two-door Bel Air he owns. You can never have too much of a good thing, right?
Out back, Halibrand 15x8 wheels are wrapped in Hurst 31x10.5x15 pie-crust rubber.
The taillights on the sedan are 1937 Ford, tucked in close to the body.
Not a decoration, the Moon tank up front only holds a portion of the 25-gallon capacity th