Just the Facts
Owner: Rick Steffl
After decades of drag racing, Rick was eager to get into street rodding, but the act of buying a street rod turned into a three-year process. He first saw this 1932 roadster at an ISCA show in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He approached the owner, who wasn't interested in selling it. When the car was back at the following year's show, Rick asked again and got the same answer. The year after that, Rick's persistence wore down the guy. "The third time was a charm," he said.
After the long wait to attain the roadster, Rick was eager to start the build, but it took several more years to get the roadster built to the condition you see here. During those years it has been totally apart three times, received three engines, three different sets of wheels and tires, and several other changes in an effort to make it look exactly the way Rick wanted it.
Chassis modifications were also part of the rebuild, although keeping the stance was a priority. That distinctive look had been acquired at Barry Lobeck's shop in Cleveland years before Rick had ever seen the car. The chassis is built off of a Downs Industries frame, bobbed at the rear to fit the contours of the Downs fiberglass body. Ark Hot Rods in Worthington, Ohio, handled the frame mods. Pete & Jake's provided a Super Bell 4-inch dropped axle, spindles, shorty shocks, Panhard bar, reversed-eye spring, and hairpins for the frontend. At the other end of the 'rails, a Currie polished aluminum 9-inch spins 3.00 gears with a Yukon Dura Grip differential. Strange axles are located by a triangulated four-link with P&J Viper coilovers at the ends.
The ’40 Ford wheel is a 16-inch reproduction from LimeWorks.
Rick turned to Alan Johnson at Johnson's Hot Rod Shop in Gadsden, Alabama, for help with the body. The 'glass doors were shaved of handles and exterior hinges, and the decklid was smoothed. Hoosier Hoods created the 1932 steel four-piece hood. The repro Deuce grille is from Brookville. At the front, Rick added a pair of 1934 commercial headlights and a Moon tank and pressure pump to carry the retro hot rod theme—with a pair of 1939 taillights in the rear. Ron Sall Body Werx in Zeeland, Michigan, handled the final bodywork and sprayed the dark cherry maroon paint. The cockpit is covered by a Sid Chavers Bop Top, sized to fit the 2-inch windshield chop.
The tire and wheel combination continues the period theme. The 16-inch Team III Sebring wheels were customized with slightly larger holes just for Rick's roadster (making them true one-offs) and feature genuine knock-off hubs. Firestone tube-type piecrust bias-plies from Coker Tire measure 650-16 and 450/475-16. Braking is handled by a pair of rear drums and SO-CAL Speed Shop–concealed disc front brakes.
This Halibrand-style gas cap looks great on the upper deck. Reproductions are available fr
The stroker Chevy small-block was machined at Beech Performance and assembled by Ark Hot Rods. The balanced and blueprinted 383 runs 11.0:1 TRW pistons on Pink rods, a Crane, hydraulic roller cam, and World Product heads. A Holley 750 carb and Edelbrock intake keep it fed. At the other end, Sanderson headers route the exhaust to custom 3-inch pipes from Ark, with Flowmasters to muffle the volume just the right amount. The GM TH350 transmission is built with a TCI Automotive 2,800-rpm converter and a B&M shift kit, operated by a Lokar floor shifter.
Simplicity is the reason for the success of the interior design. Beige leather was selected for the door panels and Wise Guys bench seat. Harvey West at A Auto Upholstery in Columbus handled that job plus the maroon cut pile carpeting.
Rick says that the roadster is finally the way he wants it, nearly. He came to California in 2013 for the L.A. Roadsters Show where the car was given a prominent spot. We photographed it a few weeks later back on Rick's home turf in Columbus. He and his wife, Carolyn, will have the 1932 back in L.A. soon for this year's L.A. Roadsters Show. By then it will feature leather straps in place of the louvered hood sides, and a 3x2 induction setup on the small-block with finned vintage-style air cleaners—all part of Rick's pursuit of perfection.
A Southern California Timing Association dash emblem ties the Ohio-based roadster to the W
Josh Shaw in Cincinnati contributed some impressive pinstriping to the decklid’s dark cher
The Classic Instruments tach hangs off a LimeWorks steering column.