Rolling off the production line for the first time in Dearborn, Michigan, the impact the 1932 Ford V8 would create on a subculture known as hot rodding in California would not be fully recognised until decades later as it spawned a billion dollar industry for aftermarket speed parts. Companies such as American hot rod, Outlaw Speed, Fast lane speed shop and So-Cal just to name a few have looked favourably upon the 32 coupe as their bread and butter when it comes to sales of aftermarket parts.
Eighty three years on, there’s probably more 1932 Fords on this globe than were ever originally produced yet every one of them that has received the hot rod treatment is as unique as its owner and can be looked upon as an extension of their personality.
Mario’s baby blue three window coupe, while following the traditional styles of the sixties hot rodding era, has embraced the craftsmanship found in today’s aftermarket catalogues while still retaining the old school rules. Was this a childhood dream of Mario’s to own a hot-rod? “Not really, I had three Chevs originally. I have the 57 Hardtop and while I was building that one, I bought a sedan as a daily driver and I also had a 55that needed full restoration. I thought “why do I want three Chevs?” so I got rid of the 55 and that’s why I went to a hot-rod, something different than the Chevs. My wife Lynette wanted a Tudor but it wasn’t the style I was after so I went this way with the dickie seat in a coupe.” “Once I started looking around, I knew I wanted a thirty two in traditional style and from day one, it was supposed to be a simple build. It wasn’t supposed to be as glossy as this, it was to be a bit more of a rat style rod. Because I’m so particular with the Chev, I wanted this to be the car to not worry about and have fun. Once I started, I found I just couldn’t build a rough car, I just couldn’t do it”
Hunting around, he came across a So-Cal chassis and Deuce Customs body up for sale that was to be someone else’s traditional rod. Mario saw the potential for a great starting block to build on and the price was right so he jumped on it. “I wasn’t supposed to buy this car until I sold the 55. I went and looked at the body and chassis and thought “I’m gonna save money by buying them both together” so I went ahead and bought it and while I was driving home that day, could you believe someone rang and asked to see the 55 chev that I had for sale. They came out that afternoon and bought it. It worked out perfectly for me!”
Knowing in his mind what he wanted, Mario took it back to Deuce Customs to have the dickie seat and cowl added in for that classic rod look. A friend offered him a set of hinges which would allow for the screen to open.”I liked the idea but was unsure about how to fit them, I ummed and erred because I didn’t know how to do it, I’d never built a hot rod before. I looked around at other rods to see how the hinges worked, I spoke to Deuce customs who talked me through it and afterwards I sat there and worked it out. I’m rapped I did it and I love it. It’s one thing I really love about the car!”
Slotting in a V8 was mandatory but going the 350/350 path wasn’t. Mario opted for a 307 Chev unit beefed up by a 350 crank mated to a T700. Good friend, Noel Ingrim, who most would know by his 1928 black t bucket aptly named Tall T built the motor for Mario and helped him set up the triple 97s to run sweet on the street. The exhaust is a homebuilt item from the extractors using mandrel bent tubing creating the 2 1/2 to 2 1/4 inch system himself. Down back, the 3.7:1 ratio nine inch puts the power out nicely via an LSD steel centre and billet axles through to the old school cross ply Firestones on 16 inch steelies dressed with reproduced Ford caps.
Classic chrome hairpin rods up front with a ladder bar set up on the rear hold everything in place while XF drums and aftermarket discs dressed with reproduction So-Cal covers allow the lightweight deuce to stop.
That sixties old school rodding theme can be found throughout the interior as well from the contrasting red tuck n roll interior which was a must on Mario’s wish list through to the perforated white vinyl headlining and piping. An aftermarket 1940s column and wheel create that hard line style while So-Cal gauges fill the baby blue dash. “I like the So-Cal product” says Mario “It (the rod) has got a lot of So-Cal on it as you can see.” The more unique details of the interior and testimony to Mario’s tastes are the 57 Chev handles and winders as well as the old drive-in speaker covers. Pat Mesiti from Sunshine Motor Trimmers who expertly stitched the interior came up with the idea. “I had them at home and the trimmer, Pat said they’d look good as speaker covers. I painted and polished them and Pat put them in.” The rest of the stereo is tucked away out of sight.
The three year build was completed by adding the Pontiac rear taillights, dropped headlights and replacement of the traditional Ford badge atop the grill with what else but a So-Cal badge! I saw it on a car and I thought “that looks better than a Ford badge, for me anyway!” so I hunted one down.” While Mario’s wife might attest to preferring the 57 for cruising on long trips due to extra leg room, his boys who helped in the build reckon the rod’s cool and it’s not leaving the family in a hurry. Mario even lets his wife drive it from time to time and that’s how the bug bites as we all know.
My wife Lynette for her patience, support and ideas
My boys Caleb and Lachlan for their help and motivation
Noel Ingrim from Aus Den
Pat Mesiti From Sunshine motor Triming