One Piece at a Time....MY 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup

About 9 years ago I began to think about building another car, well I thought that I really wanted to have a ’32 Ford Roadster and since a nice roadster was a lot more expensive to purchase, I thought maybe I could build my own.  I had never built a car literally from the ground up.  I did a ground up restoration on my ’36 Cabriolet and if you saw what I started with you would probably shudder at the thought of doing a concourse restoration on the parts car that I brought home from California.  Now it wasn’t exactly like those perfect California cars that we all hear about, it was just the opposite.  The restoration turned out well and I won a Dearborn Award with 6 Medallions, Dearborn Emeritus and several Touring A awards as well.


When I decided to build a ’32, it couldn’t be all that difficult, RIGHT!  My project began with an original ’32 frame from a Model B Roadster and title.  That’s all I had to start with.  I didn’t have an idea of what model I would be building so I started acquiring parts either from my own parts stash or from Cascade and Puget Sound Regional Group members, swap meets, V8 vendors and when necessary I called on my friends for help in the search.


This project didn’t start out by acquiring all the right parts and preassembling them to insure that everything would fit.  NOPE!  I did it the wrong way in that I would have parts of the project restored and upon assembly we discovered that some of the parts didn’t fit or would have to be modified to work.  So it meant reengineering and recoating or repainting them before they could be used on the project in its’ final configuration.

This project started as a bare frame and every part that has been acquired to build this 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup came from my spare parts in the garage or were found and restored/refurbished to build my idea of a ‘50’s 1932 Hotrod  “ONE PIECE AT A TIME”.  In the beginning, a 1932 Model B Roadster bare frame and title were acquired in February, 2010 from Puget Sound member Chuck Pickney.

Another Puget Sounder, Jim Hendry called me about 5 years ago and asked if I had a body for the ’32 that I was building and I said no I hadn’t ordered one Brookville yet.  Jim knew of a ’32 roadster pickup body and Model A bed that was available from the estate of a good friend who had passed away.  The following weekend, Jim and I went down to Ritzville and I bought it on the spot and Jim trailered it home to Puyallup for me.

After the body was painted and I did some assembly work at home, my best friend, Gary Lees (Cascader and new Puget Sounder) suggested that I bring the ’32 over to his place so that we could work on it.  We spent 3 ½ years working on the ’32 in Gary’s garage until it was completed last July.  Gary also built the motor, transmission, Columbia and wired the car.  If it weren’t for Gary, the car would still be in pieces today.

I remembered the Johnny Cash song, “One Piece at a Time” and that theme fit my Roadster Pickup perfectly as it describes how the car came to be.  Except that the parts didn’t come from a Cadillac Assembly Plant.

Engine: 1953 Mercury Flathead 265 Cubic Inches, 3 x 2 Barrel Stromberg Carburetors and an original 1936 Ford fuel pump

              Polished Navarro Aluminum heads and Intake manifold

              Harmon Collins Dual Coil Distributor and twin ’46 Ford Coils one for each head

              6-volt positive ground electrical system, relocated 6 volt battery under the bed

Transmission: Stock 1936 Ford

Rear-end: 1940 Ford w/3:78 gears, 1940 Columbia Two Speed Overdrive w/1936 controls. 

Steering: Stock 1932 Ford with 1934 steering gear and Steering wheel

Front Axle: Original 1932 axle that was dropped 4 ½ inches

Body:    1932 Brookville Body with an Original 1932 Firewall, Grill and Grill Shell.  Original 1936 Ford headlights and Original 1950 Lincoln taillights w/6-volt LED lights.

Dash:    Brookville  ’32 roadster dash with glove box.  Restored original ’32 Stewart-Warner speedometer with a custom gauge panel and ’50’s Stewart-Warner gauges

Bed:      Brookville Model A bed modified to mount to the Original 1932 Ford Frame, rolled rear pan with recessed license plate and ’50 Lincoln taillights.  The front of the bed was raised and curved to match the curvature of the cab.  Recessed ’32 gas tank access on the inside of bed.  Oak wood bed.

 Paint:    Centari base coat/clear coat – custom mixed red color and black with scallops

Interior:  Custom Crème Leather Upholstery with scalloped door panels and kick pads to match the exterior paint design. Upholstery designed and stitched by Darion Gross at Burien Upholstery, Burien, WA. 1932 Ford Seat Frame and Springs

Top:      Black Chopped Top, Bows and Headliner Manufactured by Rod Tops

Tires and Wheels: Original 1936 Ford Wide 5 wheels that were disassembled and chrome plated. Firestone front tires, bias ply 4:75 x 16 and either 7:50 x 16 or 8:90 x 16 rear tires.  Hubcaps are original 1936 Ford Deluxe Spyder caps.

Gary Lees 1934 Ford - the Restoration!

34 Ford side view (3).jpg

In 2012....

...after 10 or 12 years of mostly setting in the garage due to old tires and cracks in the fender beads, it was decided to give the 34 a proper restoration. In May of 2012 the car was completely disassembled down to the last bolt and nut. Today the car still has all of its original sheet metal, which has been professionally repaired and repainted.

34 Ford Engine.jpg

Now it purrs....

It has a 47 Mercury motor with a later 4 inch stroke Mercury crankshaft, high performance camshaft, aluminum heads and three Stromberg carburetors.

1934 Ford conversion.jpg

But wait! there's more...

....the transmission is from a 39 Ford and the rear end is a two speed Columbia overdrive. The new wheels are 16 inch Kelsey Hayes with Lester wide whitewalls.

Gary Lees' 1934 Ford 5 window coupe - The Find!

Car was abandoned in the mid 50’s, after being damaged, in an apple ranch near Entiat, WA. The car survived kids playing in it and numerous requests to purchase it, mostly by people wanting to turn it into a stock car. In the mid 70’s, the ranch owner’s son, after returning from a tour in the navy, moved the car to Moses Lake, where he restored the car to running condition. In 1985 I answered an ad in the Piston and Rudder magazine, drove over to Moses Lake and made an offer on the car which was turned down. I returned home and continued looking for an early Ford V8. About two weeks later I received a phone call that he would accept my offer. A friend offered to take his van and car trailer over and pick it up. Which we did. Good thing, I hadn’t driven the car and found out the brakes only worked on one wheel, it over heated and the generator wasn’t working. After some repair work to make the car safe and reliable we drove it on several trips to California and many local car tours.

34 Ford.jpg