Building a traditional car is easier, more fun, and more practical than building a high-tech car. This is from a guy who has built a slew of high-tech cars in his lifetime. The rods Mike Goldman is used to building professionally at his shop are top-dollar, attention-getting restorations and show cars. Many have been award winners, and a couple were R&C 100 Best honorees. However, after a while Mike was eager to step up to something simpler. A Deuce three-window seemed like a natural choice of body style, and late-'50s traditional seemed like the right theme for accomplishing the mission.
Most projects start with a body or an engine or a frame or some combination of the three. Mike says this project actually started with pair of headlights. A customer brought a '31 Plymouth into the shop, Mike Goldman Customs in Meridian, Mississippi, for a restoration. The original headlights had been replaced by smaller Diamond Rio lights during the '50s. After restoring stock lights, Mike got to keep the Diamond Rios, which ultimately turned into this coupe.
Mike got a lot of help along the way from his son. Although still a teenager, Talbert Goldman pretty much grew up around his dad's shop and has already owned some impressive rides (including a red '48 Stude pickup featured on the cover of Classic Trucks when he was only 15). Talbert did much of the framework on the coupe including painting, working on the body, and painting the engine, which turned out so well that Mike kept the coupe hoodless to show off the sweet-looking mill. The 350 small-block is dressed up with just enough chrome and the right amount of red, especially on the finned Mooneyes valve covers and Cadillac-style air cleaner from Bitchin' Products.
The coupe was just finished when we photographed it at the '02 Street Rod Nats in Louisville. Like a lot of pro rodders, Mike can't hang on to everything he builds, and shortly after the Nats, he sold the super clean coupe. He recently said that he regrets selling it and even thought about trying to buy it back. Instead, he is working on another '32 three-window, which will be yellow. He has a knack for high-tech cars; now he has a taste for traditional. "A lot of detail went into the little white car," Mike told us, "and it didn't take as much work to get it there."
Mike GoldmanMeridian, Mississippi'32 Ford Three-Window Coupe
Drivetrain: You can see for yourself what an eye-magnet the engine compartment is. The only question is: How do they keep it so clean? The reliable '86 Chevy 350 small-block, built by David Roddie and Mike, is fired by an HEI ignition and fed by a single Holley 670 carburetor and Holley intake manifold. Exhaust empties into HPC coated headers. Mike column-shifts the '78 TH350 automatic transmission, built up by Transmissions After 5 right there in Meridian, Mississippi.
Chassis: The coupe rides on a custom frame built by JRS, detailed and painted by Mike's son, Talbert Goldman, 16 at the time. Frontend components include a four-link system, plus a dropped I-beam axle from Super Bell along with Chassis Engineering spindles and disc brake setup. The steering is a combination of a Flaming River Vega-style box with Borgeson U-joints plus an ididit column. In the rear, it's shocks and springs from Carrera plus a Ford 9-inch running 3.50:1 gears.
Wheels & Tires: Wide whitewalls were invented for this coupe, especially when matched with red-painted Wheel Vintiques 15-inch steelies. Since the car was driven a lot, the traditional big 'n' little look was kept practical with Dayton radial rubber measuring P165/70R15 and P255/70R15, front and rear.
Body & Paint: The simplest paint sometimes speaks the loudest. The Westinghouse white finish shot by Mike in his shop (it's actually PPG White basecoat with clear) is broken up with a little Cherry Red on the wheels and grille. The rumble seat and roll-down rear window (Mike used a Jag window motor) lead people to think the car is steel. In fact it's 'glass, massaged just minimally by the guys at Mike Goldman Customs. Other outside elements include '50 Pontiac taillights and the Diamond Rio headlights that launched the whole project.
Interior: They ran out of white, all right. The interior of the coupe is drenched in red. The custom bench was handbuilt by M&M Custom Interiors in Holly Pond, Alabama, and upholstered in genuine tuck 'n' roll by Pam and Wayne McGriff. A pair of Dolphin gauges was added to the stock dash. The banjo-style steering wheel was customized by Dennis Crook. An ididit tilt column, Lokar pedals, Pioneer sound system, and Air-Tique climate control are slight exceptions to the traditional theme.