Jim and Kelly Karls

Arlington, Nebraska

1932 Ford Roadster


Jim assembled the seasoned '70 Chevy LT1 block with a set of factory "Pink" rods, 11:1 slugs, and a forged crank. A Crane Energizer cam opens the valves in a set of factory 2.02 cast-iron heads. On the outside, an Edelbrock intake and carburetor sit on the top, with a pair of Speedway block-hugger headers attached on both sides. A rebuilt TH350 trans was fitted with a heavy-duty shift kit and clutches and is controlled by a 23ft Lokar Nostalgia shifter. Finishing off the sturdy driveline is a 9-inch Ford fitted with big bearing ends and 28-spline axles.


A big selling point to Jim when he first located his '32 was that it was already fitted with a Cornhusker chassis. Attached to the front is a Chassis Engineering dropped I-beam fitted an inch forward of the stock location via a pair of SO-CAL hairpins, flanked on both ends by a pair of Super Bell disc brakes. A pair of Pete & Jake's ladder bars and coilovers locates the rearend. Vega steering and Ford rear drums finish up the package.

Wheels & Tires

Jim went right back to his childhood inspiration and copied the rolling stock on Gary Kessler's historic '32. Up front, reproduction ET Team III 15x4 five-spokes run Firestone 145/R15 radials, and in back, original ET five-spokes mount a pair of 31x10.5 Hurst pie-crust slicks.

Body & Paint

Once Jim had the initial work on the car under control, he turned the project over to Chris Hunke at Cars-R-Us Auto Body in Omaha, Nebraska. Chris massaged the Wescott body, paying careful attention to the body lines to make them look as authentic as possible. The hood is a special unit made by Rootlieb an inch longer to match the stretched chassis, and a 26th louver was added to each side to keep the hood looking right. Chris sprayed on the DuPont Solar Yellow paint and Jim Curran accented it with some 'striping. Exterior details include a pair of '33 Ford commercial headlights, '50 Pontiac taillights, and Bob Drake stainless spreader bars.


The cockpit is all business with tan Ultraleather covering the Glide Engineering seat and interior panels stitched up by D&J Auto Trim in Blair, Nebraska. Stewart Warner Wings gauges are set in an owner-built elliptical panel. A smoothed Camaro tilt column is hung by an aluminum connecting rod and topped by a Bell-style four-spoke steering wheel. Creature comforts include a Pioneer sound system and air conditioning "when Mother Nature provides it."