Waiting seems to be a reoccurring theme when it comes to Rick Findley's '32 Ford roadster. Both the engine and body production were things for which he had to wait, and even this Rod & Custom article itself comes after a little waiting, since feature-worthy '32 Fords never seem to be in short supply. But Rick is a patient guy, and his car and the feature on it are both worth whatever wait was necessary.
A proud Texan rodder for decades, Rick started this project with the goal of using some unique components while still ending up with a very traditional '32 Ford highboy roadster. Parts selections would be carefully made, and that process began with a SO-CAL Speed Shop chassis fitted with an aluminum Super Bell dropped axle up front and a Currie 9-inch Ford housing fitted with an aluminum third member from Strange Engineering fitted to the rear. The theme of lightweight aluminum parts use extended to the selection of a Bill Mitchell all-aluminum 427ci Chevy small-block-style engine. That was great, but with the healthy mill not yet in full production, a five-month wait was the first time-out on the clock. The engine did eventually show up, and when it did, Rick mated it to an equally exotic T56 six-speed manual transmission (again aluminum) and further personalized it with a custom shifter relocated to a more conventional and user-friendly location.
The body of choice would be a new Brookville '32 Ford roadster, and supply and demand would again require another five months of waiting for it to show up at Rick's doorstep. The Brookville body is pretty much ready to go out of the box, so it would only take an owner-applied coat of black urethane primer to the fresh steel along with the original grille shell, 25-louver hood, and '34 commercial headlights before it could all be mated to the chassis. A 2-inch-chopped windshield and '39 Ford taillights would finish off the traditional exterior components. The set of completely unique wheels, while not "traditional," totally makes Rick's car stand out and grab your attention. Rick keeps the origin under wraps (only the most knowledgeable should attempt a guess), but the custom-built 16- and 18-inch units look just right in a combination of 4.50x16 and 7.00x18 Firestone Deluxe Champion blackwall rubber.
It is a trip right back to the early days of hot rodding inside Rick's ride thanks to original pieces like a gennie '36 Ford banjo steering wheel and vintage Stewart Warner gauges fitted into a custom insert made by Bruce's Rod Shop. The modern comfort of a Glide seat is disguised by vintage-style brown vinyl upholstery stitched up by Mike Blanchette's Auto Trim in Houston, Texas.
Since all the downtime is now over, Rick never waits for the chance to drive his '32. From the morning it was completed and Rick headed west to California for the L.A. Roadster's show without so much as a shakedown run, this car has been in continuous trouble-free use thanks to its owner's careful planning, and, above all else, patience to get exactly what he wanted.