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.
1932 Ford Roadster
Nothing less than a completely aluminum 427ci Chevy small-block from Bill Mitchell would do for Rick, and he waited until the very first units were delivered so he could have one. An 870-cfm Holley carb feeds the alloy mill, and spent gasses exit via a pair if Sanderson headers and a totally stainless steel exhaust system. Mated to the Hardcore engine is a '93 GM T56 manual trans that Rick modified to work before aftermarket units were available.
A SO-CAL chassis was the starting point, and from there a Super Bell aluminum dropped axle was attached up front with a pair of SO-CAL hairpins and fitted with a pair of Bob Wilson's Lincoln-style repop 12-inch self-energizing drum brakes. A Currie 9-inch rearend is attached to the rear of the frame with a pair of SO-CAL ladder bars and has been fitted with an aluminum 3.89:1 geared differential from Strange Engineering.
Wheels & Tires
Custom-made wheels are a distinct feature of Rick's roadster. Original artillery-style scalloped centers were fitted with new outer hoops on the 16- and 18-inch combination. Firestone 4.50x16 and 7.00x18 tires complete the package.
Body & Paint
A Brookville body required very little more than a simple scuffing before an owner-applied coat of black primer was sprayed. An original '32 Ford grille shell and rare 25-louver hood were added to the mix, along with a 2-inch-chopped windshield, '34 commercial headlights, and '39 teardrop taillights.
Nothing flashy was needed inside Rick's roadster to make it very inviting. A simple brown vinyl stitch job is complemented by an original '36 Ford banjo steering wheel and a set of vintage Stewart Warner gauges. A Hurst shifter and a third pedal on the floor mean serious business!