Dad's CoupeI have been involved in street rods since the mid-'70s. At that time, I just wanted to have something neat to drive on nice days. This '32 project all started when I met Larry Marion in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the Nationals. He came up to me and asked if I would be interested in trading my '47 Ford coupe for a basket case '32 three-window.
We talked and made arrangements for me to go up to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to look at the coupe. Two weeks later, my wife and I went there, inspected the coupe, and agreed to the trade. It had been an old hot rod and was in better-than-average condition. Larry delivered the parts to my house in Springboro, Ohio, and took the '47 away. The reason I traded at the time was that my son and daughter played sports and took part in other school activities, and my wife and I wanted to be involved with everything. I thought my time for hot rodding would be limited, and I figured the three-window would be a good investment for the long haul-and I think it was.
The coupe pretty much sat untouched for the next 15 years until I retired from GM in October 1999. I started working on it, along with a couple of good friends, Bob Wellbaum and Tom Lishke, who were also recent GM retirees. We started with the frame and continued until the project was finished in July 2006.
The Son's TudorMy parents have been involved with street rods since before I was born. We spent most of our vacations going to national street rod events all over the U.S. My dad found this 1932 Tudor during one of those trips to Louisville for the NSRA Nationals in 2005. At the time, I had a '31 Ford coupe but had always wanted a '32 Tudor. The car was from Colorado and was in really good condition. Everything was stock except for a '49 Ford Flathead.
We bought the '32 and made arrangements for the car to be delivered. Almost immediately after getting it home, we installed a Model A front crossmember, split the stock wishbones, and replaced the stock axle with a 4-inch dropped Super Bell I-beam that we narrowed 2 inches, drilled, and filled the ends. I replaced the stock heads with aluminum Edelbrock heads, replaced the stock manifold with a rare Almquist two-deuce intake, and my grandfather helped me rebuild the two 97 Stromberg carburetors. I then added two Edmunds air cleaners.
My father and I made two 3 1/2-inch-long shackles to lower the rear end, and I put four Coker tires on Kelsey-Hayes 17-inch wire wheels. We installed an Auburn-style gauge panel and lengthened the dashboard 2 inches. We finished it in time to go to the Detroit Autorama in January 2006.
Working on the car with my dad and our friend, Bob Wellbaum, made the build memorable, but hearing old dirt-track stories from my grandfather when he was helping me with the Flathead is something I'll always remember.
We're not done with the Tudor yet; I am planning to do it over again this winter by putting in an early Chevy small-block with a Muncie four-speed and Vega steering. We're also planning to take off the body, box the 'rails, put in new crossmembers, redo the interior, and paint the frame and body.
DrivetrainA GM crate 350 with a Barry Grant 625-cfm Street Demon rests under the hood. The engine may be internally stock, but the exterior has been treated to several custom touches. Larry modified the '55 Pontiac oil-bath air cleaner to accept an air filter and a set of '53-55 Studebaker valve covers to fit the Chevy heads. Alan Grove brackets hold the polished A/C compressor and chrome alternator. Larry built the 2 1/4-inch dual exhaust system out of stainless steel and had it HPC-coated. He also built custom stainless steel radiator hoses. The engine was coated in PPG Omaha Orange. A Turbo 350 handles shifting.
ChassisThe original frame has been boxed the full length. The front suspension rests on a Model A crossmember. SO-CAL Speed Shop hairpins and a Durant Enterprises monoleaf spring locate a Magnum 5-inch dropped tube axle (narrowed to 44 1/2 inches) with '40 spindles. A Deuce Factory Panhard bar and a Flaming River Vega-style box control the ride and direction. POSIES parallel leaf springs and owner-built stainless steel rear spring shackles were used to mount a Ford 9-inch. A Deuce Factory antiroll bar keeps the lean to a minimum. Wilson Welding Lincoln 12-inch brakes with Buick finned drums and Pete & Jake's chrome shocks are used at each corner.
Wheels & TiresOriginal 16-inch 40 bent-spoke Kelsey-Hayes were cut apart and welded to 15-inch hoops-15x4 with 2 1/2-inch backspacing and 15x8 with 4 1/2-inch backspacing-and then painted red. The coupe rolls on Nankang 135/65R15s and Michelin 235/60R15s.
Body & PaintThe real-steel coupe remains basically stock, with the exception of the filled roof insert. Rootlieb smooth hood sides hinge off the original hood tops. Jerry Sanders in Centerville, Ohio, worked the body until it was straight enough for the Spies Hecker black top-coat. The stock grille and maroon insert are flanked by '34 commercial headlights with hidden wires on a dropped bar; '34 commercial taillights were welded to '32 Ford taillight stands shortened 1 inch. Reproduction '32 bumpers from Lobeck's V8 Shop finish each end.
InteriorAuto Meter gauges in an aluminum insert are the only modification to the original three-window dash. A Chevy van tilt column and Streamline bell-type, leather-wrapped wheel keeps the coupe pointed in the right direction. Dennis Gambill from Dayton, Ohio, used maroon rolled 'n' pleated vinyl to cover the Glide Manufacturing bench seat, along with the rumble seat and the rest of the interior. A Vintage Air system was put in charge of cooling and heating duties. Bob Wellbaum used an It's a Snap wiring kit to bring the coupe to life.
Brock Henderson Monroe, Ohio1932 Ford TudorDrivetrainMost of the drivetrain is just as Brock bought the sedan at this point. A '39 Ford three-speed was mated up to the bored and stroked 239ci '49 Flathead (a Merc crank spins .060-over pistons). Edelbrock aluminum heads and an Almquist two-deuce intake with two Stromberg 97s capped with Edmunds air cleaners give it a more hot rod look and a little more punch. Red's headers and Smitty's mufflers help the Flattie sing.
ChassisThe stock Henry Ford frame has been complemented up front with a Durant monoleaf spring with Deuce Factory shackles, and a Super Bell I-beam with '40 Ford spindles (with Magnum dropped steering arms) and '46 drums. Pete & Jake's shocks were installed with modified F-1 upper shock mounts. The rear suspension is still mostly stock '32 Ford with reversed eyes and '46 drums.
Wheels & TiresSeventeen-inch 1934 Kelsey-Hayes wires painted orange get the big 'n' little look thanks to Excelsior 4.50x17 bias-ply tires up front and BFGoodrich 7.50x17 bias-plies in back.
Body & PaintThe original steel body remains stock with the exception of a few patch panels done by a previous owner more than 10 years ago. Brock and Larry prepped it and sprayed the flat black and then had Josh Shaw add some pinstriping.
InteriorInside was still a work in progress when we caught up with Brock. The stock dash has been extended 2 inches and a SO-CAL Auburn-style gauge panel was added with Stewart Warner gauges. A Sprint Car four-spoke steering wheel tops the stock column.