By now, obviously, you know the origin of the engine, however, there are further details to be told. In addition to the Riley SOHC conversion, the 21-stud Flathead V-8 features a variety of hand-fabricated items, such as the box-type intake manifold (sporting Stromberg 97s), spark-arrester–style air cleaners, and the very unique, un-muffled headers. For the transmission, Hatfield took a GM T-5 and disguised it by removing the ribs from the cast-aluminum case before mating it to the Flathead.
On the exterior, the original FoMoCo roadster shell was not only reworked to perfection, a few twists were added as well—most all of which was done by hand. For instance, both the inner and outer floorpans (yes, two sets) are not only hand-crafted, they’re fully polished as well—no filler/no paint! Furthermore, the ’32 Ford grille shell has been reshaped, giving it more of an early Miller Indy car feel while still retaining its stock insert dimensions in order to accept a Pines Winterfront adjustable insert. The split windshield is yet another hand-fabbed Hatfield item, the headlights are courtesy of a ’36 Ford, and the taillight an aftermarket Sparto motorcycle piece. As you may have already noticed from the photos, the custom sheetmetal work on Don Smith’s roadster is boundless, evident in the trunk area, below the grille, pretty much everywhere you look! Anything not polished or plated has either been painted red or cream—or pinstriped black in-between.
That takes us inside the racer-inspired roadster, where we conclude with even more of Hatfield’s creativeness. The Bell-style steering wheel is actually scratch-built, as are the column it resides on and the drop mounting it to the dropped ’32 dashboard housing a Plymouth gauge cluster. The interior, also handled by Hatfield restorations, is a perfect period blend of red canvas and leather, with “orthopedic seating” as Don describes it in the form of—you guessed it—handbuilt buckets.
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1932 Ford Roadster