Production numbers of original ’32 Ford roadster pickups vary, depending on the source, but suffice it to say, they’ll all agree on one thing: this particular model in Ford’s ’32 lineup is rare. Uncommon when new, they’re akin to the proverbial hen’s teeth today. Houston, Texas–based hot rodder Bill Lindig found this one in a stall behind a house in San Diego, California, some years ago, and though complete, even his description of its “terrible” condition doesn’t describe how bad it was. You’ll hear shortly when we delve into Bobby Walden’s description of its resurrection just how bad it was. But it’s a rare old truck, and deserved to be saved.
What Bill had found was a complete truck, including the fenders and full-length bed, though only parts of the body would be used on the completed project. With the pickup back in Texas, he began sourcing and collecting parts for the rebuild, including a couple of N.O.S. fenders and that commercial grille shell, also N.O.S. A rolling chassis was ordered up from SO-CAL Speed Shop to form the basis of the project before it was shipped back to the West Coast for Bobby Walden to work his metal magic at Walden Speed Shop in Pomona.
Not only are ’32 roadster pickups rare, but they differ from other Deuces in many ways; the cowl is not only shorter than a regular roadster, but narrower at the A-pillars too; the windshield posts are different, and it has a unique header panel under the windshield. This was built from scratch, as was the top of the cowl, the posts (and frame) were chopped 2 1/2 inches, and the rust in the lower cowl, floor sections, and unique cab rear panel repaired. Not only are the doors longer than a regular roadster, but they’re wood framed rather than having a steel inner structure. One of the original doors was in good enough condition that Brad Brown was able to duplicate the wooden framework, then copy it left for right before Walden fabricated new skins. The bed was shortened and new mounts for it fabricated on the chassis, which also received new engine and trans mounts for the intended Flathead and T5. The extensive work at Walden Speed Shop culminated in fabricating an exhaust system, and mounting the fenders, running boards, grille, hood, and bumper, before the bare metal truck was shipped back to Bruce’s Rod Shop in Texas.
The SO-CAL chassis had been supplied with a 9-inch rearend, but Bill wanted a quick-change, so the crew at Bruce’s replaced the rear crossmember to accommodate a Model A spring, which allowed clearance for the quickie and a Halibrand centersection with early Ford bells. A “heavy” ’32 dropped axle was installed, along with Wilson Welding backing plates and Buick finned drums. They also moved the gas tank from under the seat to the rear of the chassis, passenger car style, then plumbed and wired the pickup so that it was capable of being driven before it made a return trip to California where Mick Jenkins at SO-CAL Speed Shop prepped and painted it PPG Washington Blue with black fenders. Dennis Rickleffs handled the striping. Gabe Lopez was responsible for the Oxblood leather interior with single French seam detailing and black rubber matting on the floors.
SO-CAL was responsible for the final assembly, before the pickup was shipped back to Houston where the modified ’32 roadster top bows were covered to facilitate a folding roof. It then joined Bill’s other “old cars” as he describes them. Those “old cars” include the 2012 AMBR winner, for those who thought Bill’s name was familiar!
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1932 Ford Roadster Pickup
Starting with a SO-CAL Speed Shop rolling chassis, a “heavy” dropped front axle was installed on hairpins and a mono leaf spring, with Pete & Jake’s shocks and early Ford spindles. Buick drums with Wilson Welding backing plates were used, as was a SO-CAL pedal assembly and Vega steering box. At the rear, a Model A crossmember was installed, as well as mounts for the pickup bed.
Art Chrisman machined and assembled the ’48 vintage Flathead, with a 4 1/2-inch stroke and 3 3/8-inch bore, now displacing 304 ci. An Isky 400Jr cam, and Sharp heads complete the package, crowned with an Italmeccanica blower and intake manifold, and a pair of 97 carburetors. A T5 five-speed and Inland Empire Driveline driveshaft couple the engine to the quick-change rearend, a Halibrand centersection, and early Ford bells. This is suspended on a Model A spring and SO-CAL Speed Shop ladder bars, again with Pete & Jake’s shocks.
Wheels & Tires
Early Ford–style steelies, measuring 16x5 and 16x7, sit at each corner, wrapped in Excelsior Competition V bias-plies, 16x5.50 and 16x7 respectively, wearing V-8 caps and a red pinstripe, but no trim rings.
Body & Paint
We’ve covered the extensive sheetmetal work by Walden Speed Shop in the text, summarized by saying it has a shortened bed, scratch-built doors and cowl top, and comprehensive rust repair, but we didn’t mention the hours involved in gapping all the panels. Mick Jenkins laid on the PPG Washington Blue and black, while Dennis Rickleffs handled the pinstriping. Other details include ’32 commercial headlights, ’32 taillights, an original ’32 front bumper, relocated gas tank, original 25-louver hood, and N.O.S. commercial grille shell.
Gabe Lopez stitched the Oxblood leather on the side panels and Glide seat, adding black rubber mat on the floor. The original steering column and wheel were used, though now connect to the aforementioned Vega box. Air conditioning comes courtesy of the stock cowl vent.