While most 1932 Fords came equipped with a V-8 in the engine compartment, the venerable Flathead isn't the largest V-8 ever produced, necessitating some firewall massaging should you wish to install a somewhat larger engine in your Deuce. So when Bobby Walden at Walden Speed Shop told us he was building a chassis for a customer using a 401 Nailhead Buick mated to a Tremec five-speed, and that he'd be modifying the stock firewall to suit, we figured you'd like to see how he did it.
Now please don't email us saying it's sacrilege to cut up an original 1932 firewall. For one, think of it as recycling; and second, the customer already had the firewall, so why spend good money on a repop? With that out of the way, let's continue. Walden has modified numerous 1932 firewalls to clear a small-block Chevy, and in fact keeps patterns for just such a task, but the Nailhead is longer, requiring a deeper recess, so he had to start from scratch.
He also took the opportunity to use a new Walden Speed Shop product (two in fact, as the Buick-to-Chevy motor mounts are also brand new to the company's catalog, but we'll bring you details on them next month) when he added floorboard risers to the completed firewall. These offer the benefit of increased usable foot room in the car, as the transmission tunnel becomes much smaller, with the angled foot riser section becoming flat across the entire width of the cabin.
There's no reason you couldn't replicate this job at home and although Walden has access to a Pullmax and an air-powered stretcher, the same results could be obtained, albeit more slowly, using hand tools and wooden formers. Meanwhile, this is how a pro gets the job done.