Register now to get rid of these ads!

Hot Rods 32 cabriolet that was in same Spokane family 75 years now DRIVING with 425 GS Buick engine!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hamtown Al, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I'm sorry to report that I'm doing a very poor job of carrying out my declaration a few years ago that,
    "I ain't buying any more cars." I made that bold statement to my pals on a Thursday night at York in 2015. By noon the next day, or there abouts, I had bought a 32 3w coupe! I'm still tweaking on that one to look more traditional but haven't done the interior yet... I was hoping someone would buy it so I wouldn't have to.;)

    Anyway, the latest failure on my part came from somebody posting a link to a car that was for sale that seemed like a good value. Being a good on-line hot rodder, I clicked on it... you know how it turned out!:D

    It is traveling via a shipper right now and hope to see it sometime in the coming week. I'll have a better knowledge of just what I've purchased when it gets here but I feel pretty good about it.

    What? I think I hear the ghost of 3WLarry yelling about, "Where's the dang pictures?!"

    To continue, it is a pretty rare bird for a number of reasons but the biggest might be that it was in the same family for 75 years. A guy bought it on May 5, 1942 and kept it until he passed in 1996 and then it stayed in the family until the end of last year.

    He traded in a roadster for the coupe. Yep, it was a 3w coupe which he later drove to NY to marry this gal he met in the NAVY and drove her back to Spokane. At least that's the story as I understand it right now... like all stories, they are subject to being revised!:rolleyes::D
    I'm still on the trail of tracking and documenting the history of the car but it is very interesting.
    Here's the car in NY in front of his wife's parents house I believe.
    And a close up in memory of Larry.;)
    The owner later, and I haven't gotten a clue yet about how much later other than to know it was done by 1961; swapped the 3w body for a very good cabriolet body that he got from somewhere. Yep, I wonder where that 3w body went, too!:)
    The owner was a pretty good mechanic if not a great one according to some folks I have already talked to.
    The car has a neatly narrowed 40 Ford dash for starters and it had a Y block Ford engine in it in 1961.
    Anybody got any more info on the car?
    Apparently I bought it just in the nick of time as I think a couple folks were standing in the wings and getting ready to pull the trigger but my money got there first via bank wire. One of them has already reached out to me to be next in line if I ain't happy or change my mind. Haven't had that happen before so it must be a pretty good car as he managed to get someone local to check it out "in the flesh."
    I'll share more of the story as I speak with others and go over my notes.
    Apparently the owner worked with another guy at the same company and that guy had a 32 cabriolet, too! That guy kept his, too, until he passed away a few years back. His was green and I've been told the two cars were often seen together. I was fortunate to locate the present owner of the green car and am not sure just what his plans are for that car but that will be his story to tell.
    I hope nobody gets upset that I'm planning on new tires and wheels right away.;)
    I'm not fond of the wheels and suspect that the tires are really old.:eek:
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
  2. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,022

    from California

    I thought those wheels looked pretty sharp. gives it a 1978 Ford Fairmont vibe.
  3. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,518


    Sweet hot rod
    Hamtown Al likes this.
  4. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,304


    Well you are the Cabriolet guy. Nice score and waiting for more pictures


    PS you can put my name on that list too
    Hamtown Al likes this.

  5. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Like many of the fellows in the Spokane area, the owner regularly traveled the 350 miles or so to the Portland Swap Meet every year. On one of those trips, he purchased plans for brackets that would allow him to put disc brakes, using Riviera calipers, on all four wheels. His son-in-law flame cut the brackets and the owner did the rest.
    The car also has a dual master cylinder and hydraulic clutch via hanging pedals on the firewall but I don't know if it all happened at the same time.
    Somewhere along the line the car got an 8 inch Ford rear with an open driveshaft.

    Doug Turnwall, the owner, was also instrumental in getting the Deer Park Drag Strip established along with Dusty Rhodes and others in the early 1952. In March of 1952 they formed the Lilac City Timing Association with Dusty as the first President and Doug as Vice-President and Jim Kennedy as Secretary and Norm Davis as Treasurer.

    John Gunsaulis put together a great book called, "Spokane Hot Rodding" that has many old pictures from back in the day along with some outstanding history of the sport dating from the 1940s. I couldn't put it down. Very informative and some great pictures with detailed descriptions with many players and their cars from the period identified.
    Deer Park was a vibrant drag strip for many years and the Dragin's Race Team (originally formed in 1954 as the Dragin's Car Club) still have a Deer Park Dragstrip Reunion every September.
  6. T&A Flathead
    Joined: Apr 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,825

    T&A Flathead

    Looks like a great car. I made the same "never" statement mistake before and ended up buying another 32 5w.
    chryslerfan55 and Hamtown Al like this.
  7. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,760

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Man, looks like a score.
    Change the shoes and scrub up the under side and enjoy that.
    Hamtown Al likes this.
  8. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 4,780


    Cool story and great 32 cabriolet, congratulations!
  9. mcsfabrication
    Joined: Nov 26, 2006
    Posts: 902


    Nice looking car for sure. Front caliper brackets appear to be the Magnum style.
    Is this going to be this years York transportation?
  10. That will fit in quite well at your place. Nice score.

    Hamtown Al and lothiandon1940 like this.
  11. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Thanks for the kind words, fellas. It might be the York transportation this year.

    The guy I bought the car from knew the owner and worked at the same company in the same department but on a different shift than the owner and the guy with the green cabriolet. He happened to run into a guy last Friday that also worked there and he hadn't seen in about 25 years. They got to talking about Doug's cabriolet and that guy said the cabriolet had the Y block and also a 289 Ford and a 283 Chevrolet but not sure of the order of installation.
    That brings us to the current engine which is hooked to a 5 spd from an S-10. It is hard to believe but the engine is supposed to be a 1932-1934 FOUR banger that the owner modified to use a downdraft carburetor.
    Seeing is believing:
    There was a problem with the head when he got it that the seller either fixed or had fixed. He says he used the Chevy paint because he had it but realized some red Ford paint might have been more appropriate.;)
    I'm sure the car can use a few tweaks and sprucing up but it supposedly is in pretty good running order now that the seller removed the gas tank and had it cleaned and sealed. He said he removed a secondary electric fuel pump but thinks it needs to be added back. I fully agree and already have one being shipped to me along with a metal fuel regulator.:)
    As things happen, the seller had some last minute issues arise in the fuel system that was starving the carburetor so he rigged up a simple system involving a gas can, some extra hose, and some heavy duty tie wraps to keep it running while being loaded... and hopefully unloaded!:eek::D Opportunities!:D
    I think the original electric fuel pump can be seen in the bottom of the second picture. I'll find out when it gets here.
    How do you like the way the owner tied his heater into the engine water system? Haven't seen that before either that I remember. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.:)
    I'm dying to find out the story behind why and how the owner decided to switch to the 4 banger.
    That HAS to be a good story!
  12. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 4,780


    It's a B engine and the story get better and maybe it's the original motor . I see the flat firewall and you sir have a Real Hotrod! I can't wait to hear more details and pictures. Thanks for sharing
    Hamtown Al and pprather like this.
  13. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    A friend offered the same question about it being the original engine but I know it isn’t because the bill of sale shown above said it had eight cylinders. I think the “18” at beginning if vin number indicates a V-8.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  14. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I forgot to mention that the stock axle was likely dropped in Spokane by the Muir Brothers at their shop on Francis Avenue.
    Also, I noted that the car only has one taillight. I am amazed that this car which we believe has been kept together with many of the original parts still intact; never had a second light added if for no other reason than for turn signals. I can't believe this car has survived since 1932 and apparently never had turn signals added. It's got a heater, a 1940 Ford dash, a radio, has been converted to 12 volts, has been converted to hydraulic brakes with four wheel disc brakes using a dual master cylinder, and has pedals relocated to hang from the firewall and use a hydraulic clutch; yet, no second taillight! That driver's window either went up and down a bunch in the winter or the owner just went where he wanted and left it to the other drivers around him to figure out where he was going.:eek::D
    Oh yeah, it also had fog lights. Apparently the owner was primarily focused on the future and where he was going. He owned and likely drove the car for nearly 54 years... with one taillight!:)
    harpo1313, The 39 guy, afaulk and 7 others like this.
  15. Awesome car and great story !
    Hamtown Al likes this.
  16. 40ragtopdown
    Joined: Jan 13, 2015
    Posts: 7,405


    Great score love that defroster vent on the 40 dash .that one was built to be driven.
    Hamtown Al likes this.
  17. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Doing some more research I find that the car lot where the owner purchased the original coupe was only 1.3 miles from Doug's house. The seller only lives 9 miles from where Doug lived when he bought it 76 years ago.
    Talk about a small world!
    I also checked and the Muir Brothers shop was likely within 3 miles of Turnwall's house... on the way to the seller's house!
    Notice on the application just above the "Name of the legal owner" the "Has motor been changed" is faintly marked, "no."
    If the motor number is valid, it means this car was the 12,102nd V-8 1932 Ford built... very early considering that 203,126 V-8s were built in the 1932 model year. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Early Ford V-8.":cool:
    Ron Funkhouser and gtrhotrod like this.
  18. It is interesting to note that your banger is a very early one. It has a cast boss on the front left side to mount the vacuum operated clutch that was never released for production. It also appears (from the picture) to have an early oil vent tube (same diameter as the Model A vent tube but longer); the later ones were a larger diameter. Ironically this would make it about the same time period as the original V8 engine (based on serial number). I would suggest keeping the banger; it would get a lot of conversations going when you raised the hood. The attached pictures are unfortunately not my engines. The is also some named “Tod” on fordbarn that is getting ready to produce some original looking Model B heads with a higher compression and an improved combustion chamber.

    Charlie Stephens

    IMG_3382.jpg IMG_5575.jpg IMG_5597.jpg IMG_6292.jpg IMG_6301.jpg IMG_6322.jpg IMG_6334.jpg
  19. To the best of my knowledge none of the LHD ’32 passenger cars came from the factory with a right hand taillight. The RHD cars came with a right hand taillight and nothing on the left. I do have the nagging feeling that there was one deluxe body style that came with both taillights but I can’t find the reference to it. According to “The 1932 Ford Book” Ford released the RHD taillight as a service part for dealers to install on LHD cars in July. I doubt do the economy that many of the RHD brackets were installed. By the time turn signals became popular I am sure that the supply of RHD brackets from Ford had been exhausted. The restorations of the sixties and seventies probably snapped up any original brackets that were around. When I was putting my AVATAR together in the early seventies there was an excellent reproduction bracket available. I think I have seen tail light bracket pairs on EBAY (probably stainless). There was also available a cast aluminum bracket that didn’t look as good as the stamped steel one. Note also an extension to the wire harness is needed and a taillight bucket without a license light. According to “the 1932 Ford Book” Ford probably used the LHD taillight bucket with a license light on the right but I would prefer one without a license light. I think I used a RHD taillight bucket from a Model A and adjusted the internals to mount a ’32 lens and ring. If a second license plate is installed on the RHD bracket it will be very difficult to use the rumble step.

    A final problem is if there is a rumble seat you really have to watch your step. Note that I cut the light bracket to fit the rumble step mount rather than risking weakening the rumble step mount by cutting it.

    Charlie Stephens

    IMG_7875.jpg IMG_7874.jpg
    harpo1313, mgtstumpy, brad2v and 7 others like this.
  20. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    A big "Thank you!" to Charlie for sharing all the pictures and info. Those engines look great!
    It is cool, too, to see what he did on his car.

    The shipper called this afternoon.
    Tomorrow morning between 8 and 9 AM.
    I'm ready to see this unique car in person.
    I'm hoping the "bonus" gas tank is doing well and has enough left for a quick trip around the block.;)
  21. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)


    I no more than hit "enter" to post the above and I get an incoming text from the shipper that they'll be here between 12 and 1 PM.:(

    I texted back that I was fixing a big breakfast for them so now they'll miss it.;):D:D

    You don't get lunch if you miss breakfast... with my car!!:D:D
    catdad49 and porkshop like this.
  22. The stories to these old cars are the best!
    brad2v likes this.
  23. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Shipper got here about 2 PM.
    Biggest dang rig I've ever seen. It could do anything and everything. One man operation and he was good.
    He had to unload all but 2 cars to get mine off the tractor, top level.
    Notice that he raised the top of the rig one to two feet to get more clearance.
    In my driveway BUT he rolled it off and we pushed it down the hill to my house because it wouldn't start!
    You will notice there is no gas visible in the carburetor.:eek:
    The temporary fix quickly put together by the seller had failed by the time it got to VA after almost a week.
    I'm working to add an electric fuel pump with regulator and gauge so it will move under own power.:)
    I expect to finish tweaking it to run tomorrow. Then I'll report on the ride... today it was REAL quiet while I was rolling down the hill!:D:D
    mgtstumpy, brad2v, catdad49 and 4 others like this.
  24. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    After spending most of the day getting the new elec fuel pump and regulator installed and plumbed, I was all set to crank it and nothing!:confused: Seems there are a few issues in and among the wiring.:eek:
    After some research and piddling... and some praying; it fired right up after being primed with the new elec pump but it ran fine with the elec pump off. :)
    It seemed to run good but it did discover that the clutch doesn't fully engage until almost at the top of the pedal which was a bit of a surprise as it almost jumped!:) WOW! It was peppy for sure.
    With no practice trip anywhere, I took off for the gas station a mile away and it did great. I filled it most of the way full with high test gas because I wasn't sure how old the gas was that was in it. Took seven gallons so old gas should be pretty well diluted now.
    Then I got in the car to leave and... (you are getting ahead of the story!) nothing!:eek:
    Dang! I turned the heater switch on which I knew was hot all the time. Raised the hood, fiddled with wiring wad until I heard the heater fan come on (that is how I "fixed" it the first time;)).
    Fired right up and ran fine all the way home.:)
    Guess I be working on the wiring big time starting tomorrow. I'm reluctant to just dive in because I want to drive it some. Especially after bragging a bit to my pals how good the car seemed to be.;):D
    The car does seem quite solid and it apparently had a Ford radio in it at one time because it had the two holes on either side of the driveshaft tunnel that denote an orig Ford radio being used. Learned that from a posting on another thread by PeteE.:)
    I'm still trying to figure out what switch does what... if anything! Also many other details to research and understand.
    I ordered new tires today.
    I also noticed for the first time that the car has some pretty unique looking trim rings; not that they're particularly cool with those Ford dog dish caps, etc; but they are interesting.
    I'm glad nobody saw my face the first time I was all ready to start it and it did nothing.
    It was pretty ironic because yesterday it would readily crank over every time... just wasn't getting any gas.
    When I poured a little gas in the carb, it fired right up and ran well until it died from no gas.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  25. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I felt bad about no picture of the trim rings so I went out and made one in honor of 3WLarry.
    Anybody know anything about them? They are 15 inch wheels.

    While I was at it, I got to looking at that horn and thought it looked pretty original so I took some pictures to share and get some feedback.
    After I take the pictures and come in the house to edit them I realized that the only numbers I can see look like they might be a date... 5 932. Might just be a coincidence but more intrigue
    Look and let me know.

    If the rest of the car has been kept together all these years, it might be the original horn.

    Somebody made a comment earlier about the defrost vent on the dash. I looked under the dash and there is a hum dinger defroster vent under there and one of the two defroster ducts has been closed off. I'm sure the old hose that ran to the defroster just got lost.

    I'm hoping to drive it to breakfast in the morning... unless I got nothing!!
    The 39 guy, mgtstumpy, brad2v and 5 others like this.
  26. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I did get to breakfast but... I was motoring along and feeling good about my new ride and picking up speed when it started to flutter and then I was soon coasting.:eek: Coasted into a parking lot that was about half way there... keep in mind that the total distance is less than 3 miles from my house.;)
    Raised the hood and looked at that glass carburetor bowl to see that it was empty.:rolleyes:
    Hooked up my jim dandy temporary wiring for the electric fuel pump and filled the carburetor and then disconnected the temp wiring, put the hood down, and got back in the car. It started right up and I drove it the rest of the way to breakfast but I was a few minutes late.;) The boys were amazed that I drove it since the last time several of them heard from me I had "nothing."
    I figured out that in my fooling with the pressure regulator--- (NO instructions whatsoever as to how to actually REGULATE the pressure by the way!:mad:) I had decreased the regulator to the point that if I ran fast enough it would run out of fuel because the regulator was keeping the flow down. That's my theory anyway.;)
    It drove home from breakfast just fine but I didn't run very fast and never got out of 3rd gear... out of 5.
    Took a few pictures and now have it on the lift. I'm going out later to check out the bottom but already know it won't be but so pretty.:(
    That is all right as it does run!:):):)
    Also found the body tag on passenger side. Briggs Murry Detroit number 127-4239; whatever that means.
    Talked to the seller last night and he said the daughter that sold him the car gave him the impression that the car had been sitting in their garage just about the whole time since her Dad's passing in 1996 and he suspected those tires might well be the same ones from that time.:eek: The top was down and they used the car to store cardboard boxes all over it.:(
    The seller said he spent about three months working on the car to get it back into pretty reliable running condition and was planning to keep the car but he, like more and more of us;), looked around at the 1940 LaSalle convertible he has been restoring for 15 years as well as a 1940 Ford tudor that he was driving but wanted to revise; and at least one other 1940 Ford that he wanted to build. He'll be 78 tomorrow and he figured it would be better to pass along this cabriolet and get back to the other stuff already filling his garage plate.;)
    I'm sorry that he felt he had to let it go but I am very pleased that it is mine now!:):)
    It is a relatively rare and, in my mind, very desirable car that seems quite solid and well cared for it's entire life. Not to mention one heck of a history by being in the same family for 75 years.
    Now, if I can get lucky in learning more of the details of that history it will be the icing on the cake.:) I'm still researching and calling numbers that sometime are good but most times are bad. Hopefully, I'll learn much more as I continue to talk with the fine fellas up in the Spokane area. Many of them remember the car and the owner so that is a great beginning. Patience is a great virtue when you are on the hunt for history... you never know when or where you'll get a tip on a new lead for more information. Meet some great people, too!:):)
    Back to the garage.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
    The 39 guy, 302GMC, catdad49 and 2 others like this.
  27. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    A friend tells me the horn looks original. How many 32s have their original horns?! Of course it might not be THE original one at all but to even have an original horn seems like a feat of some kind.
    Here's a picture after breakfast.
    I also solved the mystery of the battery disconnect switch that the seller installed NOT seeming to disconnect!
    The battery slid forward until the cable end made contact with the metal battery box! Good thing it was the ground cable!! I moved the battery back some and shimmed the battery in the box with wood and some heater hose to make it more secure. There is an obvious lesson here in making sure battery terminals can't make contact with anything during and AFTER installation.
    Given the state of the wiring, I feel much better now having a battery disconnect switch that works!
    Opportunities! That mostly 1932 Ford wiring, with some 1940 Ford wiring thrown in, looks to me like it needs some serious help. The seller told me that HE already removed a lot of old wiring that didn't go to anything.

    One strange problem with the car is that the odometer seems to spin ALL digits randomly while being driven!!
    That was a surprise. I am still waiting to test the trip odometer to see if it works properly.
    I'm trying to remember if I have a spare 40 Ford speedometer in my "inventory" to maybe fix that "opportunity."

    I popped the caps and rings off to discover the front hubs seem to be some kind of aftermarket aluminum hub.
    More research needed there.

    I did contact the Early Ford V-8 Club in Spokane and asked them to pass the word and see if anybody remembered the car. Hopefully they'll get back to me with a possible lead.

    Back to the garage.
    mgtstumpy, catdad49 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  28. Very happy for you, great car, great story. You’re gonna have some good times together.
    Welcome to the Cabriolet club. C0000C6C-C716-4426-B9C5-28BBA9AAE796.jpeg
  29. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,442

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    ^^ Thanks for the welcome. Your car looks neat and looks like it has already had some good times with you!
    Speaking of a Cabriolet club, I found the original body number tag still intact on my car. I'm not familiar with 32 body tags so not sure of any special meaning.
    They made 5,962 V8 cabriolets and 429 4 cyl cabriolets. It will be somewhat ironic that this cabriolet body, which to my uneducated mind means it might have been the 4,239th one built; indicating to me it was well into the production run, ended up on a chassis that was one of the very earliest 32s built. So many mysteries to be discovered! If ever!!
    mgtstumpy and catdad49 like this.
  30. You said earlier that you went to an electric fuel pump. Your mechanical pump looks original. Be sure to keep it as those cores are worth a lot more than you would think (besides that you might want to go back to it). They make block off plates to use when you remove the mechanical pump.

    Charlie Stephens

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.