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Technical 32 Ford Roadster build advice

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 64 Thunderbolt, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. 64 Thunderbolt
    Joined: Feb 8, 2011
    Posts: 277

    64 Thunderbolt

    I'm starting to research building a 32 Ford Roadster & want you'lls advice. I'm looking at kind of nosatalgia/part modern theme. I would like to go with the traditional drop axle theme but am still looking at what rear setup to use. I'm thinking about a Ford 289 with a T5 5speed. I'm going to build everything myself.

    I'm looking at what chassis & body to use.

    So here's some questions I have.

    1)What is the best chassis to go with?
    I've been looking at the Fatman builder special setup.

    2) What are the advantages & disadvantages to a fiberglass body & who builds the best fiberglass body?

    3)What the advantages & disadvantages to a quick change rear compared to a 9" Ford?

    4) What is the best suspension setup & what would be the difference in ride & driving the different setups?

    Guys I won't be offended in what you say here. I haven't bought anything. I'm wanting advise because I'm in the researching part here before I start anything so I want to know whatever you can tell me to look out for & look for if you know what I mean.

    If there's anything else I need to know about doing this PLEASE say it.
  2. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,459

    from New York

    Some of your questions are simply going to be a matter of personal choice. As for the chassis, I used a TCI for my Deuce roadster. The drawback is that they are located in Calf. and shipping can be a factor. There are several great chassis builders that are closer to VA. I don't know if there is a best to be honest, most of the chassis builders I see at the Nats or other shows all look good. As for the body, a glass body is available from several vendors and you can expect to spend between 7 to 10 grand. An original '32 body in good shape will run you triple that. I have a Wescotts body and have nothing but good things to say about it. Again shipping is an issue because Wescotts is located in Oregon. You can't go wrong with a Ford 9" rear, they are available from almost any salvage yard, parts are plentiful and they are bulletproof. Quick change rears are cool but expensive, so you need to think about your budget. Most people that have QC rears only install them for "the look" and never swap out the gears. With a Deuce roadster, you're not going to see much of the rear anyway. Coil overs offer a great ride, easy to install and can be adjusted to suit your ride. Original type spring is traditional but not as smooth a ride as coil overs. Most of the info you are looking for is available on vendors web sites, but I like to get catalogs that I can sit and read to get a good comparison of each. You have a lot of homework to do my friend but you are going to have fun doing it.
  3. L. Eckart
    Joined: Jul 8, 2005
    Posts: 379

    L. Eckart

    While I have not bought one I have heard good things about Bebop fiberglass bodies and they are in your area of the country. Also Pete & Jakes make a good chassis for the 32. Have them send you a catalog as it contains some good info. I have dealt with Pete & Jakes over the years and they are good people to work with.
  4. Not to be anti-Ford-in-a-Ford; but I think a small block Ford looks unbalanced in an early engine compartment.
    Even with the short pump options available, the front of the engine looks too long in relationship to the overall length.
    Of course; others will have a different opinion. Equally strong, I'm sure.
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  5. I'm building a Brookville 32 Roadster with a 289. Lots of details on my blog, you may find it helpful/interesting. Click on the follow my roadster build in my sig line. Good luck.
  6. If you want to build a traditional style deuce,I like the body to have a cowl vent and exposed hinges along with a rear deck former,where the wood for the top tacks in place.

    Westcott Fiberglass probably makes the most correct body but it's not cheap,almost as much as a Brookville roadsters body.

    There are also many company's that make glass body's that have veering degrees of features,longer doors,hidden hinges,etc.

    Frames are all over the chart,but stay with a axle and not a independent front suspension.

    If you want a quick change think about installing a gas tank in the trunk,why pay for one that will be hidden from view with the original style gas tank,not to mention the modifications you would have to preform on it to clear the QC.

    As mentioned earlier,Pete & Jake offer a nice frame that has a traditional look and can be purchased with a 9" Ford or QC.

    There is also many other company's that offer frames.

    I suggest you look at some threads about roadsters,In fact Seadog has a thread going now and it may help shed some light on your questions. HRP

  7. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,572


    - small block ford is not traditional

    -No coil overs- go buggy spring rear , pete&jakes ladder bars closest you get with new over counter stuff( pete jakes, kiwi konnection , so-cal, industrial chassis, amongst other private chassis vendors

    -Tank or not ....quick changes look cool but v-8 or champ center with old ford bells look the best ,.. A v-8 center will limit you on power somewhat .. A champ and 9" will pretty much handle whatever you throw at it I like tanks in back btw more room in trunk/ rumble

    The money you save with a 9" could be put torward a steel body , 40 spring will ride a little better than an A needed for the qc you can still find a jyd 9" the right width to save more money yet

    The price of a really good glass body isn't going to be far in price from a steel one from brookville

    Kiwi konnection used to do rolling chassis combos with good austrailias made glass bodys... Prices were reasonable , they might still offer it
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  8. 64 Thunderbolt
    Joined: Feb 8, 2011
    Posts: 277

    64 Thunderbolt

    To add to this I'm moving to Charlotte , NC in the next month or so.

    The advice here about quick changes is something I wondered about.

    seadog, I'm going to follow your 32 build so I can get some more ideas.

    Keep the advice coming guys I don't want to find out in the middle of this I went in the wrong direction.
  9. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 5,970

    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    I always hate to chime since I'm a chassis builder. I've done dozens of steel pkg roadsters for customers. Do your home work on a chassis, check for feedback on the various manufacturers. The most bang for your buck is a 9 inch rear. I do about 10 to 1 nine inchers to quick changes. I've done about a 50/50 mix of buggy springs and coil overs over the last 35 years. I like hairpins on the front and ladder bars on the rear. The feedback I get from customers has actually favored the buggy rear over the coil overs. Can't beat a Vega box for the steering and I prefer a forged axle. Most of my chassis have disc brakes but I do quite a few with the reproduction Lincoln drums. Engines have been a mix of some flatheads, mostly SBC's with a few SB Fords thrown in. Lately been doing quite a few manual trans, but an automatic will always be popular and easier. You just can't beat a Brookville steel roadster body and with some careful shopping there are value buys out there. I use Tanks fuel tanks, Rootlieb hoods, Vintique shells, and Walker radiators. The steel versus glass body thing will go on forever but I have always contended you get you money back with a steel body. Each of us has our opinion, you'll have to compile it all and go from there.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
    Baron, X38 and thirtytwo like this.
  10. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,301

    dirty old man

    I have an "A" Brookville on a P&J '32 frame with sbc and plenty of room with a stock firewall. Ford in a Ford sounds good, and it's what I have in my '40 coupe, but the sbf is longer on the front end, A friend with an "A", full fendered with hood on "A" frame had to do some serious cutting on the firewall. But I don't think he used any of the ":short" stuff on the aftermarket for the front of the engine, measure carefully, as even though the '32 has a longer engine bay, it'll still be tight.
    Just a word about the engine if you do go with a SBF: Consider a 302, as you'll have a broader choice of stuff that works to get you where you want to be in the way of engine parts such as heads, pistons, cranks, etc.
    But if you just have to be super trad. and go with a 289, make damn sure you start with the later 6 bolt bell housing pattern block as the early 5 bolt jobs will give you all kinds of trouble finding stuff that will bolt to the back of the block.
  11. Buy Mike Bishop and Vern Tardel's book; "How to Build a Traditional Hot Rod". Memorize it and build your '32 roadster using their Model A roadster as a model. They built a Brookville repro steel '29 A body on an original A frame, but the principles are the same and they answered the questions you're asking.

    $17.13 on Amazon. Even if you go with a SBF instead of a Flathead, it'll be the BEST expenditure you EVER make.

    Here's the link:
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  12. roundvalley
    Joined: Apr 10, 2005
    Posts: 1,772


    Go with a Brookville body for a few dollars more. It will hold its value alot more than glass in the future.
    I would vote SBC.
    thirtytwo likes this.
  13. David,

    I like to see someone that plans the project. Since there is not a large price difference between the top quality fiberglass and the steel body from Brockville I would go with steel. You will get it back and more if you ever sell (I have had my '32 roadster since '69, but I am sure I or my heirs will sell it someday). The advantage to an original frame is that it has a serial number and that may make your life easier with the DMV. Since you like to plan added go to DMV and see what you will need to make them happy.

    Charlie Stephens
  14. There area lot of guys in the Charlotte area that have '32 Fords,this is where we have the All Deuce run every year. HRP
  15. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,728

    from oregon

    Only page one, but(most) everything you might have asked is right here.
    You could go many directions and still not be wrong as long as you enjoy the process of the build, but don't get too caught up in all the little showcar type details or it could take a lot longer to get it on the road.
    The two things that make a true hot rod in my eyes are engines with enough horsepower that make you a little afraid of it, but not enough to keep you from having fun with it, along with a 4 speed.
    If your hot rod soul is truly rooted in the 60's, a 5 speed just won't cut it.
    The debate about steel and glass bodies has pretty much been covered at length on the HAMB, so all I will say is; look at my Wescott bodied car in my avatar photo and tell me that doesn't look like fun.
  16. 64 Thunderbolt
    Joined: Feb 8, 2011
    Posts: 277

    64 Thunderbolt

    Charlie Stephens, I have always been the type guy that studies things & plans them before I do things. I have also been the type guy that matches everything & that's part of planning & studying from the start.

    Just Gary, I will order that book.

    Guys I really am appreciating all the feed back here.
    Any advise or comments is well taken.

    Hotrodprimer that is a good fact to know about all the 32's in Charlotte that way I'll have others to talk to. Where I'm living now is 40 Ford country & I don't know of one 32 around here.

    Hey, if there's other things I need to know here post them. I really appreciate it.
  17. Here's the thread from this years deuce run,hopefully you can join in on the fun in the future. HRP

    All Deuce Run

  18. A true statement if I ever heard one.
  19. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,728

    from oregon

    If you were talking 302's; I'd agree with you, but there's been plenty of 221, 260, and 289's put in hot rods. I'm pretty much a sm. blk. Chevy kinda guy, but I have seen some cool stuff from the 60's with sm. blk. Fords in them.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
    seadog likes this.
  20. First of all, keep your build fun and keep up the planning.
    When you have it all nailed, stick with the plan and vary to a minimum.

    Nothing wrong with glass but steel just seems better at resale. For the up-front difference, do steel. Coil overs for ease of set up, but I think a proper leaf set up is better down the road.

    Traditional engines do flathead or if SBC, try an early chevy like 283 with front mounts and dress it traditional (can't believe I'm saying that)!

    You gonna run with a hood or no hood? I like SBF too but there will be issues as mentioned above. There is a Yblock thread going on now that is worth checking out.
    IMHO, the engine makes the car.

  21. There has been lots of good advice here, and your questions remind me of questions I had 3-4 years ago. Although a lot comes down to personal preference, the longer you stay here the more inclined you will be to go the traditional route. If i were you, I would buy a complete car and adjust things to your likings. There have been some good threads lately about making a street rod more traditionally styled.

    The advantages are you can drive it and enjoy it straight away, cheaper, easier. I am years into a build, and wish I had done the same thing, however being in Australia, I am not spoilt for choice like you guys are.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
    chevyfordman likes this.
  22. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,572


    That's always the argument ..who'd put a 221 or 260 in a HOT ROD when you could have a 283,327 409 354or a 312even a 352......289 was 63 ? 64 ? Hamb cut off is 65 " as traditional"

    It's rare to see pics of SBF in a hot rod especially pre 65 frankly it's a ugly motor ... You see them showing up in the late 60s 70s when this ford in a ford non-sense started

    I could be wrong but I'm going with SBF was exception not the rule
  23. chevyfordman
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 788


    This is really the route that I took, I wanted a steel car and I bought someone else's car and changed things to my liking. All the time I was driving it and having fun, in the winter I would change things and start driving in the spring again. I built one car, I don't like building cars, a lot of guys do, I like driving hot rods and improving them to my liking. The first thing people ask me is if I built the car, I say no. The second thing people ask me, is the car steel, I get to say yes. there is a guy in Kansas City who sells Brookville roadsters for $9600, waco32, a good way to go in my opinion. The biggest problem I encountered was that original 32 parts are so high so traditional is expensive but patience will pay off when looking. The end result is that roadsters are so much fun in my opinion, my favorite hot rod. I wish you luck.
  24. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 3,312


    IMO, Dream roadster would be a Dearborn Duece style body so you have windows and folding top that is always with you. I had a highboy roadster w/ bolt on top for 8 years here in Wisconsin and it got old, freezing my ass off and getting caught in the rain. Your area weather should be taken into your decision, IMO. SBC w/ tri-carbs for power. Several chassis available available, cross spring front, cross steering, coil over back, paint it black, tan leather interior, LOTS of Shiney stuff. You can put this together in a 60's style look pretty easy, now if you want true traditional, disregard my opinion and advice, and always remember, free advice is usually worth the price paid. Good Luck w/ your project and build it YOUR way, only person you need to make happy is YOU !
    chevyfordman likes this.
  25. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,629


    It may be an exception but it is what Henry would have wanted. Hybrids are not cool!
  26. rod1
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 635


    Dave,if I were you I would spend some time and give Krylon 32 a call.This guy has been around a long time,lives this stuff,and builds a heck of a product.Google Fatmans customer service and I think you'll find it's not what it used to be...I'd save your money and buy a Brookville body.

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