Paying Homage To The Early Ford Hot Rods While Paving The Future.
By Dale M. Moreau – Photography By the Author
The history of old Fords and engine swaps practically began with the first one of Henry’s cars called a Model A in 1903. By the time the ’32 came around and changed history forever, guys had tried every way possible to make their Fords faster—and 112 years later it is still going on. Doug Beattie, of Vancouver, Washington, has gone back to the early days of the OHV V8 swap and emulated that practice, but at a higher level than was possible at the time. His ’32 Ford highboy three window coupe is just such an example.
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Starting with an original steel Henry Ford body was his first good move. Having master metal man Donne Lowe make it perfect was his second good move. While doing this, he gave it a haircut and removed 4 inches off the top. He also redid the original dash to accept a genie ’30s Auburn dash insert and filled it with vintage Stewart Warner gauges. The body and frame rails are covered with a rich tone of PPG ’50 Mercury Green darkened with black and topped with a gold pearl by Joel Jones. Night driving is assisted by a set of ’30 American LaFrance fire truck headlights and ’37 Ford tail lights with custom trim and stands made by Doug. Check out the rear bumper, Doug took a page out of the Little Books of the past and came up with a cool nerf bar with chrome plating by Jon Wright. Open a door and you’re invited right in by beautiful stitching in leather by Dave Feeken. So many stitchers of today have flat pleats and the seats look hard. Dave has the talent to make you want to go for a drive just to experience the touch of real workmanship. The ’40 Ford chromed steering column is topped with a beautiful Ford Crestliner steering wheel painted to match the upholstery.
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The chassis is a work of art, starting with a TCI chassis, which included front and rear crossmembers. Doug proceeded to revamp the rear to get the stance he wanted then made the motor mounts and all the necessary brackets to complete it. The front is held together with a 4-inch dropped axle and Johnson’s Rod Shop brake drums covering Wilwood brakes and radius rods. Outback is a 9 inch Currie rear end with 3:50 positraction gears and a four-link suspension with coilover springs. Rollers are a set of chrome Artillery wheels from Coker coming with 15×5 for the front and 15×7 in the rear, shod with Firestone bias-ply 560×15 front and 820×15 on the rear.
Sandwiched in between all this good stuff is a cool Oldsmobile 303 Rocket V8 bored and stroked to 331 inches. It is topped with vintage tri-power carbs, intake manifold, and valve covers. Trailing up behind is Hydro B&M transmission. Doug also made the custom exhaust system right in his own shop. Not many guys who “build” their own cars have the knowledge or the shop to do this kind of work.
This is not the first car that Doug and Diane have done, their garage is filled with many examples. It includes the Futurama ’40 Ford that took home all the marbles in the custom category a few years ago at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California. This ’32 is a testament of creativity that blends the technology of today with the history of yesteryear; it doesn’t get any better than that. MR