1932 Ford High Boy Custom Roadster SOLD

RM Vintage Motorcars in Arizona - Biltmore Resort & Spa, Friday January 19, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $100,000 - $125,000

$126,500 Sold

BA203hp, 284 cu. in. L-head vee eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, live axle suspension with transverse leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulically-actuated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 106"

A good part of the legend of the flathead V8 engine is embodied in the hot rod culture that emerged from its tuning, modification and performance. The flathead ’ s potential was never in doubt and it did not take long for tuners to seize upon it and create ways to extract it. Edsel Ford was known for his sense of style and design and prudently avoided altering the mechanical engineering of his father ’ s design. However, he still understood the basics of performance. Harold Hicks, Ford ’ s chief aircraft engineer said Edsel “ knew the right way to get power out; the job was to get the stuff in there and explode it. ” Generations of hot rodders have developed that basic truth into an art form.

The other aspect of performance, practiced by no one better than Henry Ford, was to keep the weight out. Fords of the thirties, especially the early thirties, applied the principle better than any of their competitors, with a combination of light weight and strength that was unsurpassed.

Through the hot rod ’ s evolution, one model emerged as the rodder ’ s favorite: Henry Ford ’ s 1932 Roadster. The “ Deuce ” was the first V8-powered Ford and the first reasonably priced V8. The Deuce Roadster retained much of the Model A ’ s classic style, with a curvaceous grille shell that set it apart. The flathead V8 gave it performance that no side valve four could match. Deuce Roadsters were dirt-cheap by the late thirties. They were also light and amenable to modification with simple tools and basic skills. They ignited a revolution that spread from the back streets of California to the salt flats of Utah and throughout the United States, inspiring generations in magazines, television shows and iconic movies.

Over time, Deuce Roadsters evolved into two basic styles. The Lowboy ’ s body was channeled over the frame and frequently sectioned to reduce its overall height, lower the center of gravity and minimize wind resistance. The High Boy retained the stock body dimensions and mounting on top of the frame rails. It may have expended a few horsepower on frontal area, but it was a lot more comfortable for cruising.

With the arrival of overhead valve V8s from Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Chrysler and Chevrolet, hot rodders naturally gravitated to their greater displacement and better breathing. They could “ get [more of] the stuff in there ” before it was exploded. The classic flathead street rod was eclipsed by its competitors but never left the scene entirely. It has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years with both the restoration of period-built street rods and a whole new generation of flathead-powered rods hitting the streets and show circuit.

The Ford shown here, formerly part of the renowned Dingman Collection, is of the classic variety. It was originally built in the sixties and has been restored with the assistance of the experts in Jack Roush ’ s shop to classic fifties High Boy style. The powerplant is the strong postwar 59AB with 24-stud heads. Bored and stroked from its original 3 3/16" x 4" dimensions, it displaces 284 cubic inches. Three Stromberg 97 carburetors are mounted on an Edelbrock intake manifold and the block is capped with a pair of show-polished Edelbrock aluminum heads. The exhaust headers and tailpipes are beautifully crafted by Roush Engines in stainless steel. Upgraded to a 12-volt electrical system, sparks are now furnished by a concealed MSD high-energy ignition through a set of deliciously period translucent red plug wires. The combination has been dynamometer tested and delivers 203 brake horsepower through its 1939 Ford three-speed transmission to a 1940 rear end two- speed rear axle for relaxed cruising at today ’ s highway speeds. A finned aluminum oil filter housing helps keep things reliably lubricated and cool. 1940 Ford juice brakes bring things to a halt.

In appearance, this is the classic High Boy. Its steel body is finished in black with red leather throughout the interior and on the Glide Engineering bench seat. It rides on red 1940 Ford 16- inch steel wheels with hubcaps, trim rings and wide whitewall tires. The center of the classic Deuce grille housing and the engine block are both finished in matching red. In addition to stock Ford scripted headlights in chrome housings, it has cowl lights. The windshield is the stock Deuce folding screen to which a carefully crafted black cloth top, unusual but highly desirable for cruising, is attached. There are accommodations for a younger brother, or maybe a couple of grandkids, in the red leather upholstered rumble seat. Inside the cockpit, the dashboard is professionally finished in woodgrain paint. Three gauges, a stock Ford speedometer flanked by white-on-black Stewart-Warner fuel and oil pressure dials, reside in the engine turned Deuce instrument panel.

Fit, finish and function are all show quality and the concept and execution are presented with style and subtlety. There is no flash, no excess, and no egregious application of chrome or garish flames. This is a sweet, classic flathead Deuce High Boy with everything it needs, and nothing it doesn ’ t.

Reference Number 5851

as of 1/10/2007

Car 1932 Ford High Boy Custom Roadster
VIN 18021047  
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