Images by Bruce Caldwell and Jerry Heasley
It’s ironic that the most iconic street rod of all, the 1932 Ford roadster, was a one-year wonder. Henry Ford was known for maximizing model runs (e.g., almost twenty years for the Model T), but the extremely handsome 1932 Ford was a single year body style. Most of the innovative V-8 running gear and chassis technology carried over, but the distinctive grille was a one-shot.
The styling of the 1932 Ford can be thought of as the ultimate refining of the Model A, since there is a natural progression between the two cars. For whatever reasons the 1932 Ford is the car that symbolizes hot rodding.
Early hot rodders were more attracted to the powerful new V-8 engine than the styling. The flathead V-8 (named for the design of its cylinder heads – the valves are located in the block, not the heads) was to the thirties what the small-block Chevy V-8 was to the fifties and beyond. Later versions of the flathead Ford (1946-1953) ruled hot rodding well into the fifties.
The incredible popularity of the 1932 Ford roadster boosted prices to a point where it became economically feasible to reproduce the car in fiberglass. A whole industry grew up around fiberglass 1932 Fords, and technology has now made it possible to accurately reproduce metal 1932 bodies.
The 1932 Ford roadster (affectionately known as the Deuce) has been built in many forms, but the two most popular are the fenderless highboy and the full-fendered street rod. Generally speaking, the highboys are considered more hot rods (greater performance potential), while the fendered versions are considered street rods.
Street Rod Icons
Street Rod Icons - Woodies
Street Rod Icons - 1937-1938 Chevys
Street Rod Icons - 1932 Ford Roadsters
Street Rod Icons - 1940-1941 Willys Coupes
Street Rod Icons - Model A Fords
Street Rod Icons - Model T Fords
Street Rod Icons - 1939-1940 Ford Coupes
Street Rod Icons - 1933-1934 Fords
Street Rod Icons - 1933-1935 Chevys
Street Rod Icons - 1932 Ford Coupes