1932 Ford Roadster: Buttoned Up and Running
Todd Anderson drops by the shop almost daily now. As we wrap up the build on his roadster he’s begun to share with us his plans for the car: A trip north to Fort Bragg in memory of his wife. A visit to Jerry Helwig’s family — Todd’s motor was the last Jerry built before his passing. Plus a long anticipated pilgrimage to Bonneville with a posse of old friends. It’s all very soulful stuff, this little roadster will be in good hands.
If you’ve been following the car’s progress, you know the parts and pieces Todd brought us were pretty soulful, too. A Deuce heavy axle with an inch and a half “Gentleman’s Drop,” an original grille shell and headlights, a beefy 3.54 banjo built by the Smith brothers out in Nampa, Idaho, and the aforementioned Helwig-built French flathead. Todd likes that traditional early postwar styling, and we do, too.
We’ve covered the flathead in previous posts but here’s another peek. The 25 louver hood, even when closed, gives you a pretty good view of the polished and detailed engine. Side pipes are stainless, straight-thru, and feature just enough baffling to keep the neighbors at bay.
The dash features a SoCal insert with Hot Rod gauges from Classic Instruments. Hidden up under the dash are a few simple amenities like a map light, a power port for Todd’s iPhone/iPod, and high-low controls for heated seats. With a three inch windshield chop, the rear view mirror blocked a lot of forward vision. We reshaped the original bracket to raise the mirror up and reduce the blind spot.
The hiboy stance comes from the late 40’s and early 50’s. If you’ve been following the progress, you’ll remember this took some work to achieve. We had to raise the rear a couple of inches to keep the tail from dragging. Todd wanted it to sit flat; gassed up and ready to roll it will. Our squawk list, including things like final headlight adjustment, is pretty short.
We fired the flathead and did the run-in a couple of days ago. It was 92° in the driveway, but once Gary had set the timing, the car sat and ran for 15 minutes at 170°. There are a couple of more details to sort out before Todd drives the roadster off for upholstery. Understandably, he’s chomping at the bit. A true beach guy, he offered us a “temporary” seat out of the back of his truck. It was fashionably color-coordinated, but we’ll bolt in something a more substantial to get him down the road.