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1932 Ford Roadster Part II: Headlights and more

by Dave on February 11, 2016

Occasionally we get up off the concrete and out from underneath these cars. A man needs a little perspective, something more worldly than the weekly car-guy caffine-fest at our local Starbucks. Gary spent a few weeks in Amsterdam and Paris, and I took off for Hawaii for some wetsuit-free recreation. The warm, balmy water worked wonders on the kinks I’d accumulated climbing under these hot rods and woodies.

In spite of the time away, we’ve made progress on Todd Anderson’s Deuce roadster. Before heading off to the GoodGuys West Coast Nationals this weekend, I thought I’d share some photos.

In our last post, we’d started on the exhaust and steering. We’ve also added an under-floor box for the fuse panel, mounted the battery, and built a set of floorboards.

Up under the dash, just behind the firewall, we’ve installed a crossbar. It adds a bit of rigidity to the cowl area, plus it provides a sturdy tie-in for mounting panels for under-dash doodads like a power port, map light, and turn signals.

If you’re into these hiboys at all, you know headlight placement can literally make or break a car. There’s the down-at-the bottom-of-the-grille shell look that’s been popularized by the Rolling Bones. It’s driving some builders to exaggeration, if the trend continues headlights are going to need skid plates. On the other extreme, you have the vintage, bolt-on, cast aluminum stalks, the ones that place the headlamp buckets a mile up and a mile away from the grille shell. They may be period-correct, but they can make an otherwise handsome car look frog-eyed.

Todd’s car is traditionally-styled, so we built his headlight bar with traditional materials. We started by cutting up a ’28 – ’29 Model A bar we scored at the Sacramento Swap Meet. We cut the bar at the pads, then rotated the uprights outward to give them a more gracious sweep. The Model A crosspiece is straight, so we muscled it around a buck to give it the same arch as a Deuce.

For some reason, the top of the frame rail had a whoop-dee-doo right in the area of our upright mount. A little persuasion and it flattened out.

Width and height of the mounting cups has to be dead-nuts square to the grille shell, so there’s a lot of fine-tuning; grind, tack, eyeball — repeat. Todd provided us with an absolutely perfect pair of original Deuce headlights. They’re large, so their size also had to figure into the equation. Here’s our first full mock-up. Do the headlights need to move up? Down? In? Out? We’ll sleep on it.

Finally, we’ve had issues with the roadster’s stance. Here’s how it sits as delivered to our shop. With a full tank of gas, tools, luggage, ice chest, and a couple of buddies aboard, we think it’ll be a bit of a tail dragger.

Here’s how we’d like to see the car sit. Like the headlights, an inch or two can make it or break it.

In closing, we’d like to congratulate the guys (especially all the Santa Cruz-area locals) that went out to Bonneville this year and made record passes. There are literally thousands of photos of Speed Week on the internet, but this one especially caught our eye. It’s our neighbor and friend Jesse Nickell, on the salt, armed and dangerous.

From → Past Projects

  1. Phil, you’re a clairvoyant. Marketing geniuses that we are, we finally got around to printing shop T-shirts. I picked them up a couple of days ago.

  2. ps where is my 2xlarge T shirt, so i can advertize free for you guys?

  3. phil farmer permalink

    the headlights are perfect, i like to see the body line and the tire radis at the same time just outlining the tire. this also ads the (dago) look to the body from the rear view

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