This year marks the 80th birthday of the 1932 Ford, and as good a time as any for another look at one of the company’s most beloved cars.
NOTE — Since it was first published, this feature has been revised and expanded. You can find the latest version here.
The Deuce is so frequently hot-rodded and reproduced that original and authentically restored examples are relatively rare. In the interest of history (and just to be different) this piece will focus on strictly stock vehicles. In the slide show gallery below, you’ll find a number of original factory photos, as well as some restored cars photographed recently at the 2012 EyesOnDesign car show in suburban Detroit.
While the ’32 Ford is forever associated with the famed flathead V8 engine introduced the same year, roughly a third of the approximately 323,000 passenger units in 1932 were four-cylinder Model B vehicles. The V8 carried the Model 18 designation. However, all the various body styles carry a B prefix in their identification regardless of the engine type; for example, B-40 for Roadster and B-520 for the Deluxe Coupe (aka three-window; body by Murray.)
Although the Deuce is held in high regard today, in 1932 it was a bit of a lemon, at least by today’s consumer standards. The V8 engine was fraught with development problems throughout the model year, including overheating and crankshaft failures, while the chassis was prone to flexing and cracking, which in turn produced fracturing and tearing of the body sheet metal. The center crossmember was upgraded several times while the frame rails were reinforced at the rear kickup using multiple methods.
The ’32 is that rare thing among early Fords, a one-year model. Unlike the earlier T and A and in contrast to the later ’33 to ’48 V8 models, the Deuce pretty much stands alone. There’s considerable parts interchangeability with other years, naturally, but the bodies, frame, and many other components are unique to ’32. And as early Ford enthusiasts know, Deuce parts sell for 50 to 100 percent more than comparable pieces for other years, and for no other reason than they are Deuce parts.
And Deuce guys pay these prices. The ’32 Ford is just special that way. It has that hold on people. In the photograph above, the young lady only assumes the young man is carving her initials in the tree. More likely, he’s professing his devotion to that cherry three-window. More photos below.
Note: Lives have been spent and volumes have been recorded exploring the history and lore of the 1932 Ford. If you’d like to learn more about the Deuce, these two books are a great start:
The Early Ford V-8 as Henry Built It by Edward P. Francis and George De Angelis, Motor Cities Publishing Co;, ISBN 0-911383-03-4; $41.95
The 1932 Ford Book: A Production Chronicle and Restoration Guide by David G. Roher, The Early Ford V8 Club of America; ISBN 978-0-615-26201-7; earlyfordv8.org; two volumes; $84.95