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’50s Hot-Rod Find: 1932 Ford V8 Pickup

Anytime you put 1932 and Ford together, the assumption is that you’re talking about a Deuce Coupe. Not quite the case here as we have a 1932 Ford pickup. And, this one is a bit special as it was hot-rodded back in 1955 and it is still wearing its Happy Days threads. Let’s look it over, it’s located in Redding, California and is available, here on Facebook Marketplace for $27,000 – another great find from Ikey H.!

When I first spied this truck, I thought I heard the faint strains of “Rock Around the Clock” playing in the distance like some lost radio transmission from years ago that never really goes away. And that rock and roll number was right at the heart of hot-rodding, a movement in the ’50s in which the ’32 Ford played a major role. The production statistics for the ’32 Ford are recorded with the total hovering in the 275K unit range, it varies a bit depending on the source employed. And there is a breakdown by body style available but not one that breaks out the pickup, at least not one that I could find. What is known is that there were two different pickup truck styles offered, one with a closed cab, like our example, and another that was of an open cab bearing. The open cab variety is supposedly rare but I couldn’t determine how rare. Initially, Ford’s new flathead V8 (Model 18) was not destined for the pickup, they were to be Model B, four-cylinder engines only but that edict either never went into effect or didn’t last.

The seller of this Model 18 truck claims that it was modified by an individual in Wyoming in 1955, rarely driven, and ultimately parked in 1982. It is supposedly still in its 1955 condition though the interior looks brand new. In particular, the rolled vinyl under-dash firewall wrap and vinyl floor covering appear untouched by human feet. The instrument panel is perfect in it’s 1932 Ford simplicity and sensibility. The seller states that the steering wheel is from a ’51 Ford Crestliner – it actually looks like a more recent design than 1951 to my eyes but I hardly know Ford steering wheels. As is often the case today with ’30s vintage hotrods, there is no third pedal, not the case here.

The, what looks like plywood, tailgate seems incongruous with the rest of the design of this truck. It just seems tacked on and doesn’t follow the flow or craftsmanship of the overall bodywork. The cargo bed and raised bed sides follow suit but they seem totally appropriate, however. The body and finish, overall, are in excellent shape – this truck has been stored well.

Power is courtesy of a 1949 vintage, 8BA flathead V-8 which should be a 100 HP, 239 CI motor. The engine has been updated with twin carburetors so there may be some power improvement. “The engine runs” is all of the operating encouragement rendered in the listing. As noted earlier, this is a three-pedal Ford and it has a three-speed manual Ford transmission handling all things gear related. The seller claims that three of the tires are original Goodyear items – no description of tire number four. I would suggest that all four be replaced before this truck does anything more than a test drive.

This truck is a real component of automotive Americana, a true time-piece. I hope it finds a new home with someone who will appreciate it for what it is and not what it might become.  I’m curious to know, do any readers now, or in the past, ever owned a ’32 Ford?  Care to share your experience?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    To answer your question… 1 ’32 five window coupe, full body, no chop, dropped front axle, dropped rear spring ends, ’48 Merc warmed over engine with twin Stromberg 98s, ’39 gear box, stock rear end, Merc wheels over late Ford hydraulic brakes, filled grill radiator cap opening, late ’40s rectangle Olds or Pontiac taillights (forgot which car they came off), with medium blue paint and blue and white interior. Great car, lots of fun, and traded even for the ’33 pickup commented on in the Model A ad. As for this truck, it looks a little disjointed all over more than anywhere else. sort of like a bunch of guys got together in a garage and built each feature independently. Good to see history still preserved though.

    Like 6
    • Jim ODonnell Staff


      Sounds way cool! You can be my go-to guy for ’32s as we come across quite a few on BF and it has been a learning exercise for me.



      Like 2
  2. Johnny

    Very nice and neat looking old truck. The looks of it keeps telling me to do my 41 Chevrolet pick up the same way. . I have a 396 to put in it. I,m wanting to get a garage up first. I told the woman.Next year I am coming first and getting me a garage up. I didn,t care who got mad. I really like this old Ford . Someone has put alot of work,money and planning to get it to looking good. If its in good a shape–mechainc and everything. It looks like its reasonable priced.

    Like 2
  3. junkman Member

    Woulda been nice if they twisted the front bumper back straight before taking the front end photo. Still a very cool period piece. 32s seem to be the Holy Grail of hotrods to this day. Someday….

  4. DavidL Member

    Anyone else see that the heads are red in all the pictures but the last one which shows silver finned heads? Just wondering. All in all, a little too much red for my taste but that’s just me.

    Like 1
    • Norman Wrensch

      Yes I noticed that too, the aluminums look like a hi compression type, but still not very high on a flatty.

    • Steve RM

      Good catch on the heads. While not my favorite build style (think metallic vinyl) I really like this truck. The vinyl “carpeting” would have to go though.

  5. Charles Sawka

    Love the flathead ! I grew up in this era !

    Like 2
  6. Vince H

    Some where there is a 49 Plymouth without bumpers.

    Like 2
  7. Huntley Hennessy

    Aluminum head on one side? Weird

  8. gaspumpchas

    I’m thinking the pic with the aluminum head was taken years ago? Looks like a mild chop, 2 inch maybe? Beautiful time capsule. Bobhess disjointed is fine, these guys were true hotrodders with little extra money and did what they could and thought it would look great. Just beautiful. I did a 33 pickup like this one, but had a 283 linked to a 39 drivetrain. Turned out great but being a 6’2″ old grey hair, I could drive it for about 15 minutes it was so cramped. Good to see this preserved. Stay safe and good luck,

  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    I remember when this type of build was in vogue. Agree that tailgate has to go . The spot lights were desirable in the 50’s but somehow look wrong now. Price seems a little optimistic to me considering the overall condition. There are plenty of nice outside country settings in the Redding area that would have made a better background than in that garage and would have set the car apart and give it a better highlight. I have my own ideas about what I’d do with this little truck which would involve keeping the current drivetrain.
    God bless America

  10. GOM

    Definitely a ’51 Ford steering wheel (we had a ’51 Victoria 2 door from 1951 until 1962.)

    Like 1
  11. Larry Ashcraft

    That is indeed a 1951 Ford steering wheel, same as in my 1951 Custom two door back in the day.

    Like 1
  12. Curtis Marquart

    My father done up a ’32 Ford pickup in1954 . Full fendered , channeled so much the doors barely clear the running boards , four inches off the lid , the back of the box bobbed 12″ with a 303″ Olds mill . Painted red and gangster white walls. Turned 103 m.p.h. September 5th 1955 at St. Louis , ILL. Drags.

  13. DavidL Member

    Would’ve loved to see that!

  14. Matt

    Overall a nice presentation. I wonder how this gets up and goes with that flathead ? I wonder also about the tailgate, but that’s what they chose to do I guess.


  15. vintagehotrods

    Although the seller lists it as a ’32, it is actually a ’33. The first clue is the protruding firewall, which is welded in. A ’32 firewall is flush and is removable, like all ’32 Fords are. The next clue is its sitting on a ’33 frame, which is quite different than a ’32 frame. The ’33 frame has a 6″ longer wheelbase at 112″, versus the ’32 with a 106″ wheelbase. Another clue is the box sides and the distance from the front of rear wheels and the back of the cab. This is where you can see the 6″ longer wheelbase shows up. The cab looks like its been chopped about 6″ too, and yes, that’s a ’51 Ford steering wheel.

    I have been chasing and collecting ’32 Fords for over 25 years and own a ’32 Ford pickup, which is in my collection of nine ’32 Fords (plus a few more early Ford V-8’s). I started with just the cab and built this one as a unchopped, full fendered Hot Rod with a shortened box, powered by a 355 Chevy I built, hooked up to a Turbo 350 with a ’57 Ford 9 inch rear end. It has heat and air conditioning, cruise control, SiriusXM radio and can go anywhere. I did everything on it except rebuild the trans, upholster the seat and spray the paint.

    Here is my favorite pic of I took on the “Road To The Sun” in Glacier National Park……..

    plus a few more taken that day……..

    some on Route 66 near Williams, Arizona……..

    towing my ’32 Vicky project……..

    And some of my collection……..

    Like 3
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Very nice! Thx for sharing and the model year clarification. You might be surprised how many sellers have the model year of their sale candidate wrong. Not just old Fords but many other brands/years too.


      Like 1
    • Camaro guy

      Very cool truck the whole collection is great I have a friend that lives in Lake Havasu AZ that has a bunch of 32’s not this extensive but still noteworthy thanks for sharing

      Like 1
      • vintagehotrods

        I probably know him and have been going to Lake Havasu for their Deuce Day Show since it started. If you want to see over 150 Deuces in a beautiful park setting, Lake Havasu is the place to be.

        My good friend, John Stimac, there has an amazing Deuce collection that’s in these pics that I took of the 2018 show.

        Here is their website for the show for anyone that wants to come next March.

  16. bobhess bobhess Member

    If anyone out there had the same problem I did when I wanted higher compression on the Merc engine, lack of sufficient cash, then the next best thing I did was go to the local machine shop/engine builder and have a whole bunch of metal taken off the bottom side and a couple of divits to clear the valves. GPC, wasn’t coming down heavy on the build but as I remember it took half the neighborhood to build one of my cars and everyone had their own territory to work on. Probably close to true here. Also, I’m the world’s greatest fan of the ’49 Merc hub caps so it gets my vote there.

    Like 1
  17. Dave Mathers

    I put a 324″ Olds/hydramatic into a 29 coach when I was 13. Frame Z’d and drop front axle. BUT later I built a 32 pickup as, wait for it, a STOCK CAR!! That was 51 years ago. I wish I still had the body!!

  18. Joe Haska

    Thank you Vintage Hot Rods for showing “The B/F Readers” ,what a Deuce P/U looks like. If they just look at yours and then look at the one listed, they should be able to figure it out. Just because it was was built along time ago doesn’t make it a great car or a fantastic vintage Hot Rod, trust me that red P/U isn’t any of those things. I have had several 32’s and I still have my 34 Coupe ,that I bought in 1963, it looks like the black one on the lift in Vintage Hot Rods post, except its a 5 window.

    • vintagehotrods

      Thanks Joe! You might remember me from when we had a long late night conversation at Kellogg West during the LA Roadster Show about 5 years ago. We happened to meet because you go way back with my best friend, Mike D, who I was there with. We talked about a lot of hot rod stuff and I was encouraging you to take a look at moving to Prescott. Happy Holidays! Jerry

  19. Don

    One picture shows a pre 1949 engine, {water outlet in center of the head} the next one shows a 1949 or later engine, outlet at the front

  20. Joe Haska

    Jerry, I do remeber you, in fact I still have your card. I think we were just part time in Az. and thinking about moving here permanently. We did that and are happy with the choice. I think I told you,I thought Prescott’s climate was too similar to Colorado and I didn’t want any more snow or cold weather. We have discoverd, there is no snow in Phoenix!
    Just finishing a 53 F-100 ,my 5th one and my last, I hope. This one suppose to be a keeper, if not ,it will be my last. If you can’t get it right after 5 try’s, it’s time to try something else.
    Thanks for reaching out and have a happy holiday.

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