Hemi Powered: 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe

If you trace the history of hot rods back to their roots, the overriding theme on these builds is ingenuity. Owners generally didn’t have a mountain of cash to spend, so they adapted and modified what was on hand to create the car of their dreams. That spirit is embodied in this 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe. It wears all of the signature design features that are the hallmarks of a hot rod, but the V8 lurking under the hood shows that willingness to adapt. When you look at its specifications, it should offer pleasing performance in a package that is guaranteed to turn heads. If a classic hot rod is your heart’s desire, you will find this old Ford located in Dow, Illinois, and listed for sale here on eBay. It has attracted a single bid of $30,000 at the time of writing, but this figure is short of the reserve.

This 5-Window Coupe is your stereotypical hot rod. Its body is all genuine Ford steel that appears to be in good condition. There is no visible evidence of rust or other nasties, while the panels are as straight as an arrow. Its Black paint shines nicely, although I believe that it would benefit from some careful polishing. The builder has dumped the front and rear fenders to give the vehicle a tougher and more aggressive appearance, while he has removed the side sections for the hood so that the whole world can admire the beating heart of this classic. In typical hot rod fashion, there is minimal chrome. The steel wheels and old-school hubcaps hark back to simpler times, while the 4″ drop front axle and 1950 Pontiac taillights add the perfect finishing touches to the exterior appearance.

Potential buyers shouldn’t expect to find anything cast iron from the good people at Ford occupying this rod’s engine bay. The builder elected to slot a 331ci Chrysler Hemi of 1955-vintage into the empty space, while the rest of the drivetrain includes a four-speed 700R4 automatic transmission and a Ford 9-inch 3.50 rear end. Attached to the drop axle are an F-1 steering box and front brakes, while a Chevrolet big-block water pump stops that Hemi from going the full Chernobyl. Helping the V8 to produce respectable power figures, it sucks its air and fuel through an Edelbrock 650cfm carburetor while the spent gases exit via a set of Sanderson headers and what appears to be a relatively new dual exhaust. Depending on where it started its life, this Hemi would have produced somewhere between 250 and 300hp. I’d be willing to bet that the figure is probably slightly higher today. This is where the story of this old Ford becomes somewhat frustrating. The owner describes it as a nice car but provides no information on how it runs or drives. The Go Jacks under all four wheels raise some doubts in my mind. They may merely be there to maneuver the car in a confined space. It seems that potential buyers may have a few questions to ask on that front.

This Ford’s interior has an air of elegant simplicity, and it appears to need very little. The seats wear Black leather upholstery and this material is continued to the door trims. The upholstery is in good order, with no wear or visible problems. The carpet may be faded, but this could also be a trick of the light in the low-quality photos the seller supplies. The gauge cluster features a good selection of vintage-look gauges to monitor this classic’s health, although I’m not that thrilled with the weld quality where the gauge cluster is attached to the dash. Still, that might be something for potential buyers to consider if they wish to place their mark inside this Coupe. The leather-wrapped wheel should make driving more comfortable, while it and the heater seem to be the only creature comforts. Some might consider this to be pretty bare-bones, but it is in keeping with traditional hot rodding philosophy.

The classic hot rod scene was at the peak of its power between the 1950s and the start of the 1980s. People then began to turn their backs on these vehicles, but a hardy group of enthusiasts continued to carry their torch. That is a good thing because cars like this are probably more important today than at any time in automotive history. If you lift the hood on any modern high-performance vehicle, you will be confronted by acres of plastic and mysterious boxes filled with electronic black magic. Those cars leave little scope for a genuine enthusiast to gain satisfaction from the acts of tweaking and tuning. For those who enjoy finding grease under their fingernails, modern cars leave them in the cold. That raises the specter of those skills slowly disappearing from home workshops, which would be a tragedy for the classic car world. Hot rods are the genesis of the modern custom car scene, and that is why vehicles like this 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe deserve to be preserved and enjoyed.


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  1. KDogg

    nice car. only thing that jumps out is that steering wheel just isn’t the right vibe

    Like 10
  2. Gunner

    331 Hemi to a 700R4? News to me. Obviously they made an adapter. The 331 was in the first year 300, correct? Personally, I would have went with a Ford Flathead using 24 stud Offenhauser heads and 2 Holley 94’s. Love the five-window. Looks badass just sitting still. Love the dog-dish look. Would change the steering wheel to something more vintage. Great write up.

    Like 7
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Once had a 55 Dodge PU with a Desoto Hemi of roughly the same vintage. They are surprisingly easy to bring back to life after a long sleep. They can put out amazing power for their size. It still had the truck tranny which was something else, having a granny gear in it but it was still was fun.
    As far as this coupe goes, I like it and hope someone that appreciates it puts it back on the highway.

    Like 2
  4. Dave

    60 years ago, they made engine/transmission adapters for practically anything you were likely to find in a wrecking yard. I remember seeing them in a J.C. Whitney catalog.
    Now…punch that Hemi out to 392 cubes, add the dual-quad manifold and a hot cam, and let’s go looking for Milner…

    Like 8
    • RKS

      You can’t punch a 331 out to a 392. The 331 is a low deck block and the 392 is a raised deck block. They are different creatures in other ways as well.

      Like 6
  5. David Scully

    This deuce 5-window shows a lot more genuine ‘hot rod’ work than the much less modified ’32 featured a few iteration back with a Chev V8 install. This builder split the front wishbone and added a later rear end while still using the original transverse rear spring. I’d guess that the main reason there are no side panels on the hood isn’t so much to show off the hemi, but rather the fact that the heads hang out over the frame rails by about 3-4″ at the front, requiring some very fancy body work – even on a flat panel replacement.

    Like 4
  6. Ron Trainor

    Wonderful write-up!!

  7. Morley Member

    Now that is just about a perfect hot rod. And I want it, but I would need to trade something—-I have no more room. Morley

    Like 2
    • Morley Member

      Trade for this and some cash ????????? Please please please

      Like 1
  8. tony t

    The torque convertor is swingin’ around in the breeze! Yikes.

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