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Hot Rod Potential: 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe

1932 Ford 5-Window

The worn out lacquer paint on this ’32 Coupe does scream “hot rod”, but the rest of the car is so original that it seems like a shape to chop things up. The original 4-cylinder is still in place as is most of the interior. The car is rough though so something needs to be done soon. The next owner could restore it, preserve it, or rod it. What would you do with it? Take a look at the eBay listing here and then let us know.


Personally, the thought of chopping the top of any original car like this is repulsive. There are fiberglass bodies for those kind of shenanigans. I wouldn’t be totally against turning this into a period style hot rod though. I’d leave the body alone and just focus on making it go fast. Period speed parts could be bolted on to get a little more power out of that four banger.

Dusty Interior

The interior is going to need some work to make it bearable, but besides recovering the door panels and seat, I wouldn’t do much else. No digital gauges or billet pieces in here please! The roof needs recovered too unless you want an open air experience.

Hot Rod Potential

Remove the fenders and lower it for a real racer look. In lieu of big slicks in the back, I would go with some skinny radials all around. Since I actually like to drive my classics, I would want to make this thing turn and brake as well as it goes straight. After getting it all sorted out, I would then enter it in the Hot Rod Hill Climb! Well, now that you have heard my vision for the car, let’s hear yours!


  1. Gnrdude

    Leave it alone, Anything that Original Should be Left Alone.

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    • Davnkatz

      My brother and a high school classmate – both now “gone” – had a ’32 Ford coupe (brother’s was a 3 window) as their first cars. The biggest difference I see is their cars had a “mother-in-law” seat in back. Boy-0-boy, how much fun I had riding in those rumble seats.

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  2. JamestownMike

    WOW! Bidding is at $38,100 and the reserve isn’t met!?!

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    • Brakeservo

      I think all bids early on and below the reserve should be regarded as shill bids. No serious bidder bids until the end of the auction.

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    • Michael Battaglia

      What were they bidding on up to $38,000 I know it was a while ago but I’m looking at a 33 ford five window and they want 38,000 for that. It’s a bonfire and absolutely no rust thanks Mike

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  3. Al8apex

    Ford products of that period were never lacquer

    In fact I don’t think Ford ever used lacquer, they always used enamel

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  4. Gerry

    Hope it gets restored,to bad it didn’t come with a V8

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  5. Francisco

    This is the “Little Deuce Coupe” from the Beach Boys’ song.

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    • Jason Houston

      Hopefully, not. Little Deuce Coupe, while a great song, is just another destroyed automobile. How many of these gems are left today, still unmolested?

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  6. steven

    Chop it drop it crop it wide block 9″ rear end billet wheels on mickey t,s clear coat it roof open Yee haa just for all the purists out there merry Christmas

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    • Jason Houston

      Merry Christmas to you, too, Scrooge! It’s so nice to learn all these old cars are so loved.

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  7. Sam Black Church

    Roof needs “TO BE”! recovered!!

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  8. Keith H

    1 Clean it up
    2 restore close to original
    3 See if get little more HP out engine .

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  9. Vince Habel

    I would put a flathead V8 in it and keep it pretty much the way it is except the brakes.

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  10. DRV

    Clear coat, new original style interior, modern brakes and an original to year V8 flathead . Drive this pretty design ax it was meant to look.

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  11. Rick

    I agree w/ gnrdude, that car is a survivor, and as beat up as it is, it’s worth preserving the originality, especially because its a 4 banger, not many of those left. There are plenty of restored 32 Ford 5 wndows around (and rodded versions) I would drive it with pride as is. And RE: Franciso – it’s close to The Beach Boys Little Duece Coupe, but not exactly, this one is a 5 window, the Beach Boys’ version was the more desireable 3 window

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  12. James

    One can only hope that as difficult as it will be this ’32 will be preserved not molested. That it’s a four cylinder is a plus not a negative and all the little details such as the unique of the era after market registration holder on the steering column not to mention the original engine compartment trays add to its charm.

    The interior and roof present the greatest challenges yet someone somewhere surely can surprise us with their expertise and craftsmanship. The mechanical bits need carefully recommissioned disturbing only those nuts and bolts essential to return this Ford to a safe road worthy state circa its 1932 production standard.

    Preservation class has come into its own finally, but we lost much automotive history in years past. I particularly like the term and reality of the Oily Rag cars – machines that have managed to survive the decades still to be driven today.

    Take a look at the British ‘The Automobile’ magazine’s Oily Rag preservation efforts by way of the link below – of course the special ’35 Ford Coupe will catch your eye, but read the Oily Rag Pop article on the publisher’s purchase of a 1954 Ford Popular 103E aka Ford Anglia to us Yanks:


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  13. Jonny the Boy

    I’d redo just enough to make it functional and reasonably comfortable. Linseed oil to preserve the metal. Then just run it as an aged hand-me-down. If I want a fast car, I can get a modern one.

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  14. Mark S

    This one of these cars where discernment is required. If you can get enough repro. Parts to make a whole car these days, then why would any one in there right mind molest this one. Sometimes a custom car is the right way to go. But this car is to complete and good enough shape to not do that. If this was my car, I would refurbish and clean it. Refinish the seats and door card repair the roof and repair the mechanics. Then linseed oil the exterior. It would be we my weekend cruiser. Nice to dream because at that price I’m out.

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  15. Bobsmyuncle

    Big money already. I doubt anyone spending that much is keeping it original. The money (and fun and usability) is in period hotrod.

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    • Mike

      All that crap is available new now. Why pay that much for something that is original just to hack it and make it worthless just like has been done to thousands of others?

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  16. 64 bonneville

    in 1932 the 4 cylinder Ford was called the model B. Very low production and extremely hard to find. make the vehicle drivable. and enjoy it They have mechanical brakes, and it is possible that the brake rods will need replaced. That being said, I would convert to hydraulic from a safety stand point. I don’t think that would hurt it in a Historical Preservations of Features (HPOF) class.

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  17. Chris in WNC

    restore as a last resort.

    clean up and drive is a much better choice.
    when done right the mechanical brakes are better than juice.

    rod this one and you’ll burn in old car hell ;-)

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  18. Dairymen

    Why does anybody want to hot rod it? There’s a boatloads of these available that are hot rodded already. Most people don’t even know what original 32 ford’s look like cause all they’ve seen is hotrodded. Make it drivable and enjoy it!

    Like 1
  19. Barzini

    This reminds me of a recent Fast n’ Loud episode where they used an original 1968 Corvette with a 427/4 speed to build a custom Hot Wheels style car. I have no issue with doing that to an ordinary Vette but why alter an original and rare car when there are so many alternatives? I feel the same way about this car.

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    • Mike

      Everything AssMonkey garage touches turns to junk.

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  20. geomechs geomechs Member

    Something like that is full resto all the way. You can get reproduction sheet metal so that should be the route that hot rodders take. I’d even leave the 4 banger, maybe balance it up but run that. Distributor had automatic advance and the lube system was upgraded to full pressure. Of course the price is way out of my range so all I can do is hope that the buyer does the right thing. I know what I’d do if it was to come my way…

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi geomechs, I think, with a few exceptions, we can agree, not to hot-rod it. There’s plenty of hot-rods out there. I’m not really sure why some people instantly think to rod it. Maybe because, they can’t relate to our past, and they’d rather hang from a rope at high noon, than poke along at 38 mph on some back road. Like old tractors, these cars are so simple, and every gray hair will give a thumbs up, everytime. I think it’s amazing, 80 years later, these are still popping up. Got to run out of supply pretty soon. Very nice find.

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  21. Bruce E

    My opinion for what it might be worth…”Patina” = crusty old sh**box that someone either can’t afford to paint, or doesn’t know how to do it themselves. The “patina” looks good only on a rat rod, where you are striving for “crusty”. This car is far to complete to chop up & rod. If that is the mission, get one in parts & pieces or go glass. While cars of this vintage won’t be a head turner at the local show, if it is restored with a nice paint job , original interior, and original drive line, it will be appreciated for what it is. Cars of this era are disappearing quickly to the hot rodders, and in my opinion original unmolested ones will hold a decent value in coming years.
    Before everybody assumes I’m a stodgy old fart that needs everything original, I’m not. I have build several rods, and restored several originals, and have a balanced opinion of both.

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  22. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I need some help here. Having only seen these hot-rodded out, I have a couple of questions. From the interior photo facing the backglass it looks like some type of handle. Does the back window open? Also it looks like a rollup shade above the rear window. Was that typical in the day? Thanks, Mike. Oh, still waiting for Santa!

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    • Bellingham Fred

      The cars that came with a rumble seat had a crank to open the back window to talk (or at least try to) back and forth between the rumble seat and front seat.
      I was hoping the ebay description would mention something re a rumble seat, but I didn’t see it.
      Not sure about the roll up shade if that is what it is.

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      • Francisco

        Trunk handle on bottom of lid, and lack of step on the fender means no rumble seat. This was called a business coupe and had a trunk. Yes, many of these cars had a rollup shade.

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      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Thanks for the info guys. That makes sense.

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  23. Dairymen

    I think the reserve on this car is quiet steep, but if you don’t have deep pockets here’s a 31 roadster in similar condition for only 16k (not mine, just found it):

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  24. wayne

    I would put a flathead V8 in it and keep it pretty much the way it is except the brakes.
    Read more at http://barnfinds.com/hot-rod-potential-1932-ford-coupe/#4pplZXCM6rz30toO.99

    What a brilliant way to halve ( or even less,)your investment.

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  25. rex rogers

    That 5 window belonged to the owner of our shop. It is a nice patina car. the interior would need some attention if the car were to be made road worthy again. Me personally i would leave the banger motor in the car there are some cool speed parts for those motors. and if the mechanical brakes are rebuilt they function just fine.

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  26. Jeff Mac

    Hot Rod that car, restoring is boring.

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  27. D S

    Here it is, Hot Rodded with new frame and injected small block chev.

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  28. D S


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    • Rex Rogers

      It looks like a good reliable car. The railroad ties for the display those had to be heavy.

      Like 0

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