Live Auctions

Hot Rodder’s Holy Grail: 1932 Ford Roadster

Where else would you find a real-deal, Henry Ford steel, 1932 Ford roadster? Detroit of course. This “Hot Rod Holy Grail” was supposed to be a project for the seller’s father. In fact, the car was purchased in 1954 and has been sitting for the past 66 years! Unfortunately, the father has passed away and the family is ready to part with it. The roadster can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $20,500 and the reserve hasn’t been met yet. Have a look at this awesome roadster!

In 1932 Ford introduced the flathead V8 engine. Suddenly moonshine runners, crooks, and cops had V8 power on-tap, which made the ’32 Ford wildly popular. Ford also updated the front end design of their cars and trucks in 1932 and they have been sought after ever since. Here you can see what appears to be most of the drivetrain located in the trunk. The seller doesn’t say exactly what is there, but they do say there are four transmissions!

It’s a little hard to tell what is going on where the engine is/used to be. There are a couple of milk crates, which I’m guessing house some of the engine components. It appears like the owner started the restoration but it stalled at some point. The dash looks original, but it is a little hard to tell. Obviously, this car will need a full restoration, but if someone wants to turn it into a hot rod, there is a ton of potential with this one!

The sale also comes with the vintage car lift that it sits on along with the front fenders and other miscellaneous parts. If I was interested in purchasing this car, I would do everything I could to inspect it in person. It seems like there is more to this story than what you can tell from the photos. How about you? Have you ever purchased a car without inspecting it first?


  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Barn Finds: This 1932 Ford Roadster is a hot rodder’s holy grail
    1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe: Am I a joke to you?

    Like 17
    • jerry hw brentnell

      vanderbrink auctions is having a unreseved sale of 32 plymouths a few coupes with rumble seats and wooden trunks that are in nice shape and complete and a 32 plymouth is a 100 percent better car than a any ford or chev, in 32 ever was and still is years ahead of both of them! sale is on nov,14 in atchison kansas it on her web page, no good to me in canada,, boarders locked down, not buying nothing sight unsean ever

      Like 4
      • vintagehotrods

        Unfortunately Jerry, no one wants a ’32 Plymouths and they rarely bring the money that a ’32 Ford does due to that. There is a reason so many ’32 Fords survive today, even 88 years later. Henry built a quality, low priced car for the masses and they were well loved by the average working man. Ford’s flathead V-8 with their nearly 80 MPH top speed made them the car that bank robber Clyde Barrow preferred to outrun the cops without blowing up or breaking down. He even wrote a letter to Henry Ford telling him that.

        Performance Test: 7-25 mph, 7.5 seconds; 10-60 mph, 23 seconds (V-8 Times, November/December 2009) Top speed – 85.6 mph mph (V-8 Times, November/December 2009.


        “The stamina, economy and endurance of the Ford V-8 was strikingly demonstrated recently when Eddie Pullen, famous racing driver, and his crew drove a Ford V-8 33,301 miles in 33 days, 4 hours and 35 minutes—the equivalent of three years’ normal driving in one month. The run was made near Rosamond, California, in the Mojave desert, and lasted from June 6 to July 9,” according to S. H. Cooley, local Ford dealer. “Results of this unique test designed to test the performance of the Ford V-8 under harder than average driving conditions showed that the car averaged 41.8 miles per hour throughout the entire distance,” continued Cooley. “It averaged 19.64 miles per gallon of gasoline and consumed only 4 pints of oil per thousand miles. The first set of tires averaged 27,625 miles each, though they still had some mileage left in them at the time of replacement. Pennzoil motor oils and lubricants were used exclusively, and every working part, Pennzoil protected, came through without a single repair. The results turned in by the Ford V-8 prove the importance of following factory specified lubrication recommendations with high quality products. “Three regular drivers covered the major portion of the mileage, but over 150 interested spectators piloted the car for nearly 5000 miles. A 82-mile course was used and during the run the car was driven over 12,181 miles of pavement, 17,490 miles of oiled road, and 3630 miles of rough dirt road. “The Ford V-8 was driven at the rate of 1000 miles per day for the entire distance—one and a third times ’round the world. For days the desert temperature soared to 110, 112 and even 114 degrees. This intense heat, combined with desert winds and sand, and the steady grind at high average speed, to make a stiff test for both car and crew. “Throughout, the run was under the observation of Los Angeles newspaper representatives and the timing was officially checked by Western Union.”

        Video of it here:

        The Plymouth’s flathead four just couldn’t compete with the revolutionary Ford V-8.

        1932 Ford V8 Promotional Film

        1932 – The Invention of the Ford V-8 Engine

        The Plymouth was a good quality, well engineered car but it just didn’t catch the imagination of the American people that the V-8 Ford did and the mystique of the Deuce continues to this day.

        The demand is so great for ’32 Fords that Brookville makes perfect reproduction steel ’32 roadsters, three window coupes, their version of a roadster pickup and a two door phaeton. In addition to that United Pacific makes a perfect reproduction five window coupe and a pickup. The Dearborn Deuce is another version of the ’32 roadster that can be ordered with power widows and a power top. Plus the thousands of reproduction fiberglass ’32 Ford bodies that have been made over the last forty years.

        Like 1
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Good project! Too much for me and I’ve got other stuff waiting. But the temptation is there. I’ve always wanted a Deuce roadster, complete with flathead V8 but it’s always been one of those things that are usually out of sight, out of mind. I read a story in one of Dad’s magazines where this guy bought an older acreage and was cleaning the place up prior to doing some construction. There was a ramshackle garage off to the side and when he got inside he discovered a car that was in a major state of disassembly. Further investigation revealed that he had inadvertently become the owner of a 3-window Deuce coupe. It was a 4-cylinder B-model but it was still all there. The guy wasn’t much of a car guy until he got into the project and did a pretty good job restoring it. I wish I could run across deals like that.

    Like 20
  3. rosti

    since it has 39 Ford taillights… seems like its already on the hot rod track.

    Like 12
  4. rosti

    AND 40 Ford streering wheel and redone dash to include extra gauges seems like it was a hot rod already

    Like 8
  5. rosti

    did I mention the 39 Ford taillights?

    Like 5
  6. rosti

    split wishbone, shaved door and deck… this was a hot rod already, but on further inspection of the images, the rust is suggests this was driven in Detroit winters at some point too and then there is the floor. Wonder what condition the frame is in?? My old hot rod was from Santa Ana, CA and needed some minor body and frame work and still cost $$$. This one is major! Good luck to the new owner. Not sure what reserve is, but the bid at this point seems close to all the money.

    Like 13
  7. Age A

    Yes, I have just purchased my first “Internet Vehicle Purchase” (IVP). I looked at photo’s from the dealership, emailed sales person with questions and sent credit card info and vehicle was delivered within 3 days. To safety I replaced i lower ball joint, new rims, (not required for safety but they just needed new because of scratches, dings and poor curb parking) and tires. I guess this is going to be the normal procedure for buying unless you have no fear of getting Covid19. Oh…the vehicle, a Ford Escape has had zero issues after 3,000+ kilometers of driving.

    Like 3
  8. Joe Haska

    No doubt this is the Holy Grail to old time Hot Rodders, such as myself. However, the discovery looks to be a day late and a dollar short. Or maybe, I should say years late and way too many dollars ahead. The author ask’s , would you buy without an inspection? This is the perfect example, there is no way of knowing what is actually there, without a complete inspection and inventory. I am generally not pesimistic, but in this case, I would be scared silly and I am fearless. The seller says it needs a little TLC. REALLY!

    Like 19
  9. Frank Sumatra

    When I saw this my first word was “Holy” but the second word was not “Grail”

    Like 38
    • Phlathead Phil

      Was the second word “Ship?”

      Kinda like “I’d like to ship my pants?”

      Asking for a friend. 🎃

      • Frank Sumatra

        @Phlat- Pretty close. I was thinking it would be cool to use it for local food deliveries. I was convinced it was a real “Pizza Ship”

  10. Joseph

    No, I would never purchase a car without seeing it in person. I bought a barn find car last year. I went to the sellers location, examined the car and worked out a deal. I will send info about it later. But a friend bought an old car sight unseen and had it shipped to him. It turned out to be way worse condition than described. Since it was so much worse, he eventually abandoned the project and it never got done. Not everyone is dishonest but you simply don’t know. He ended up selling the two old Cadillacs (one was supposed to be a parts car but they were really both parts cars) to a guy who said he was sending the cars to Poland to have one restored. He said skilled auto restoration is not expensive there even when figuring in the shipping costs. Does anyone at BF know of any restorations done that way and how it worked out?

    Like 3
  11. Will Fox

    Not a fan of `32’s here, but for anyone so inclined to take this project on, I say ‘good luck’! You’ll need that and a whole lot of money!!

    Like 10
  12. Dan H

    Interesting. Man buys a 32 roadster and a 32 coupe. Appears to not have done much with them but let them deteriorate. Many years later he and his son sell them in non operational condition.

    I’ve been working on a project car and this has inspired me to get it running (maybe not as perfect as originally planned), but so I can at least enjoy it. Then later if I decide I can take it to the next level. Life is too short.

    Like 8
  13. piston poney

    when i bought my first car i looked it over like 5 times before i bought it.

    Like 1
  14. K

    a real crate engine

    Like 26
  15. Larry Z

    32’s are great, my brother had a 5 window. Coupe back in the 60’s,had a lot of good memories with that car, now that being said, I see alot of rust everywhere, it’s gonna take along time to sort out what you need, what’s worth saving and figuring out what’s what. And a very large barrel of $100 Bill’s to get this one going

    Like 6
  16. Rodney - GSM

    “Little Deuce Coupe you don’t know what I got”
    …no kidding.

    Like 9
  17. Mark

    32’s are awesome. On my wish list.
    This one is going to be a handful to bring back to life and kudos to the person who can pull it off.
    In my case I’d rather drive down the road to Brookville Roadster and start fresh.

    Like 3
  18. Steve R

    As mentioned above, this already IS/WAS a hot rod. Look at the top, taillights and door handles. That elevates this 32 roadster to an even higher level. You can bet there are people scouring old publications and photographs trying to find a glimpse of this car prior to its internment. Period hot rods are the true holy grail, hopefully someone can trace its history and resurrect it.

    Steve R

    Like 9
  19. Brian Moore

    I purchased a 1970 Mercury Cyclone GT for $2800 a few years ago, and the first time I saw it was when it was delivered to my shop! It was a 1 owner local car, and having been looking for one almost 40 years, I jumped at it. The car was in boxes when it arrived as it was a stalled project found in a barn, it took 4 years and about $ 16,000 to restore it to show winning condition, The car was chosen for the Ontario Cruise Nationals Competition 4 of the 5 years I entered it and won best in class several times.

    Like 4
  20. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    No I’ve never bought a car sight unseen, but unless you know every detail to look for you can still miss a lot of small things that need taking care of when purchasing a car.
    I love the 32’s especially the drop tops. As a boy my brother and I used to look at all the magazines of hot rods, we talked about how we would build one. Never happened though, he was a victim of Vietnam and I got more interested in chasing women. Now in my older years I am into the classic original cars. Not as in concours original just as manufactured with a few small upgrades. That’s what I have in my Riviera, all original numbers matching drive train but with upgraded exhaust system for a better sound.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  21. fast fred

    Bought one car on EBay 1967 Mercury Marquis I got lucky currently being restored almost done .Found out it was 1 of 15 made. good buy. But I got burned on a 1998 Cobra .

  22. Bing

    I have bought numerous cars sight unseen. All but two were properly described, and a few were better than I thought. Bought a 29 A roadster with a 327, etc. Frame had so many holes and welds that spooked me and some of the workmanship was very poor. Put it back up on e bay, got my $ back and the car wen to Germany to some rock a billy star the wanted a 50’s nostalgia car.
    While I have purchased more than a handful of old cars, this one would scare me. It will take serious money to get it and more serious money to restore.

  23. MikeH

    I bought a car, sight unseen, from a classic dealer in France. What sold me was the dealer gave a one year guarantee. That would do me no good in the US, but if he was willing to offer that to European buyers, it couldn’t be too bad. Figuring it would cost 3-4 grand to fly over and inspect it, I thought I could apply that to whatever shortcomings the car had. The car arrived exactly as advertised.

    Like 2
  24. gaspumpchas

    The guy did himself no favors by not cleaning it up and displaying the parts. Looks like this beauty sat in a wet building or on a dirt floor. Shame to see in this condition. Had some experience with that old lift, you are better off with a new one. Lousy pics and not much info–No way should you buy this without looking it over good. Sure would be great to see this piece of artwork brough back 50’s style, traditiional. Notice I didnt use the beaten, wore out term “old school”. Good luck and stay safe.

    Like 1
    • SteveS

      It’s up to $22,400 at this writing. Still says “reserve not met” but it would be a good price for a project of this magnitude.

  25. vintagehotrods

    It amazes me that these cars are still out there and are coming back to us so many years later. It’s a real shame this one wasn’t preserved because its pretty neat old hot rod. Although its rusty it can be be repaired pretty easily with the readily available repair panels by a good metal man. I’ve seen a lot worse examples put back together and you would never know where they were repaired, even in bare metal, in the right guy’s hands. I’ve seen a lot of 32’s put together from a pile of pieces from several cars so this one wouldn’t be that hard.

    This is very much a late 40’s, early 50’s period correct hot rod and a pretty cool one at that. Chopped windshield and top, dropped axle, split wishbones, custom gas tank cover, filled dash with multiple SW gauges, 39 Ford tail lights, 40 Ford steering wheel, it had all the hot rod modifications of the day. It will probably be repaired with a matching “patina” and will look just like it did before it was put away all those years ago.

    Like 2
  26. vintagehotrods

    Seller says: “Unfortunately, I can’t find the title, nor locate a VIN (if you find the VIN, we can get a replacement or bonded title).”

    The VIN number is located on the driver’s side top frame rail just in front of the firewall leg.

    Like 1
  27. deak E Stevens Member

    Holy grail of junk!!!

    Like 2
  28. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    It’s been on the radar for awhile and now on Ebay. You can see it’s truly a Northern car that was driven. Good luck to the buyer – but this is not everyone’s Holy Grail.

    Sure the buyer of the coupe above it made a sweet deal…..

    Like 1
  29. Phlathead Phil

    I think I’d start fresh.

    Like 1
  30. Carmanic Daren Stone Member

    Of the 40+ cars I’ve owned, the only ones I’ve ever bought sight unseen and in fact without ever having even sat in one have been two Volvo P1800s and a 444. No disappointments, but also low expectations & entry cost. This ’32 is a different kettle of fish altogether.

  31. Shaun Cooper

    For all the sceptics, ‘Nay-Sayers’ and gum slappers, this is an authentic Hot Rod, with Delorean connections, was sold and not paid for, then taken by ‘third place bidder’, Matt from Iron Trap Garage (YouTube) and is to be recommissioned in his inimitable style. Those 6! ‘trannies’ are highly desirable 1937 LaSalle Units and the car came with numerous other desirable parts. See Matts excellent shows on Youtube and see this car in the hands of a Guy who knows and appreciates what others shirk & shy from. Not everyone drives a Real Hot Rod… for good reasons.

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