Needs Nothing: 1932 Ford Model B Roadster

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Given his generally inflexible nature, Henry Ford must have felt that the world had gone mad when production ended on the Model B. While the venerable Model T survived for eighteen years and the Model A rolled off the line from 1927 until 1932, the Model B survived a mere three years. The Model B also marked the demise of Ford’s mainstream four-cylinder offerings as potential buyers developed a taste for the smoothness and power offered by a six or a V8. Our feature car hails from that first year of Model B production and is a Roadster that seems to need nothing. Its presentation and mechanical health are hard to fault, and it promises an enjoyable classic motoring experience with the top down on a sunny day. Located in Murrieta, California, this Ford is listed for sale here on eBay. The bidding has rocketed to $39,600, although that figure remains short of the reserve.

There’s a bit to consider with this classic Ford, but its presentation gets things rolling rather nicely. It looks stunning in Black, and while the seller indicates that it represents an older repaint, it holds a depth of shine that is difficult to criticize. There are no glaring faults or flaws, and the same is true of the panels. This paint shade can expose any shortcomings on that front, but the original Ford steel appears as straight as an arrow. The contrasting red wire wheels and matching pinstriping add to the vehicle’s visual appeal, as do the professionally chopped top and windshield. The twin side-mount spares add a touch of class, while the chrome and glass look flawless. When we delve below the surface, the floors and frame show no evidence of problems or pitting that may indicate prior rust problems. There’s little doubt that this Model B could still turn heads, but its exterior presentation is a small tip to this automotive iceberg.

When we turn our attention to this Ford’s interior, it shows evidence of the type of attention that is the work of someone with an eye for detail. The seat, door trims, and kick panels wear matching brown vinyl trim, while a paler rubber floor mat offers a subtle contrast. The Black painted dash holds a mirror shine, with the gauge cluster and bright trim pieces in as-new condition. If I am going to pick faults, there are a couple that potential buyers might consider. The floor mat shows wear under the driver’s feet, and while it isn’t severe, it is noticeable. If the buyer seeks spotless presentation, a replacement mat will lighten their pocket by around $180. However, since there is no other physical damage, I’d be inclined to leave it at present. The wheel shows some wear and a matte appearance. It isn’t dramatic and is within keeping for a vehicle of this vintage. Some excellent restoration products are available today, and returning this wheel to showroom condition should be possible in a home workshop for under $100. It isn’t essential, but it represents a satisfying task for a potential buyer to tackle. Otherwise, this interior needs nothing.

The Model B demonstrates the ongoing development of Ford’s legendary flathead four-cylinder engines. By the time Model T production ended, the essentially unchanged 177ci motor under its hood developed 20hp. The Model A’s flathead brought a capacity increase to 201ci and a 100% increase in power to 40hp. The Model B motor featured further design improvements to areas like lubrication, carburetor, and camshaft specifications. Those updates lifted engine power to a reliable 50hp. That power found its way to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission. The additional power compared to its predecessor made the Model B one of the first Ford production cars capable of exceeding 70mph. This Roadster could probably top that figure thanks to the owner’s upgrade to a Mallory dual-point distributor. The fatter spark should promote better mixture burn, unleashing a few extra ponies. The car features hydraulic brakes and an updated 12-volt electrical system. These changes should enhance reliability and the driving experience for the next lucky owner. The seller indicates that this Model B runs and drives perfectly, making it a turnkey classic set or some summer fun.

While many enthusiasts focused on the iconic Model T, the Model A, and later V8 offerings, Ford’s Model B had tended to slip through the net. This was slightly odd because the Model B possesses much of the appeal and character of its predecessor but in an evolutionary package providing welcome performance improvements. That trend seems set to change as values have climbed markedly in the past few years because the Model B is gaining much-deserved recognition. Surprisingly, nailing down exact production figures for the 1932 Model B is difficult, although several resources quote a combined Model B and its sibling V8 Model 18 total of around 286,000 cars for that year. Our feature car looks like a gem and would suit a buyer who is not concerned about complete originality but focused on immediately enjoying the classic motoring experience. It has already attracted fourteen bids, and there’s plenty of time left on the auction. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the bidding head towards $50,000 before the hammer falls. When you consider what this car has to offer, would you?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    My Dad had one just like this.It was Dark Blue with
    Light Yellow wheels,but a standard top.He bought it from
    our local Ford dealer’s private collection for $2500 in 1972,
    and sold it for $25,000 about 25 years later.
    Sad part was that he only drove it twice (that I know of).

    Like 7
  2. Fred W

    A 3″ chop on an otherwise unmolested roadster? Hmmmm….

    Like 15
    • Bill Hall

      The chopped top just doesn’t look quite right at least with the top up.

      Like 5
  3. Derek

    Needs an ‘ump in the ‘ood for yer ‘ead…

    Like 3
  4. Rw

    Needs a flathead V8

    Like 6
  5. Mike T

    It would be a beautiful car if they hadn’t screwed up the windshield and top. That cuts its value to be as does changing the distributor, alternator, and juice brakes.

    Like 7
    • ctmphrs

      But it makes it a much better car to drive . ctmphrs

      Like 4
  6. Joe Haska

    I think you missed the elephant in the room, this car has a Brookville Body. Not the end of the world, but it is if you think you are buying all genuine Ford steel. It is unusual to have a chopped windshield on what appears to be an original model B (4 cylinder). That is probably why it is at 39 thousand.

    Like 0
  7. Andrew S MaceMember

    Just curious: How do those changes make it a “much better car to drive”? (Asking for a friend…)

    Like 1
    • Solosolo UK SolosoloMember

      The distributor will give it a better, stronger spark, the alternator will keep the battery charged quicker on short runs and the juice brakes are obvious as they work equally on all four wheels. As for chopping the windshield posts and altering the soft top, the person that did it should be shot!

      Like 9
  8. John Butterworth

    A worn driver side floor mat would be the main selling point for me.

    Like 0
  9. Joe Haska

    Andrew S,
    Not all the changes will make it that much better. Significant would be hydraulic brakes, later transmission new gears , early shocks replaced with tube shocks, rear end ratio changed to higher or a Columbia. The engine would be the biggest change, but not so much with the 4 cylinder, this one is better than the original,but not much. Newer steering gear or modified original helps a lot. The Brookville body is new ,but has nothing to do with how it drives. !2 volt system is OK but it won’t drive any better. Having new king pins , ball joint , alignment an etc helps a lot. Tire make a huge difference, but radial tires will not look right. The reason these are modified as much as they are, is there not a lot of fun to drive, in original condition.

    Like 0
  10. Joe Haska

    Andrew S,
    Not all the changes will make it that much better. Significant, would be hydraulic brakes, later transmission or new gears , early shocks replaced with tube shocks, rear end ratio changed to higher or a Columbia. The engine would be the biggest change, but not so much with the 4 cylinder, this one is better, than the original,but not much. Newer steering gear or modified original helps a lot. The Brookville body is new ,but has nothing to do with how it drives. !2 volt system is OK, but it won’t drive any better. Having new king pins , ball joint , alignment an etc helps a lot. Tire make a huge difference, but radial tires will not look right. The reason these are modified as much as they are, is there not a lot of fun to drive, in original condition.

    Like 0
  11. Bill Bell

    Please note…the seller hasn’t stated that this a 1932 FORD steel body…..just an ALL steel body. Could be any of the other 3 or 4 manufacturers out there..?? Buyer beware and no need for the haters to get their knickers in a knot..!!

    Like 5
    • ruxvette

      Per seller “early Brookville body”.

      Like 2
  12. Dennis Mccutchan

    @Solosolo…@Mike T. So I suppose a small block Chevy would be out of the question for you two?

    Like 1
    • Solosolo UK SolosoloMember

      Absobloodylutely! Even a flathead V8 would spoil it.

      Like 3
    • Mike T

      Leave it the way Henry built it or if you use, put in a 1932 V8.

      Like 1
    • piston poney

      Henry ford didn’t build these cars for you to put a Chevy motor in it.

      Like 1
  13. Bill Hall

    The chopped top just doesn’t look quite right at least with the top up.

    Like 5
  14. Gray Wolf

    If it had a chopped top on a hard top would look different than the soft top. I think most people aren’t use to a soft top being so low.

    Like 0
  15. Andrew

    Ebay add says it’s a Brookville repo body.

    Like 0
  16. geomechs geomechsMember

    I’ve always wanted a Deuce Roadster and while I would prefer a V8, I sure wouldn’t kick this one off my driveway. I have a couple of friends who have upgraded their Model As to Deuce specs and they’re very happy with them. If I got this car I would drive it everywhere. Lots of fun for everyone.

    Now a lot of people are going to disagree with me but there’s (2) things I wouldn’t have done to this: convert to 12V and juice brakes. Well, maybe the brakes as long as you’re running a dual system. Break an axle or rupture a brake line and your brakes are history. The mechanical system still has SOME stopping ability. 12V? They ran fine on 6V. Of course that’s my opinion and everyone is entitled to theirs…

    Like 4
  17. bobH

    I wonder what the frame is… I didn’t see mention of it in the listing. And, the vin listed is not a 1932 vin, which to me implies maybe a chp assigned number, on a non-factory frame. But, what do I know. Makes no real difference. Still a nice car for the person that can live with the above noted deviations.

    Like 0
  18. robjMember

    I kinda like the chop. I would like it much better if the engine had a few period speed parts…

    Like 1

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