The Cockroach! Custom 1931 Ford Roadster

Vintage customs are hot right now, but this 1931 Ford roadster, The Cockroach, has been thrilling enthusiasts with it’s trick 78-coat paint job and blinding them with its chrome underbelly since the ’60s! Today it can be yours for a mere $52.00 according to the listing here on Personally I’d pay a lot more. After years of storage the Cockroach underwent a refurbishment in 2006, gracing magazines and winning awards. Now its owner decided someone else can enjoy it. Thanks to reader Ikey H. for spotting this tricked-out show car.

Sweet 1960 Astro Supreme wheels hail from the original build, now turning nostalgic slicks. What looks like a southern California hot rod was actually built in Illinois.

A 425 Buick nailhead retains the original speed equipment from the early ’60s build, including custom headers with block-off plates routing to a full exhaust. The first go-round featured a manual four-speed that’s given way to a three-speed automatic from the ’70s.

The custom black diamond tuck upholstery by Dicky Wright goes back to 1965. The listing includes more pictures and accolades garnered by this one-of-a-kind custom.

Got chrome? Nearly everything under the car wears full-on triple-plated bling, including the ’32 Ford frame and a 1956 Chevy positraction rear end on hairpins and springs. Front and rear custom nerf bars serve as bumpers. I love this Ford, but I like driving my cars too much to own something this nice. Let’s hope the new buyer keeps the Cockroach in the public eye so more of us can enjoy this extreme and beautiful expression of vintage hot rod engineering. Can you see yourself owning this blinged-out show car?


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  1. jo6pac

    Way to much work polishing everything. It’s not daily driver.

    Like 7
    • IkeyHeyman

      If I could afford to buy this, I could afford to pay somebody to polish the chrome. This would make a very nice daily driver, thank you!

      Like 5
  2. Gaspumpchas

    $52.00 I’ll take it!!!

    Like 4
    • Mike W H

      Craigslist code for $ 52,000. Which is a decent price. Famous customs like this can go for much more—like 100k in the right environment-Say R&M at Monterey.

      Like 2
    • Stan Marks

      Me 2

    • Stan Marks

      I’ll out bid you & offer $53.00

      Like 1
  3. F Again

    Those are Astro wheels, but not Supremes. Supremes are spoke wheels, like Cragar SSs.

    Like 2
    • egads

      Could be Astro Typhoon wheel’s. There were several manufacturer’s though.

      Like 2
  4. KEVIN

    “a total of nearly 78 coats”

    nearly? That’s hilarious.

    Like 12
  5. Mike W H

    Would it be a sin to turn this into a daily driver?
    Asking for a friend.

    Like 3
  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    I wouldn’t turn down a decent lowboy like this one. Too much chrome for me but I do like the Nailhead for a change of scenery, which I might add questions my age-old determination to keep it in the family. I would want to get out and drive it and if I could afford it, I would do just that. I do question that $52.00 price tag. First time I really noticed a Nailhead in a hot rod was in the Uncertain T from back in the 60s. That one was quite the machine. I had heard that it was entirely show and no go at all; it was pushed in and out of the shows. I was told by one of the original builders that it went like Jack, the Bear, and not to believe everything I read.

    Like 7
    • Howard A Member

      “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end”,,,Customs like this and your pic, were to a kid, just the ultimate. We built models of these, but living in the midwest, we never actually saw any. They called them “California Customs” for a reason. They weren’t very practical in Milwaukee, even though, “Happy Days” portrayed us as having them. I think Ralph Mouth had a hot rod. Just get done polishing the chrome, and oh,oh, it’s starting to rain,,
      A cop today would have a field day with this vehicle, and would demand better bumpers, turn signals, quiet exhaust, fenders, wipers, tires with tread, license plate light( don’t laugh, that is the #1 reason a cop will pull you over to bust you for other things)and that’s just page one. Very cool to sit and look at, I suppose.

      Like 11
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        California Customs was a term that defined the hot rod culture. It seemed that everything that was great came from California back then. Maybe it was the climate, or maybe it was the concentration of people, or the movies, of a combination of all three. I’m sure that of all the model kits I built back then the real featured cars came from CA. I do remember a real well-done ’23 T in Great Falls. It was purple and bore a big resemblance to Norm Grabowski’s T-Bucket. There was a ’50 Ford F1 got featured in Popular Customs. It was kind of a throw-back to the 50s customs but it had a 389 Pontiac and went like Jack, the Bear. But you take so many others: Ala Kart, Beatnik Bandit, Outlaw, just to name a few that became model kits. Their builders lived the dream building the cars and we were able to live the dream building the model kits…

        Like 12
  7. Tom c

    Why 78 coats of paint.?

    Like 2
    • RNR

      Back in the day, they used lacquer, which is thin, and sanded most of it away between coats, to get those body surfaces dead flat. The last several coats were clear for depth. Ultra fine grit sandpaper wan’t available, and there wasn’t the plethora of polishing compounds we have today, either. I remember reading of cornstarch being used as am abrasive for the final buff.

      I still like spraying lacquer….

      Like 5
      • Stu

        I agree on spraying lacquer. Much simpler and safer than the modern catalysts. Don’t you think today’s lacquers (where you can get them) are a much inferior product to what we used decades ago? I’ve got numerous gallons of lacquer primers in the standard colors and brands but haven’t been too impressed with any of the contemporary ones, including poor adhesion.

        Sure was nice to work an area, then spray it with lacquer primer before you quit for the day or evening. Then leave what’s left in the primer gun for next time…..

    • Howard A Member

      Maybe they forgot the hyphen,,7-8 coats of paint. 78 seems like a bit of a stretch.

      Like 1
  8. Joe Haska

    Why would it be a sin to turn it into a daily driver? Of course you have to define the term. As if in everyday ,that would be just about impossible, but to drive it like most people drive their collector cars, why not . It would be fun and you take care of it, what’s the big deal? You are the caretaker of a rare car, you should enjoy it and let other people do the same. Sure the condition will suffer, but that’s better than hiding and storing it and it never gets seen.

    Like 4
  9. Jcs

    I think that he means 52k. The only parts that I see that cost $52 or less are the valve stem caps for the tires!

    Like 3
  10. Morley

    An easy driver for cruise nights and local car shows. A lot of bikes have this much chrome, even big rigs. This is a lot better than that painted everything you get now. AND the engine, –the best looking engine ever. It deserves all that chrome. I just love this car. All you daily drivers out there—what do you drive. I can only imagine.

    Like 2
  11. Kenn

    Boy, I hope Geomechs wasn’t serious when he said he questioned the $52.00 price tag. If in fact he thought it was a serious price, his family better be arranging for nursing home or hospice, cause he’s lost his mind.

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Kenn. Actually I wasn’t the only one who saw that $52, and I questioned it from the get-go. But wouldn’t it be funny if you showed up in person, looked at the car then said, “I’ll take it!” It would be interesting to see the look on the vendor’s face as you opened up your wallet and took out 52 dollars. Kind of like the faces on those drug peddlers in Lethal Weapon. As far as the nursing home of hospice goes, I sometimes consider looking for one myself. But they’d have to let me take my car…

      Like 1
      • Gaspumpchas

        Good comment Geomechs, but the owner would probably fail to see the humor in handing over the $52. I used to sell gas station collectibles and a guy beat me down from 30 to 25 for a Sunoco blend pump coin bank. after I agreed, he hands me a quarter. I guess you could say I was flummoxed, and blood pressure went to the moon. Takes all kinds. this is supposed to be fun??? Stay safe.

        Like 2

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