(Words and photos by Doug Gregory) – 1932 Fords. Often referred to as a ‘deuce’. I’ve heard some in recent years some say they are tired of them because more exist today than were made in 1932. I’ve heard arguments over fiberglass and steel replicas verses real Henry steel. What I know is that as a kid when I saw my first one I was hooked. The lines of this design are timeless and I have yet to see one I won’t take a photo of. There might be some out there, but I have yet to come across one. Movies, songs and more use them as main subjects and props. I have a coffee table book celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Deuce with history and features what were once considered 75 of the most important Deuce builds. When early rods gather it seems there are an awful lot of them, but out in the wild their numbers are not so great. At the average cruise-in at anytown USA you might see one or two on a Friday night and that’s about it. The fact these cars can be built in so many unique styles may also speak to its popularity and resounding dominance in the culture.
What we have here is a superb example of a ’32 Ford as crafted by the father&son team of Al and Alex Charland in their home garage. This car represents the 9th car they have completed together and is their 2nd street rod. The build went from 2007 to 2011 and the car has been driven frequently ever since. The tones and textures are intentionally understated for a subtle look that requires closer scrutiny.
Starting off we might as well talk about that elephant trying to fit under that hood. Al had the motor for six years after sourcing it from a local yard. The sale of an unfinished project ushered in the ’32 build and the Hemi was the clear choice for power. It’s a 1955 331 Chrysler bored .030. The heads were ported and filled with stainless valves. An Isky solid-lifter cam was selected to facilitate the breathing and ARP fasteners are used throughout. Superchargers USA provided the 6-71 blower and two custom-built 500cfm carbs from C&J Engineering handle the fuel/air metering. MSD lights it off while a Walker radiator keeps it cool. Taking the power from the potent mill is a McLeod hydraulic throw-out bearing and twin-disc clutch feeding horses to Borg-Warner T56 6-speed. An Inland Empire aluminum shaft transmits the twist to a Currie nine-inch with 3.73 cogs.
The foundation for the ’32 is a Brookville frame stretched 2” for engine clearance. Superbell products make up the front suspension and the rear uses a triangulated 4-link. Whoa is provided by a Wilwood master cylinder and front brakes while stock Ford drums manage things out back with stainless-steel lines carrying the fluid. Rolling stock combines Vintiques steelies and BFG rubber in 15-inch up front and 17-inch in the rear. The stance is dead-on.
The body was sourced from Brookville with a 2” stretched hood. American Autowire wiring keep things powered while Omega instruments provide the necessary information. The seats are custom-built ’98 Escort, bomber-style seats. The interior and trunk construction was handled by this pair of obviously-skilled craftsmen. The shifter handle is a hand-carved 1911 pistol grip.
Nearly everything was shot in PPG 1932 Ford Maroon while the wheels were coated in PPG Ford Cigarette Cream – a color Alex researched extensively until the right shade was found.
Alex and his father Al did the entire build in their garage with the exception of:
Long block Bell Engines of Louisville, KY
Upholstery by Walker Fabrics of Buckner, KY
Exhaust coating by Performance Coatings in Auburn, WA
Previous projects have included 3 Shelby Mustangs, a Mach 1, 427 ’68 Vette, and a ’57 Chevy. Seeing how this project turned out I believe anything else this duo crank out will be equally impressive and we’ll be keeping an eye out for it. Do-it-yourselfers such as this keep the hobby alive and thriving.