Before I got my Model A coupe, I drove a 1968 Plymouth convertible. I miss the open air motoring so I decided the next project would be a roadster. My 1957 Cadillac is a diversion from the plan. It's not a roadster and I'm not going to cut the top off of it. So, I have still been on the lookout for a roadster project. I've always lusted after a Deuce roadster (who doesn't?) but figured with the other projects taking up valuable resources ($$$$), that I should focus on a Model A roadster. I really like the look of a 29 on 32 rails so that's what I thought I'd build. After the Cadillac is done of course.
While considering which path to pursue (should I piece together a car from parts?, should I buy a Brookville body?, should I buy an complete car that needs a rebuild?), my good bud and neighbor Frank Klein told me that his dad (also named Frank Klein) was considering selling his 32 roadster. I didn't think much of it at first because Frank (the elder) was usually considering selling one or more of his many treasures. Every time I saw him, for months after that, I always told him that wanted the car. If he was around I made sure that 5 minutes didn't pass without me telling him that I wanted the car.
When I got back from Las Vegas on 9/24 Frank (the younger) called and told me some guy was over at his dad's house with cash in hand trying to buy the car and that I better call him before it was gone. I called Frank (the elder) and said "Hey, I hear somebody is over there trying to buy MY CAR!". Sure enough there was some old acquaintance there who had cash and was trying to buy it. Frank (the elder) was pretty stressed out about what to do. After several phone calls back and forth he finally told me that I could have the car for a very reasonable price. He also said that if I decided I didn't want it that it was OK because the other guy would buy it for the same amount.
I had seen the car a few times when I was over at Frank's (the elder) house BS'ing or helping him with one of his other projects but I had never REALLY looked at it like I was buying it. Saturday morning I took my bud Cal over there with me to give it a thorough inspection. Cal knows as much or more about early 30's Fords as anyone. I knew if he said it was a good car and a good deal that I would be making a good decision. After poking at it with his gizmos that show how much rot and/or filler is under the paint, he said it was a very solid car. Frank (the elder) and I did the paperwork and the car was mine. Now all I had to do was figure out how to get it home.
We put most of the loose stuff in the back of my truck for the first load. The car itself needed a trailer or a rollback. Cal would have helped me with his truck and trailer but he had the flu most of the prior week and it drained him just checking out the car. Frank (the younger) has a trailer, which was stored next to his dad's garage where the roadster was, that I could use but he was busy with a construction crew at his house. My truck only has a bumper hitch which isn't strong enough to hold the weight of the trailer. I called my friend Frank S. (Frank #3) to see if he could help. He's got a late model F150 with a Class 3 hitch and he was glad to help. So, we used Frank's truck to pull Frank's trailer which was stored next to Frank's garage to haul the roadster from Frank's house to my house. Clear as mud? And if there weren't already enough Franks in this story, I already traded yet another Frank the old front axle out of my coupe for a set of Buick drums that he got from his dad who is also named Frank. Geez it seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry is named Frank.
Back to the car. We got it home just as it got dark. I had already moved stuff around in the garage so I could get the roadster and my coupe in there. It's a tight fit and there is NO room to work when they're both in there but at least I won't be cluttering up the front of my house any more than it already is with the Cadillac in the driveway.
I'm going to have to get Frank to tell me what he knows about the history of the car again. He told me some of it already but I didn't write it down. He bought the car about 30 years ago and hasn't done much to it. He put an 8" V8 Maverick rear axle on parallel leaf springs. He cut the wishbones and they're still hanging loose in the rear. That's why those blocks of wood are between the front spring and axle. He also put a Flat-O-Matic C4 conversion in it. Some time during his possession someone stole the deck lid. It's been replaced with a new re-pop lid. The prior owner was a guy named Ross (I can't remember the last name). He raced the car at El Mirage back in the 50's. The car sat in a garage for the last 10 - 15 years that he had it.
The frame has a Chassis Engineering cross member in it and a Model a crossmember on the front. Frank (the elder) added the parallel leafs in the rear. I won't keep those. I'll probably go back to a buggy spring. The flathead in it now looks like a stock 59ab. The trans is a C4 and the rear axle is an 8" Ford. All the parts are there to finish splitting the wishbones. It's got a dropped and filled chrome front axle and 40 juice brakes. The front backing plates got welded to the (square) spindles at some point. I don't know why anyone would do that. The stock seat has seen better days but it's there. There's an Auburn dash in it and Frank says he has the insert somewhere but has to find it along with the windshield stanchions, headlights and a few other goodies. It looks like the car was originally black. Then there's some red oxide primer over that with green on the top. So it looks like the car only go one paint job probably in the early 50's or earlier. The green paint on the fenders is over red. So, I'm guessing the fenders came from another car before it was painted green. I can't imagine a black car with red fenders.
I'm planning on building it as a highboy. If the 365 engine out of my 57 Cadillac is rebuildable, I'll use it with a 5 speed and a quick change.