Category: 32 Build

Updates on our ’32 Ford build.

’32 Update: Year End Review (article 56)

It was a great summer to drive!  It’s turning out to be a very fun car to get in, turn the key, and go.  I’ve enjoyed taking my girls (albeit one at a time) for rides, too.

Over the winter, we’re hoping to make some minor tweaks.  I’ll document them, but for now, here are some things we’d like to do:

  • Lower the front about 1/2″
  • Make non-adjustable four link bars for the front (once everything’s set up right, it doesn’t need to be changed)
  • Brainstorm a ride height monitoring system
  • Some sort of rubber bump stop on the rear axle
  • Try and tighten that one collector bolt that I wasn’t able to tighten all the way at the beginning of the summer
  • Install some sort of dovetails in the doors
  • Paint the hinges black
  • Swap front shocks for Bilsteins

I can’t remember what the mileage was at the beginning of the year, but when I parked it yesterday, the odometer was at 13 885.  That doesn’t include the first Louisville trip, when the speedometer wasn’t quite hooked up yet.  From here to Louisville and back is about 1100 miles, not including any driving around at the show.  Let’s call the current mileage 15 000.  While certainly not coming close to what many of you put on in a summer, it was 15 000 miles of fun for us over two summers!

’32 Update: trunk work (article 16, archived)

Trunk Work

The Bear body has some neat compartments in the trunk with access panels attached with machine screws into metal inserts. We will be putting a lot of things in the trunk – sub, amp, CD player, CD changer, battery, air ride compressor, air ride tank, valves, and probably more things that I’m not thinking about. Also, we won’t be carrying a 2×3 hardwood beam to rod runs to hold up the deck lid – a support will be installed in the near future.

We got all Clarion sound equipment, and it arrived the day after we ordered it!  (Clarion APX640.4 Amplifier, DCZ625 CD changer, DXZ655MP CD player, and a PXW1041 Sub). A sealed sub box was bought from an automotive stereo shop. It is designed to sit behind the seat in a truck, but I figured it would work great in this application too. The manual says not to mount anything to the box, but a friend in the know said it isn’t a big deal. So, because of limited space and the fact that The Testament on CD and Gordon Lightfoot will probably be the closest thing to heavy bass my dad will listen to, I’ll be mounting pretty much everything to the box. I cut a piece of plywood to the shape of the floor of the space and Vette Panel Bonded it to the floor. The LizardSkin insulation had to be removed in the areas I was slopping the panel bond. I also had to move the wire connection block from the center of the box to the lower corner because of the depth of the magnet and because I was putting the amp on the back of the box.

Here’s the plywood piece I put from the wheel well to the front of the compartment which holds the compressor, tank, and valves. Do not put the panel bond on any outside surface – it will eventually show through and you’ll never be able to get rid of it.

An Optima yellow-top battery will be used. I’m mounting it through the base of the battery with four bolts into special inserts threaded into the wood.

The CD player and changer will need to be accessible even when the back panel is installed, and there is luggage in the trunk. The changer won’t play mp3 files or wma, but the deck will. So, we will be able to listen to six regular CDs plus one assorted CD. The box is attached to the wood with the same inserts as the battery. If you’re wondering how we’re going to change tracks and adjust the volume, I’ll tell you. We’ll simply pull over under a bridge, open the trunk, unload the luggage, take out the six machine screws holding the back panel in place, then turn the knob or change to the next CD. Simple, eh? I have a better idea. There will be a hidden “eye” somewhere in the dash (see if you can find it before the car is done… it’ll be fun!) that will send a signal along a wire to an LED transmitter that will be pointed to the CD player. So we will be able to perform all the functions that we’ll need to perform minus changing sound levels and fade, etc. from a remote inside the car, without a CD player to look at all the time. The dash will be nice and clean. A removable access panel will be added right in front of the CD player and changer so that we can change settings and CDs easily. But I’m sure 7 CDs can outlast a 60 year old bladder.

These bulkheads from Air Ride Technologies will allow us to run the air through the trunk floor, keeping the lines between the floor and the access panel.

This is looking up at the bulkhead from under the car. It’s a good thing we got that Backyard Buddy lift – I would have had to actually crawl under the car to take this picture!

That’s all there is to it… run the lines from the solenoids to the bulkheads, and nobody will ever know.

I’ve got the solenoids mounted upside-down on the same piece of wood that the tank and compressor are on. It would have been wise to have mounted it before I installed the wood panel, but who doesn’t envy a contortionist once in a while? All six feet two inches of me that was twisted like a shamois (aka Shammy) doesn’t. That’s Vette Panel Adhesive holding the wood to the ‘glass. That stuff is amazing!

’32 Update: Gauges (article 17, archived)

We’re finding more and more ways that this Bear body is set apart from the rest. We’ve always been looking for ways to remove as much as possible from the dash, without leaving it completely blank. CD player, A/C and heater controls, wiper switches, air ride switches, ignition, and finally, most of the gauges, would look better… somewhere else. Turning back to the body, it has a neat little compartment, complete with a removable face, over the windshield. “What a neat place to put all that stuff!” we thought. So we laid out where everything would go with masking tape, sat in the car for hours at a time, and, with our fair share of criticism (coming from within I might add) proceeded to cut some holes. Here’s how it turned out (so far).

I cut out the exact OUTER DIMENSION of the bezels of the instruments as well as the biggest dimension for all the other gadgets. It’s very important to calculate your space based on the bezel diameter, not the mounting hole size. See the big square on the right? That’s the wiper switch. There’s a big box on the back side that takes up space, so I couldn’t lay out the knobs right next to each other or there would be interference.

No, I’m not moving them to the top of the dash. Once again, I used some masking tape to lay out where the holes would be.

The paper layouts were oriented by hand, so I had to convert “eye” measurements to “measuring tape” measurements. I ran a strip of tape along the very bottom of my paper templates, so I knew where the bottoms where. At the bottom of one gauge, I marked the center. Now I have a home base.

This handy ruler was given to me by Zac at Classic Instruments. It has all the bezel dimensions as well as all the mounting hole sizes for all their instruments. I had to keep remembering that I was laying out the outer dimension of the bezel, not the mounting hole. I thought 5/16″ would be a good amount to put between the bezels. So, from the first centerline mark, I was able to go out half the bezel O.D. each way. Then, 5/16″ more and I could start the next dimension. Mark the center of the gauge so you know where to drill. If you’re wondering how I got the centerline level, then I must be pretty good. Write me an email if you still don’t get it.

Sha-WING! White Hot series, curved glass, radial bezel. There’s a tach too.


Oh No! Two extra holes! I hope my dad doesn’t see this!
Phew, good thing Classic makes a 2″ tach and a matching air ride pressure gauge.

Since the tach is a little deeper than the other gauges, I put it in the middle of the panel. The gauges come complete with senders and neat little aluminum mounting brackets with nuts. The other nice thing about the removable panel is that it’s removable, which has obvious advantages.

“ok, tower, request permission to land. over.” I like it. (My aviation lingo might be a bit off.)

Having all the tools at hand, I grabbed a bigger hole saw and cut out the hole for the speedometer. I laid out the hole location in the same way. We decided to place the Vintage Air heat/cool vents beside the speedo for consistency and they will be at the proper height for blowing cold air at your chest.

Hey! Look out for that ’40!

Please email with your comments – I think I’ve only got one email, from someone asking if I’m related to Tim, and if this is the Official DonutMobile.

’32 Update: gas tank (article 18, archived)

Since it’s pretty obvious what needs to be done to make the tank fit (try sliding it in. If it’s not fitting, trim something.), I’ll just show some pictures to confirm that it’s done.

Even though the rear spreader bar will cover the back side of the tank flange, I decided that my faithful readers would be disappointed if I left the flange alone. So, I trimmed it along the weld except on the passenger side where the weld doesn’t match the driver’s side. I’m happy with the gap between the body and the top of the tank.

I needed to trim the rails a bit as well as the flange. I have used 3/8 button head bolts, with weld nuts welded underneath the rail. We will be switching to stainless button heads for the final install. We won’t be using anything between the tank and the frame rails… we’re not expecting it to move enough to be a problem.

If everyone’s tank fit like this, the world would be a better place. We’re using a TANKS tank, part number 32-ZS. It has rounded corners like a stock tank and uses a stock-style twist-on cap.