1932 Ford Coupe – Respecting Tradition
Few things in life look better than a black 1932 Ford coupe. Even sexier yet are the ones with glass-like finish with tight gaps and a perfect rake. If they happen to feature clean, contrasting pinstripes, white tuck & roll upholstery and padded running boards -all the better. Throw in some chrome ’50 Merc hubcaps, wide whites and an old-school small block and we are all on board.
Bret Sukert’s righteous deuce three-window checks all those boxes and more. We first came across the car at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals when it won the “Bruce Olson Memorial” award a few years back. It stopped us in our tracks.
Originally acquired from Northwest hot rod legend Dick Page in 2009, Bret took delivery of the deuce body in rough form but it was dripping with character. It was missing rear fenders, decklid and some other misc parts but had major potential. Page included a 5-window body in the purchase as well but the three window was what Bret had always wanted. In fact, he started his Hot Rod Magazine subscription when he was just 8 years old! Influenced by hot rod magazines of all varieties, he now has collected over 1,000 of them. From those periodicals and books, he knows a LOT about hot rod history which influenced this build big time. He also collects vintage steering wheels.
When constructing the car mostly in his garage, Bret drew influence not only from hot rod history but major influence from Rich DeSalvo’s black deuce 3-window – a car built in the 1960s which also had white guts and padded boards. He came across DeSalvo’s car when reading Pat Ganahl’s “Lost Hot Rods” book series. While the body and fab work took a lot of dedication and sweat, the chassis and drivetrain were easy by comparison. Like any good hot rodder, Bret spends a lot of time on Jalopy Journal’s H.A.M.B. It was through that forum he acquired the Schroeder Speed & Customs ’32 frame which just so happened to have the 350 Chevy bolted to it. As you can see, 50s style finned valve covers, and some chromed accessories give it a retro feel to enhance the vintage flair. But there is more tradition going on here.
Take the blue face Stewart Warner marine gauges for instance. Bret estimates there are very few blue face Stewart Warner speedometers left in the world as a very limited production run was originally made. To create the crushed pearl instrument panel you see, he had to hunt for original blue face gauges for years, eventually scoring enough to put it all together. But the blue face SW speedo is the crown jewel – elusive and beautiful. That white tuck & roll is straight from the 1960s too yet with a modern flair. And that steering wheel? He picked up that Grant NOS item 14 years ago still new in the box. To Bret, the interior is what sets this deuce apart from the rest. We can’t disagree.
Started in 2012 and finished late in 2016, Bret’s 1932 Ford coupe has been on the road nearly two years. If you didn’t know better, you would think it was a 60s survivor. Rich DeSalvo would certainly agree.
Photos by Steven Bunker