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'32 Ford Channeled Roadster Street Rod - Mid-50's Style


Bernard Kron
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Mid-50’s style Channeled ’32 Ford Roadster Street Rod

A few weeks ago I bid on and won a huge box of spare parts from the Revell ’32 Ford series of kits, enough parts to build 9 or more complete Roadsters, 3-window and 5-window coupes, with a ton of extra parts left over. The only parts missing were from the Tudor Sedan and the Dan Fink Speedwagon (no flathead V-8’s, wire wheels or sedan bodies, for example). The original builder, however, had the odd habit of mocking up his projects using super glue which meant that several of the chassis I received, for example, had fenders bonded to them, and in one case there was a nicely channeled roadster with the main body, full hood sides and grill shell all securely glued to each other and to the chassis. While I was able to liberate the various chassis from their fenders without damage to the chassis, the channeled roadster was another matter. I did manage to pry the grill shell off but the body and hood sides were bonded quite permanently to the chassis. As I said, the original builder had done a very nice job on the channel and cutting the hood sides to drop over the frame rails, so I decided to accept the challenge and build a mid-50’s style channeled street rod, the kind often featured in the Little Pages back in the day.

With a few, although significant, exceptions the entire build is from the box-‘o-parts. The wheels and tires were assembled using ’58 Dodge Lancer hubcaps from Modelhaus with various backing plates from my parts box. The rear wide-whitewall tires are Modelhaus T-160 Commander 78’s and the front tires are of unknown origin from my parts box. The other major part substitution is the 4½ scale inch deep drop I-beam front axle from ThePartsBox.com. This is a resin re-pop of the Revell ‘40 Ford Street Rod item and features a cast-in wire reinforcement that prevents the axle from ever sagging the way un-reinforced resin axles eventually do. It is my go-to dropped axle for a real in-the-weeds stance and I highly recommend it. Otherwise the only non-Revell Deuce part is the steering wheel, an AMT ’49 Ford part and a home-made gear shift lever. The Revell Highboy Roadster windshield is chopped 2½ scale inches. Because the motor is completely hidden by the glued-in-place hood sides, I chose to use the ubiquitous Ford small block that comes in all these kits, although I sanded off the Ford Motorsports logo from the valve covers and moved the distributor to the back of the block to create a kind of generic V-8 look.

The paint is Plastikote Baby Blue lacquer over white Duplicolor primer. The interior is finished in Duplicolor Universal White lacquer with blue accents.

The original builder did the hard part, the 4 scale inch channel and adapting the hood sides. I did have to mask out the floor pan area because everything was glued in place but really this was a pretty straightforward project that went together with a minimum of drama. And because the original builder had a good eye for stance and proportion it landed up being a pretty cool representation of a classic 50’s lo-boy roadster, in this case a California car because I chose to leave it fenderless.

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

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Edited by Bernard Kron
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Beautiful looking Roadster. This style screams '50's and even a few early '60's style. The stance looks great, I'll bet the bottom of the grill shell will take a hit soon. The colors of the interior and body work well together. The wide whites and Lancer hub caps are great time pieces.  

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Thanks to you all. Your comments are much appreciated!

I really have to give credit to the original builder who gave me "good bones" to work with. While the overall stance is inevitably mine due to the fact that I chose the front axle, spring placement and wheels and tires, the initial proportions and the clear intention to set the rear axle as low as possible belong to the original builder. He also did very clean and precise work which gave me a head start on making this as sanitary a build as my skills would allow. If you've ever had the opportunity to look over an actual top-of-the-line 50's hot rod you will have to have been impressed by the fit and finish these early post war rodders were able to achieve - it's clearly part of the aesthetic and a key to the impact these cars have.

The baby blue shade is not as unusual as modern viewers might think. Pale solids such a cream white, pale yellow and light blue, were popular alternatives to more expensive metallics and early candies and pearls, particularly on "summer cars" like open top roadsters where the fancier candy and pearl paints tended to fade rather quickly in sunnier climes. This car is based on a specific color photo of a 50's channeled roadster I saw on more than one occasion. I looked hard for it, both in my library of hot rod books and magazines and on the internet but I couldn't find it. A couple of very famous and significant vintage channeled roadsters from the 50's, the Tommy Foster roadster and the Paul FitzGerald car, each served to reinforce my mental picture, the Tommy Foster for its color and rolling stock even though it lacks full hood sides, and the Paul FitzGerald for the louvered full hood sides and stance, particularly of the rear 3/4s even though it has an extended custom shaped nose and bobbed frame horns. Of course both have cycle fenders.

Again, thanx for the kind words,
B.

The Tommy Foster Lo-Boy Roadster:

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The Paul FitzGerald Lo-Boy Roadster:

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Edited by Bernard Kron
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On 9/11/2021 at 3:27 PM, Phildaupho said:

Very attractive Lo-Boy. I hope you will be able to make it to Victoria next summer for Deuce Days and the model car show.

Thanks Phil. Of course covid hasn't helped in getting to Victoria. We're trying to figure how to make the cost of the ferry make sense by planning some sort of tourist junket. When my Sprite was running we took a lovely trip out to Long Beach and Tofino and stayed there for a week. The drive out and back to Victoria is something we will always remember.

On 9/11/2021 at 9:00 PM, larman said:

Really nice work! Love the color, wheels and tires and stance.

Thanks Larry. I think this will be a personal fave on my shelf.

Edited by Bernard Kron
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