Henry Ford was never one to shy away from a challenge. Following the unmitigated success of the Model T and the Model A that followed, Ford took a bold step of introducing the first low-cost, mass-produced V8 car in the midst of the worst economic conditions America had ever encountered. The Model A had been a strong seller, but four-cylinder cars were beginning to fall out of favor with buyers and the V8 Ford proved to be exactly what they were looking for. Styling for the car fell to the capable hands of Henry’s son Edsel Ford. Where Henry was the pragmatist, Edsel was driven by a more creative force, and he possessed a keen eye for style. For the 1932 Ford, Edsel utilized the design experience he gained at Lincoln – a wise move that brought influence from the Ford’s most exclusive division into the realm of the everyday car. The styling was finely honed and quite pretty with flowing front fenders and a subtle V-shaped radiator grille. Ford had once again struck a chord with buyers, producing a beautiful car and bringing V8 power to the people; something that would previously have been completely out of reach of the average buyer.
As with previous models, a number of body styles were available from the Ford catalog. Closed cars included the Tudor and Fordor sedans, four-seat Victoria and the rumble seat Coupe. Open cars included the Phaeton and Roadster. All models shared the same basic styling that, despite being a one-year-only design, would go on to become an icon. The “deuce” was hugely popular and remained desirable for years to come, becoming the quintessential Hot Rod and forming the basis for so many legendary custom cars. And while it is so often the archetypal hot rod that most people think of when imagining a 1932 Ford, the simple and elegant lines of the original are what earned its status as one of the most important and seminal classic cars of the 1930s.
This lovely 1932 Ford Model 18 V8 Phaeton is a very fine example that has been carefully restored to period specification. It is a very handsome car, wearing a lovely restoration by the late William Lassiter collection of West Palm Beach, Florida. It has remained totally stock, having escaped the modifications that afflict many similar cars. The body is finished in Medium Maroon over black fenders and feature lines. Bright red wheels provide a highlight and gold coachlines tie the color scheme together nicely. Paint quality is excellent, and the body is crisp and straight, having been exceptionally well maintained in fine condition since the restoration was completed. The body features dual sidemount spares, an original option in 1932, as well as a trunk rack and finely restored brightwork.
The spacious cabin is trimmed in brown to a very correct standard. The seat upholstery remains in attractive condition, showing little in the way of wear or use. Door panels and the elegantly simple dash are correct and again, in fine order with all switchgear functioning as expected. A high quality LeBaron Bonney top in khaki looks great against the paint scheme and the top frame is straight, sound and works as it should. Should touring be a priority, a canvas trunk rests on the trunk rack to handle additional luggage.
The engine bay is beautifully presented and highly correct with original type fittings, wiring and details. The little flathead V8 starts easily and runs strong, emitting the signature burble and smooth, easy-going nature that came to define Fords of the 30s. The engine is backed by a 3-speed manual gearbox, and the fully restored chassis is well sorted and tidy. These truly are delightful cars to drive that feel much younger than their 85 years might suggest. The V8 engine is a marvel of smoothness, delivering its power early and with minimal drama. Four wheel brakes and a proven chassis design translate into a controlled ride and safe stopping. Combine that with light steering and relatively compact dimensions and it’s no wonder why early Ford V8 enthusiasts so love driving their cars. This fine example’s older restoration has been maintained to a very high standard and remains in beautiful condition, ready for casual show or regular touring. It is a great family classic that as beautiful as it is historically important.
Apr 25, 2018