How It’s Done: New Body, Old Frame
We like this. We used to hate the idea of putting a new body on an old frame and calling it a “hot rod.” It didn’t seem right. That was when buying a new body meant buying something that came out of a mold and was made of a substance not known to man when the original ’32 Fords were rolling off the assembly line. It also meant it was highly likely that a modern frame with air bag suspension and a 350/350 combo would be powering the “Deuce” at 5 mph around fair grounds and up the ramps to the trailer that got it there.
These days, buying a new Deuce body doesn’t necessarily mean a horrible Chip Foose-style custom is next. Nowadays you can buy an all-steel body that looks like it may as well have been built by Henry Ford himself. The best part? It’s guaranteed to only need paint. No rust repair, no straightening, no chopping. Simple, effective, stylish. The downside? They ain’t what you’d call cheap. That said, hot rodding is the wrong hobby to have if you’re trying to save money.
There’s a beautiful example of how well this philosophy works over on theHAMB, where member Brian Bass has been assembling just such a ride. He bought a custom steel body, and stuck it atop a homemade frame with factory ’32 Model A cross members. The running gear is a ’41 Ford rear end and a ’39 Ford transmission, hooked to a1957 Chevrolet283 with a three-deuce intake. Add a set of lake pipes and hand-built tubular headers to the mix, and you have a perfect, period-correct hot rod.
Though building a rod like this can’t be cheap, it’s still a damn sight cheaper, and less maddening, than buying an original 1932 Ford Roadster that was hot rodded back in the day. Sure, it may not have quite the provenance of an original, but it’s at least as much fun.