Retro roadster 1932 Ford hot rod evokes era of dry-lakes racing

The Pick of the Day is designed to celebrate a colorful time in U.S. motorsports

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The '32 roadster is modeled after the dry-lake roadsters of the late 1940s

The Pick of the Day is an evocative 1932 Ford roadster designed like the dry lake warriors that competed for speed records in California after World War II at such legendary venues as EL Mirage. 

The vintage high boy, hand-painted with WWII-style nose-art graphics and sporting an aircraft-style multi-pane windshield, looks like it might have stepped out of a photograph from those racing days.  The powerplant is also a period-correct Ford flathead V8. 

Back in the 1930s, there were a number of dry lakes in the western Mojave where hot rodders raced: Muroc (known today as Rodgers Dry Lake), Harper, Rosamond, El Mirage and Cuddleback. Muroc became part of Edwards Air Force Base and, thus, restricted in 1938. Rosamond was too soft, and Harper was deemed too short. Then arrived WWII, and racing came to a screeching halt since parts and gasoline were hard to find. After the war when racing started back up again, only the El Mirage was considered as a viable racing bed, where it became hallowed ground to those who raced . . . it’s where it all began. This exciting hot rod was inspired by the late 1940s California dry lake roadsters raced at El Mirage. The names from the early years of SCTA dry lakes racing in Southern California are legendary. Chrisman, Edelbrock, Hilborn, Meyers and Navarro were big then, as they are now, each contributing to the beginnings of racing and hot rodding as we know it. This car is like owning a time capsule to those early days of California hot rodding. Behind the wheel, you would easily fit in with the original clubs of El Mirage, the Sidewinders and the Roadrunners, back in the 40s. And then there was the East Coast. New Jersey began its beach racing tradition back in the summer of 1905 on a 1-mile straightaway in Cape May that was considered the world’s best racing beach. Featured at that exhibition were Louis Chevrolet, Henry Ford and Walter Christie, the speed record holder. Fast-forward to The Race of Gentlemen . . . or TROG. The first race was on the beach in Asbury Park, NJ in 2012 a few days before Hurricane Sandy hit. The TROG has since moved to the flatter, wider beaches of Wildwood, still close to Asbury Park, and participants come from all over the world to race down the 1/8 mile straightaway, to the delight of thousands of spectators. Paving the way for other US races and exhibitions, the TROG is growing and gaining international recognition as well as an entire new generation of fans. And, so, the history of hot rodding covers the entire United States and the world. Now you have a chance to own a piece of it and embrace the adventure yourself. This little hot rod has it all . . . it’s not one of those kit cars you see on the road today. It’s dubbed the B-29 Bamboo Bomber because it carries an original 1929 Ford steel body and rides on a 1932 Ford Model B chassis. Then it’s been modified with period-correct speed parts including Edelbrock cylinder heads, Fenton headers, Thicksten hi-rise intake and upgraded 1940 Ford hydraulic brakes. Other features: Bell style steering wheel Stuart Warner gauges WWII bomber-inspired custom multi-pane windshield hand-painted WWII-style nose art graphics custom interior radio and hidden speaker Commander tires (front: 6.50/15”, rear: L78/15”) And, so the big question is: Do you want to race in the TROG? You can with this amazing little speedster. Simply strip off the windshield and lights, and this hot rod is TROG-ready! Pendine Sands? Bonneville Speed Week? This tough 1932 Ford Roadster Hi-Boy is all you need to follow in the tracks of so many hot rodders before you . . . and then create your own.

“This car is like owning a time capsule to those early days of California hot rodding,” according to the Solon, Ohio, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.  “Behind the wheel, you would easily fit in with the original clubs of El Mirage, the Sidewinders and the Roadrunners, back in the ’40s.”

The seller also references a modern-day vintage racing event that celebrates such craft, The Race of Gentleman held on the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey, in which this rod could participate.

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The photos with the ad show the Ford’s well-integrated lakester style on what appears to be a well-executed custom.

“This little hot rod has it all . . . it’s not one of those kit cars you see on the road today,” the seller notes.  “It’s dubbed the B-29 Bamboo Bomber because it carries an original 1929 Ford steel body and rides on a 1932 Ford Model B chassis. 

RELATED:  Pick of the Day: One-off customized 1969 Ford F100 pickup truck

“Then it’s been modified with period-correct speed parts including Edelbrock cylinder heads, Fenton headers, Thicksten hi-rise intake and upgraded 1940 Ford hydraulic brakes.”

The asking price for this little Ford speedster, which would most likely be a welcomed entry at The Race of Gentlemen and a myriad of other such events, is $37,500.  Of course, the new owner could simply go cruising in the nostalgic hot rod, which would be guaranteed to garner loads of enthusiastic attention.

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To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

9 COMMENTS

  1. This is a nice hot rod, but its doubtful this one would make it into the race of gentlemen. What with all the modern electronics, alternator, elec fan, billet aluminum parts and all the kitschy stuff on the sides, this would stick out like sore thumb.

  2. ….and then I saw the alternator…period correct, me thinks not. Pretty much a turn off, not to mention the electric fan

  3. I really like this Roadster, its period correct for 2020 and tha’ts alright with me. A flathead is still a flathead and the updated technology makes it reliable. Who wouldn’t prefer driving over repairing? An A body on B rails has always made a sporty roadster.

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