227 bullet holes didn’t stop this 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe’s resurrection

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Courtesy Ron Carlsten

In 2002, my friend Alex McGillervery and I heard about this coupe for sale. We drove to Phoenix to meet with the seller and arrived at what could be described as the ultimate hot-rod house. The guy had been building hot rods his entire life. Facing old age and realizing he would never get to build all of them, he had started to liquidate his stash of projects.

After looking at the coupe body, we were told that another coupe body would be for sale, as well. We each made separate deals for our prospective bodies and parts, then loaded the trailer to head back to Tucson.

Ford 5-Window Coupe rusty original body
Look closely, and you’ll see the Coupe’s battle scars circled lightly in chalk or ringed in rust. Courtesy Ron Carlsten

Alex and I started with my coupe since it was the cheaper one and in worse shape. It had 227 bullet holes in it, and that became the car’s name. After cutting the body apart, we began with the floor and worked our way up, re-chopping the car 3 inches from stock, using pieces from another 5-window and filling in the roof with a Walden Speed Shop insert.

Once the body was squared and chopped correctly, it was on me to finish the car to my liking. Seventeen years later, and with countless trips around the Southwest for various parts, the car was ready for final paint and bodywork.

 

It still rides on the original 1932 frame, and up front is a Model A crossmember, the original heavy axle dropped 4 inches, ’32 split wishbones, and ’40 Lincoln brakes with ’40 Ford hubs and spindles. Power comes from a Chevy 350, which I disguised visually as a 283. It runs to a Ford 9-inch rear end with Dutchman axles, ’36 Ford split wishbones, and a 1940 Ford rear spring. Meanwhile, the dash is half-1955 Sunbeam roadster and half-1955 Volkswagen Bug, with a steering wheel out of a 1955 Buick.

It took awhile, but my ’32 is all steel and all mine.

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