The Ford Hotrods are fast-paced speedsters normally built around the body or traditional body shape of the Ford 1932 Model B. Due to their popularity as the basic shape for a classic Hotrod, the original ’32 Model B cars are extremely rare and sell for incredibly high values. Many people these days resort to using fiberglass copies or reconstructed steel bodies to build their own Hotrods.
The Model B was first produced in 1932 at Ford’s plant in Detroit and exported throughout the world. The series only lasted a few years, and by 1934, it was succeeded by the Model 48. In the post-war years, the Model B was to be found everywhere, was relatively cheap, and rapidly became a popular car for people to convert during the 1960s.
The car was produced in sedan, cabriolet, and phaeton styles, but it is the roadster and coupe body shapes that are the most coveted. It is very rare indeed to find an unaltered 1932 Model B. The Douce Coupe, as it became affectionately known, is ideal for stripping down to make as light as possible and then adding a souped-up engine. The 5-window is the most common, but there are also rarer 3-window versions with rear-hinged, suicide doors.
The 1932 model was a very boxy affair with curved wheel arches, leading to a running board. The grille too was square with a rounded-off top and bottom. The 1933 model is much more curvaceous. The wheel arches are more fluid than the previous year and blend into the shield shaped grille, which has similarly rounded side louvers along the engine bay. The 1934 Model B has most of the elements of the 2 previous versions, albeit with a little flatter grille.
It is estimated that over the 4 years of its production, there were over 4.3 million Model B cars produced. Its common use as a hotrod favourite has led to a growth industry for the car and ensured it remains a well-loved classic car. It is incredible that the car ever came to fruition, born at the height of the depression, with less room than its rivals and with an innovative, untried, mass-produced V8 engine.
The Ford Model B, when it came out, was fitted with a cast flathead V8 engine. It was a light car that kicked out 63KW; it, had a great pickup of speed and a top end of 136km/h. For it to be a successful hotrodder, these were changed with much more powerful units and the interiors stripped out to the bare minimum to save on weight.
Traditionally, these engines are replaced with more powerful units, although the Ford flathead V8 is still a much respected drivetrain. Other engines that often drive the hotrods along are the revolutionary Chrysler first-generation Hemi and the Small Block Chevy, one of the most used engines by enthusiasts. The cutting-edge Ford Windsor, also known as the 90-degree V8, was originally designed to power the Ford Fairlane and the more recent engine from 1991, the Ford Modular, OHC V8.
A well-maintained, tuned hotrod engine can go from 0-100km/h in under 7.0 seconds with ease, but with a little more tweaking and fine tuning, it is possible to do it in 2.7 seconds.
A proper kitted-out hotrod tends to have all its standard, internal equipment ripped out. If it is not of use, then out it comes; the less weight the better. In an attempt to lighten the cars, it was popular to remove convertible tops, bonnets, windscreens, bumpers, and engine louvers.
While racing hotrods tend to be stripped down for speed, showrods are full of gizmos and gadgets. It is not unusual to have a CD/radio sound system, touchscreen infotainment unit, airbags, reversing camera, and leather- and wooden-trimmed interior. As they are all customised vehicles, the world is your oyster.
While there are many cars that have been customised and hot-rodded, the true holy grail is still the Ford 1932 ‘Douce Coupe’Model B. There have been many different models that have received the hotrod customisation treatment, with popular cars being the Chevy Camaro, Shelby GT500, or Plymouth Belvedere.
Ford has always paved the way with the Mustang, Thunderbird, Anglia, Ranchero, and Torino all having received flashy bright paint jobs, big tyres, and growling V8 engines. The one thing that there can be no doubt about is that this is an expensive hobby and these cars do not run cheaply, but you can make them as fast and comfortable as you like.