|Vehicle:||1932 Ford Hot Rod roadster|
|Years Produced:||Still in production|
|Tune Up Cost:||$200|
|Chassis Number Location:||Top side of frame, left side|
|Engine Number Location:||Left front side of engine block|
|Club Info:||Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, P.O. Box 424, Alamo, CA 94507, phone 925/838-9876, fax 925/820-8241|
This car sold for $22,990 including buyer’s premium at RM’s Arizona Biltmore auction on January 19, 2001. RM estimated the sale price to fall between $30,000 and $40,000, which is close to the retail money on this Ford. What happened? Was there just one hot-rod buyer at this auction?
After an auction, there are one or two cars everyone talks about. This is one of those cars. I tossed a description of this car to some hot-rod buyers and their response was, “Sounds like a nice $30,000 car.”
The 1932 roadster in fiberglass or steel is still a favorite with the hot-rod crowd. With redesigned fenders and a famous radiator shell, its body style attracts new buyers seventy years after the original design.
Original roadsters have been scarce for decades. Just 7,400 were produced with the famous flathead V8 and 4,600 with the 4-cylinder engine. In the mid-1970s, innovators like Ray Wescott produced fiberglass bodies of the ’32 Ford. (While the catalog says this car was built in the late ’60s, Ray told me he didn’t start selling bodies until 1976 and has since made between 1,200 and 1,300 of them.) These alternatives to steel cars are part of the reason why street rodding has become so popular.
While some die-hard rodders would never drive a ‘glass car, new enthusiasts may not be as particular. I’ve had the opportunity to auction many ‘glass-bodied hot rods, and it’s rare when they roll off the block without being sold. It’s the kind of car everyone seems to love.
From the standpoint of collectibility, the hot-rod market is still expanding. This is especially true for cars priced below $30,000. Anytime you can buy a one-of-a-kind car-no two hot rods are alike-for less than half of the cost to build one, you’ll find eager buyers and, with prices approaching $100,000 for a steel car with hot-rod history or a very original body, there is room for expansion in the low-end, ‘glass part of the market.
Was this car a good buy? I think so. Open any street rod magazine and you’ll see page after page of all the components you need to build a car from scratch. Add in the cost of the work you couldn’t do yourself or, for that matter, turning the assembly over to your local hot-rod shop and you’ll find that $22,990 would leave you with a stack of parts boxes and an unassembled car.
The discrepancy between the catalog’s date of construction for this rod and the time that Wescott started selling bodies is troubling, but I don’t believe that is the reason this car sold for so little. More likely, it was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Surrounded by C-type Jaguars and Duesenbergs-and the buyers who are attracted to those types of original cars-the little ‘glass rod just didn’t have any sex appeal for the bidders at this auction. Its low, near-bargain price proves once again that even at a high-line auction there are deals to be found.-Steve Dorsey
(Historical information and photo courtesy of auction company.)