My Car Quest

June 24, 2022

The Nickel Car – A Great American Hot Rod

by Mike Gulett –

The transition to electric cars challenges our sense of history and even the here and now. Will anything electric powered ever replace old style Hot Rods? Will new electric cars ever be turned into important customs and Hot Rods?

I do not know the answers but I do believe that there will never be a replacement for Hot Rods like this one.

If you are American you probably either own, have owned, admire or want a Hot Rod. If you are not American then you may or may not like Hot Rods unless you are Swedish. For some reason the Swedes love American cars and Hot Rods.

I fall into the category of “admire or want a Hot Rod”. I have never owned one. Here is a very special ’32 Ford Hot Rod that I photographed in 2011 and 2012 that could motivate just about anyone to want a Hot Rod.

The Nickel Car (The Bob Morris Deuce Roadster)

'32 Ford Hot Rod -The Nickel Car

The DuVall windshield is what I noticed first about this beautiful Hot Rod. Most Hot Rods have a fairly flat single piece of glass for the windshield.

The DuVall windshield is split in the middle with each side sweeping back with metal in the middle holding the two pieces of glass together. In the case here the metal is nickel-plated.

'32 Ford Hot Rod -The Nickel Car

This Hot Rod was built in the 1990s by Bob Morris who used an original steel Deuce body and installed an Allen Jennings built 320 cid Ford Indy block with Gurney-Eagle heads and four downdraft Weber carburetors connected to a custom manifold. The headers were built by Mike Hamm.

'32 Ford Hot Rod -The Nickel Car engine

The three piece hood and the beautiful and unusual aluminum top were made by Steve Davis. Allen Jennings hand built the Indy-style gas filler car and he also performed much of the detail work including the hand made dash and the pedals. The chassis work was done by Pete (“P-Wood”) Eastwood of Pasadena, California.

This Hot Rod was painted by Don Thelen’s Buffalo Motor Cars, Ron Mangus handled the green leather interior and Ron Covell did some of the custom body work.

'32 Ford Hot Rod -The Nickel Car gas cap

The Nickel Car gets its name from the liberal use of nickel-plated trim which matches the Halibrand Bonneville wheels. I notice the wheels that are on the car now are different than the wheels on the Rod & Custom magazine cover and in the book mentioned below. They are now black instead of silver.

'32 Ford Hot Rod -The Nickel Car

The Nickel Car is one of “The 75: The Most Significant ’32 Ford Hot Rods” featured in the excellent book ’32 Ford Deuce: The Official 75th Anniversary Edition.

'32 Ford Hot Rod -The Nickel Car grille

This car was formerly owned by the comedian Tim Allen and is now owned by Bruce Meyer who showed it to me and shared its history. Unfortunately I could not remember everything he said so I had to read the book.

'32 Ford Hot Rod -The Nickel Car

See all of my photos of this ’32 Ford Hot Rod in the slide show below.

Let us know what you think about Hot Rods in the comments.

'32 Ford Hot Rod -The Nickel Car

The Nickel Car was on the cover of Rod & Custom in April 1993.

Rod & Custom Cover April 1993

Rod & Custom Cover April 1993

'32 Ford Hot Rod -The Nickel Car logo

The Winged Emblem Is Made Of Solid Silver

Summary
The Nickel Car - A Great American Hot Rod
Article Name
The Nickel Car - A Great American Hot Rod
Description
The Nickel Car is a very special ’32 Ford Hot Rod that could motivate just about anyone to want a Hot Rod.
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Comments

  1. David Grant says

    Mike, I have been love with the Nickel Deuce ever since it was first shown at the Santa Barbara Concours d’ Elegance, around 1991. There was a special hot rod class that year that also included the Niekamp Roadster, the first Grand National Roadster Show winner from 1950. I am a confessed hot rod collector. Several of my friends and acquaintance that have crossed my passes here in Southern California worked on the Bob Morris Roadster. In fact, sitting in my garage is a Pete Eastwood chassis sitting under my ’32 Ford 3 window coupe. I had Pete use the same Sprint Car front radius mounts on the frame rails as the Morris Roadster. Also, a few years ago I borrowed the original George Duval windshield patterns from Julian Doty, George’s nephew. I had them repaired and had 10 sets cast in bronze. They are slimmer than all of the reproductions you see on hot rods or street rods today. It took about 7 years, but I sold all the sets except one. I have one more to sell and then that is it. In my opinion, every high performance car, factory, home grown or European hybrid can trace there heritage back to the hot rod days of the 1920’s, 1930’s or 1940’s. Speed equipment manufacturers sprang up due to a need for speed, and it is up to us to keep the flame going. This is why I own a 1932 Ford 3 window, a 1932 Ford Roadster, a 1940 Mercury chopped coupe, a 1951 Mercury, 1 1957 Mercedes 300SL Roadster, a 1963 Jaguar XKE Roadster, a 1963 Studebaker Avanti and an unused P-38 belly tank. If you, or any of your readers want to take a look at some great hot rods and close cousin, the custom car, you and your readers should get a copy of my book, The Legendary Hot Rods and Custom Cars of Gene Winfield. Oh, and I have restored and serviced many hybrids, 1968 A.C 428 and several Iso Grifos.

    • I love that you’re building a ’32…
      you’re a man of style and taste… and can make stuff.
      Hope to see you soon..or in Pebble Beach.
      Never lift…
      Bruce

  2. David – great collection and your book is available on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Legendary-Custom-Cars-Rods-Winfield/dp/0760327785

  3. Robert Feldman says

    There will be many great looking electro rods built by talented people in the future. None of them will offer the same feelings you get when you turn the key on this car! Hot Rods are supposed to make your heart race when they start. They are supposed to have a lumpy idle that you can dance to. They are supposed to make noise when you crack the pipes.
    I hope for us and future generations that ICE are never cancelled! This is an important part of history that must be preserved.

  4. Mike…thanks for sharing your love of this car. It is truly one of the most beautiful and well crafted “contemporary” builds…
    Come back and visit…
    Never lift…
    Bruce

  5. SKIP HINOJOS says

    I CAN’T BELIEVE IT? I BOUGHT THE MOLDS, TO MAKE THE 32 FORD , HI-BOY ROADSTER, AND I CAN’T GIVE THEM AWAY!! I’LL SELL THE WHOLE SET OF MOLDS FOR $3,000

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