Building a custom car takes a lot of heart, not only from the owner of the vehicle but also from the shop behind the build. We see this all over the automotive industry and it’s what makes being a part of it so worthwhile for so many people.
Building a car for the Grand National Roadster Show — one that goes on to compete for the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award — takes much more than heart. It takes undeniable talent, a significant amount of time and effort, and an attention to detail that is unmatched, so much so that sometimes “heart” takes a back burner to these other important factors. But not with this exquisite roadster!
Owned by Dean Scott of Gilroy, California, this 1932 Ford highboy roadster is a very special car. Not only is it an original steel car powered by a classic 1970 Boss 302 V8 engine, it’s also a car with an amazing history, over 30 years of which was spent with the Scott family. The car is also a tribute and the ultimate nod to Dean’s late father, Bob Scott, who was the very source of Dean’s original interest in hot rods.
“I have been around hot rods since early childhood,” Scott explained. “Both my dad and my uncle were heavy in the Southern California hot rod scene in the late ’40s. My dad went into the U.S. Air Force, and my uncle was the founder of Scott Fuel Injection. I’ve got so many pictures of the two of them in their younger years, stories of the SoCal dry lakes and early drag racing scene.”
With a family history brimming with automotive passion and an upbringing significantly influenced by the traditional hot rod scene, it was inevitable that Scott would grow up to expand upon his own automotive passion and secure a hot rod collection of his own one day. This year, that collection got a little more elite.
Purchased by Scott’s father in the early ’80s, this 1932 Ford has been in the Scott family for a long time. But it wasn’t until after Scott’s father passed away that the time was right for the classic American model to get the makeover it always deserved. Well, at least that’s how it turned out after a few tweaks and upgrades turned into a full-fledged build!
A New Beginning
Originally built by Dick Eaton in the 1960s, it was featured in a number of hot rod publications back in the day, and passed on to a few other owners before being purchased by Bob Scott in the ’80s. It was stored for the last 15 years of ownership, and was ready for an upgrade into the 21st Century. But that didn’t mean all the traditional flair of the car couldn’t also be maintained with the right builder.
So, with the direction of family friend Ron Attebury, who had put some work into the roadster himself, Scott took the car to Matt Dowd. The Dowd crew have taken their more than two decades of expertise of Attebury Street Rods, and expanded on it for generations to come through as ASR Performance & Customs. In Dowd’s capable hands, the roadster was transformed into the magnificent America’s Most Beautiful Roadster contender you see here.
Dowd equipped the roadster with a complete ASR Performance chassis, fitted with a Pete and Jake’s front end, and custom ASR rear setup with a Winters Performance quick change housing out back. QA1 shocks are used on all four corners of the car while ASR rear swaybars keep the car from experiencing too much body roll on the road.
Planting the car to the ground are 15×5.5-inch (front) and 15×8-inch (rear) Eric Vaughn “Real Wheels” wrapped in Firestone Dirt Track tires and backed by Attebury Street Rod brakes. Once the chassis was complete, everything else was put in its place, including the original steel ’32 Ford roadster body.
With the roadster’s body being original, Scott and Dowd didn’t want too many modifications, but there are enough finite details to see the improvements that were made to the car. In addition to straightening all the body panels and perfecting all the gaps, Dowd crafted a custom hood top and sides for the roadster, as well as a fresh rear roll pan.
The rear body seams on the taillight panel were shaved, as were the seams on the package tray and door handles, adding to the roadster’s sleeker look. Topping off the formed and fitted roadster body is a hot rod staple — a flawless, mirror-like black paint scheme with an Axalta Chroma base laid by Brad Lovejoy, who also helped with the expertly executed bodywork on the car.
Inside, the interior of the car is a perfect mix of custom and classic designs thanks to Mike Miller. The custom bench has a built-in center console wrapped in chestnut-colored leather, which has been fitted with seat warmers. The dash, which is original to the Ford, is painted to match the upholstery and features Stewart Warner Wings gauges. The interior also features a full sound system with a built-in auxiliary port, 300-watt JL Audio amplifier and 6.5-inch Kicker speakers.
Now, it’s one thing for a ’32 roadster to look good, but it’s a completely different thing for it to have the power and clout to back its good looks. As you’d expect, this roadster has both aesthetics and performance down pat!
Powering the roadster is a 1970 Boss 302 that has been bored over .04 and fitted with a COMP Cams hydraulic roller camshaft, a forged crankshaft, Eagle I-beam rods, custom JR Racing pistons and a custom Hogan’s Racing intake manifold. Stepping it up with modern fuel injection, the engine utilizes an Eight Stack EFI system tied to a MSD ignition system and a Holley HP EFI ECU. Once spun around, spent fuel exits the classic Boss V8 through custom lake pipes built by ASR.
Backing the classic engine is a Ford automatic overdrive transmission, chosen for its driveability especially in California traffic, which pushes power to the pavement via a custom ASR driveshaft and the aforementioned Winters quick change rearend.
When asked what their favorite part of the car was, both Dowd and Scott mentioned the Boss 302 engine and the fact that the car is an original steel ’32 Ford, rather than a fabricated body. The only thing either of them would change, if the car was to be redone, is to put a manual transmission rather than the automatic.
A truly remarkable car, Scott’s ’32 roadster will be thoroughly enjoyed by him and his wife for years to come. The chances are good that you might just see them and the car at some top-notch car shows in the future!