Men have wandering eyes, everybody knows that, but the phenomenon isn’t just in regards to the fairer sex. In fact, we say that when it comes to automobiles, car guys always have their eyes peeled for strange sheet metal. We spend hours browsing AutoTrader, The H.A.M.B., or Hemmings, or worse yet, just add cars to the harem out in the garage. It’s the equivalent of automotive polygamy minus public scorn and its strange affliction that all car guys understand. Maybe there should be a car stalking anonymous group for those battling this curse.
The 1932 coupe we bring you is the result of a man’s wandering eye, and God bless him because this fiberglass Pro-Street coupe is friggin’ fantastic. Built by Wentz’s Hot Rods and owned by Paul and Eileen Bartolone from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, we bring you the story of its genesis.
“It all started on Paul’s daily commute. I would pass Wentz’s Hot Rods shop on my way to work,” Paul confessed to us. “I finally stopped in to ask if they would work on the drivetrain for my ’41 Ford. Then, I would pop in after work to check on the progress and that’s when I saw that Bud had the ’32 in there. After a while, I decided that I wanted that ’32 so I “worked on him,” to sell me the car. My lovely wife knew I was up to no good because I would linger around at the shop and come home late. I would just tell her that traffic was really bad until she finally caught on that I was over at Bud’s shop to work on the ’32. She agreed to get on board with the car as long as I painted the car a candy apple red. So to promote marital harmony, I did, and the rest is history”
Paul has four older brothers and they all had hot rods, so he was bitten by the car bug long ago and has never recovered. “I always liked ’32 Fords, but I wanted to add some Pro Street flavor to the mix. It took about 18 months to build but it was worth the wait. After I took delivery, I trailered it to the Cleveland Piston Autorama, and only then did it sink in that it was truly mine,” he recounts.
The foundation of any car is the chassis, so let’s begin there. Paul’s ’32 rolls on a funny car-style chassis built by Scott Emerson. The 112″ wheelbase frame is made up of sturdy 1 5/8 chrome-moly tubing and is home to some of the best running gear on the market. Up front, the car uses a strut suspension from Strange with AFCO Racing shocks, rack and pinion steering, and a custom steering column. The wheelie bare extending from the rear frame keeps the front wheels on the ground.
At the stern, power is delivered to the wheels via a Strange Fab 9 rear end with 3.89 gears and a Detroit Locker limited-slip differential and chrome-moly sway bar. The back of the coupe is sprung with a 24″ four-link suspension, a wishbone Panhard rod, Strange shocks, and 11″ four-piston brakes all the way around. An aluminum 16-gallon tank, custom made to fit trunk curve adds ballast at the rear, much to the chagrin of the wheelie bar.
The car connects to the tarmac with Hole Shot wheels, 3 1/2″ x 15″ in the front, 15″ x 15″ in the rear, wrapped in Hoosier Quick Time tires. Not only does this setup easily handle over 1000hp, but looks super cool with just the right rake. To help drop the anchor, a chute was added as well.
The big, fat blower is the centerpiece of the build. Loud and proud, this mill is one mean motha’ and is as ornery as it looks. Paul went the big-block route with a Chevy 427cid Rat motor with a World Productions block, aluminum heads, and Sanderson Zoomie headers. Assembled by Gary Box from Box Performance out of Grafton, Ohio, they handled the machine work as well. Balanced and blueprinted, the mill pumps out 1180hp at 6400 RPM with help of two ProSystems 2, 1020 carburetors, and a Blower Shop 871 supercharger. The transmission is a Turbo-Hydramatic 400 with a B&M shifter and was built by Dion Vickers out of Sebring, Ohio.
This stretched, fiberglass body comes from the factory with a “chopped top.” All the bodywork and paint were handled by the talented team at Wentz’s Hot Rods, with many thoughtful touches and tweaks. Take your time and check out the custom running boards, custom rear wheel wells, aluminum floor, lengthened firewall, and custom front spoiler. Many hours of massaging and finessing followed and when the body was straight and true, the whole thing dipped in gorgeous metallic red paint courtesy of House of Kolor. The exterior lighting is handled by King Bees up front, and Lokar taillights.
Inside, the cabin is swathed and stitched in brown leather upholstery by Lee Cultip out of Randolph, Ohio. The diamond pattern door cards are a nice touch as well as a pinstripe flourish on the dash There is a lot of cool gear inside too. A stout roll cage, Kirkey Racing Seats, RJS racing harnesses, a thick Momo steering wheel, and a fiberglass dash with RacePack gauges. The custom fiberglass body with the longer wheelbase has a skosh more legroom, and because it’s not channeled you’re not sitting on the floor either. The only hurdle is slipping over the roll cage to get in.
Building a 1932 Ford is like writing a county song. It’s all been done before so it’s tough to come up with something new and that’s what we like about Paul and Eileen’s coupe. It has enough fresh touches thrown to make it stand out from the rest at the local show and shine. For now, we bet that Paul and Eileen are enjoying the car, and in this case, a wandering eye has a happy ending for everybody.