1932 Model B owned by John Carlson
When the 1932 Ford burst onto the scene it was a smash hit and went on to be the darling of vintage car and hot rod fans. Famously John Dillinger wrote Henry Ford to compliment him on the power of the V8 and when he chose getaway cars, the V8 Ford topped his list.
Topping a few more peoples list is this 1932 Ford Model B 3 window deluxe coupe originally purchased for Mrs. Gibbs by her husband in 1932. The 60 Horsepower V8 took the automotive world by storm but Mrs. Gibbs wanted nothing to do with this new-fangled V8. Her sentiments were not in the majority and only fifty three Canadian 1932 Model B 3 window deluxe coupes were sold in Canada. The Gibbs purchased the car new from Stonehouse Motors in Vancouver B.C.
Although the new V8 for 1932 was the first massed produced single casting V8 block available, it produced only 60 horsepower in 1932. In 1931 the 200 cu. in. Engine produce only 40 HP but the improved 1932 200 cu. in. 4 cylinder flathead engine’s improvements produced an increased 10 horsepower. Improved head design, better carburetion, exhaust manifold and with a newly designed stronger crankshaft the little Model B 200 cu. in. engine produced 50 horsepower.
Model B engines were also used for racing and could be modified with pressurized main bearings, drilled rod journals and some sported a HAL overhead valve conversion or a Riley 4 Port or 2 port cylinder heads Fuel pumps on the Model B engine instead of a gravity system like it’s predecessor was also a huge improvement in drivability.
For the first time in Ford’s history they offered two models…albeit very similar except the Model 18 used used the new V8 flathead engine and was offered at only a USD $10 price increase. Of course the sales of the V8 Model 18 were much higher than the 4 cylinder Model B but with the great depression in full swing, Ford did not make a profit in 1932. Only Nash and General Motors were “in the black” out of all the car manufacturers.
The Canadian cars had Canadian serial numbers and imperial gallons on the fuel guage. The chassis was made by Ford. The bodies were made by Murray coachworks…with suicide doors versus the 5 window which had conventional doors. This cost of the Deluxe Model B was $650 and an additional $15 for the optional rumble seat. The 3 window coupe was only offered as the more expensive “Deluxe” model in 1932.
All 1932 cars came with rear mounted spares and black painted fenders using Pyroxylin lacquer. Optional side mounted spares as well a clock, outside mirrors and although leather was standard, optional broadcloth and Mohair was offered on closed cars.
Mrs Gibbs looked after the car and all the stock original parts were retained with the car. To protect the Mohair door panels a new clear protective “Eisenglass” cover was custom installed sometime in the late 1930 or early 1940 era. A popular material used for windows on convertible tops, it caused quite a stir when the car was shown in 1982 at an Early Ford V8 Western National Convention as the judges were perplexed on whether it should be allowed. The car was eventually awarded a first place.
The cars paint somewhere took a turn for the worse but no rust ever crept into the Model B and Mrs Gibbs drove the car until she passed in the late1950’s. Shortly after Mrs Gibbs passing away the car was sold to a used car dealership in Steveston, Richmond and Stew and Sylvia Braddick bought it in late 1958.
The price was rumoured to be in the $1000 range and because of the high price and originality of the car, the Braddicks did not turn it into hotrod or racecar. The Braddicks operated the Payless Auto Parts store on Hastings for years and the car was driven sparingly and often seen in the front window of the store. With such a prominent location it was seen and admired by all sorts of Car Nuts and finally Stew sold his prized car to Ed Aveling in 1974.
Aveling drove the car frequently and in the mid 70’s John Carlson saw the car in the parking lot of the Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver while waiting go on the Boxing Day parade run with the Vintage Car Club of Canada. Carlson walked around the car several times admiring it’s originality.
In the 1950’s,60’s & 70’s the 1932 Ford was revered by car collectors world over. It is hard to image, but back in the early 70’s the Muscle cars we all love today were just gas guzzling used cars to many.
A few years later while walking through the Portland Swap meet with Aveling, Carlson told Aveling how much he wanted to buy the car and upon being refused he took a $100 bill and stuffed it into Aveling’s shirt pocket and asked to be the first person called if the car was eventually offered up for sale.
Finally in 1981, Carlson got a phone call but found out that a young former neighbour of the Gibbs had wanted the car for years. A young Harold Grocott had struck a bargain with Mrs Gibbs 2 years before she died to trade 2 years of lawn cutting for the car. Her untimely death had nullified the deal, but he still wanted a shot at buying the car from Aveling.
Carlson had just bought a 1931 Ford Model A 400 and was not sure he could buy it..but after a sleepless night decided to buy it and called Aveling’s office many times and never got a hold of him…finally 4 days of calling he got Aveling and he was told he did not take Carlson’s calls because he wanted Carlson to really understand how much he wanted to buy the car.
Oddly similar, Harold Grocott, had just purchased a fishing boat and wavered on the deal…so Carlson was the next lucky owner of the little Model B. When Carlson got the car in 1981 every original piece came with the car…except a couple of engine drip pans attached to the lower end of the engine that were often discarded by mechanics as nuisance pieces.
It took a long time to find those correct pieces but now the car is perfect with it’s original Champion 3X sparkplugs..proper numbered fanbelt…Ford scripted Battery case and near flawless original interior. In 1983, Carlson gifted the car to his infant son JJ who has now owned the car for 32 years—He still lets his dad drive it.
The car was shown extensively with the Early Ford V8 Club of America. All 4 cylinder cars are eligible for the Early Ford V8 club status…because it had the optional 4 cylinder engine. He showed the Model B for the first time in 1982 in Olympia Washington. It won a first place. After showing it at countless shows and 4 other National events, where it received a Dearborn award every time. With the new Rouge class, the first time it was shown as a Rouge car it was a Rouge first place winner. The car has been a Dearborn Medallion and Rouge Medallion winner for many years
This little gem is more than just a pretty, original face…because of it’s flawless condition some of the Early Ford judging Guidelines have been developed using the car as a reference. .LeBaron Bonney Upholstery of Massachusetts, used the cars original floor mats as a guide for their reproductions.
In 1996 it participated in the Early Ford V8 Club National convention held in Victoria BC hosted by Chairman Al Clark (of Deuce Days). Drag racing legend Don Garlits was honourary chairman and picked the Model B as Garlits favourite car of the show. He insisted that JJ and his younger brother David be photographed with the car so he could autograph their pictures. According to Carlson, Garlits was a class act!-
The car has been driven about 5000 miles since 1981, even to Prince George and on many Vintage Car Club of Canada tours. It has been to all the Deuce Days except for one and was driven each time. For the big US shows it gets trailered only for the practical reasons of a rumble seats takes up all the luggage space.
Probably the best chance to see the car will be at the Next Deuce days in Victoria…where it will not get lost in the sea of 1932 Fords….as this car is one of a kind!!!
John Carlson is a Charter and a founding member of the Vancouver /Fraser Valley Early Ford V8 Club Regional Group 120 which was formed one year before he gave this car to his fist born son JJ. John has been a member of the Early Ford V8 Club of America since 1977.
The Dearborn Medallian
The Rouge Division
Definition…All eligible club vehicles unrestored, original as manufactured
which meet the requirements set forth in the judging rules for the Rouge Division.
Eligibility for Rouge Award includes among the following…
- Vehicles will be considered for certification in one or more of three areas: Interior, Exterior, and/or Running Gear .
2. A minimum of 90% of the area being considered must be original from the manufacture of the vehicle to be certified for the Rouge Award.
- Allowable replacement parts for original vehicles shall be limited to:
Water hoses, fan belts, spark plugs, water pumps, fuel pumps, generator, starter, distributor, battery, tires and tubes.Topping fabric and pads on open cars, however top boot and side curtains shall be
- Allowed replacement parts shall be the correct type, finish, and color for the year and model of the vehicle.
- Parts which are repainted, replated, refinished, reupholstered, or in any way restored are not original as manufactured.
6. Past winners of the Dearborn Award/Medallion are eligible for the Rouge Division