The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

By KENNETH HALL - Motoring Tampa Bay correspondent
The 1932 Ford coupe was a natural choice for hot rodders. It had great lines and a powerful V8 engine. Hot rodders began snatching up inexpensive 1932 Ford coupes, and through a little chopping, channeling, fender removal and engine modifications, a whole new model emerged: the light and nimble Deuce Coupe. Over the years, the popularity of the quintessential American hot rod has grown to the point that original 1932 Ford coupes, if one can be found, are no longer cheap. Fortunately, those who want the thrill of driving such an icon can purchase a wide array of reproduction parts to build their own Deuce Coupe.
That is pretty much how Steve Barber, of Zephyrhills, came to own his 1932 Ford coupe.
“I always wanted a Deuce Coupe, and I was at the Turkey Trot about four years ago to sell a Corvette I had at the time,” Barber recalls. “This blue Deuce Coupe pulled in across the aisle. I looked up and told myself, I am going home with that car.”
The fact that the only original 1932 Ford parts on the car were the hood and grille did not deter Barber. The car had the look. Most 1932 Ford Coupes that have been hot rodded retain very few original parts anyway. He knew that with the help of his knowledgeable stepfather, he could turn it into something special.
“When I got it, the car had been painted,” Barber says. “Someone had done a little bit of the work – enough to get it going, and about 80 percent of the interior had been done. We pretty much restored the entire car.”
With a Gibbons fiberglass hardtop body and a So-Cal rolling chassis, Barbers Deuce Coupe has the strength to handle the high-performance components such as a Chevrolet 350 cubic-inch engine with a polished tunnel ram and a pair of 390 CFM Holley carburetors. The 350 transmission connects to a Ford nine-inch rear end, while the completely chromed front is supported by a four link suspension.
“It has disc brakes in front and drum brakes in the rear. It has open headers and side pipes, so it is very loud,” Barber says. “I take the hood and side panels off when I run it, so it is all open with a mean-looking, aggressive engine that is all chromed and detailed.”
The undercarriage of the Deuce Coupe is all polished and chrome, which makes it a real eye-catcher when it is rolling down the road. The tastefully-done interior is a bit Spartan, but less so than an original 1932 Ford.
“The interior has blue and gray leather seats and door panels,” Barber says. “The low back bucket seats are after-market seats, and it has a So-Cal floor shifter and a full set of new gauges. It has manual steering, but the car does not really need it. It is so light; it feels like it has power steering.”
Barber has a couple of other projects to complete before he feels his Deuce Coupe will be complete. He wants to finish installing the air conditioning system, although many of the components are in place. Also, he wants to install soundproofing in the cab to quiet the roar from the engine and roaring exhaust. Then he wants to find a 1941 Willys coupe to restore.
Barber says his Deuce Coupe is fun to drive, and it draws a lot of attention.
“The aggressive stance, the amount of chrome and the sound – it is loud are what draw peoples attention to the car,” Barber says. “I get lots of thumbs ups and people wanting to take pictures of the car wherever I drive it.”

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