1932 Ford Roadster
Like many hot rod builders, Tommy Fitzgerald, took his time, largely because he was of modest means. The foundation was an original all-steel 1932 Ford V-8 roadster. Unlike some builders of the late 1950s and early 1960s, Fitzgerald stayed true to the Ford flathead V-8, although that was just the beginning. He fitted a set of Eddie Meyer aluminum heads, twin Stromberg 97 carburetors, Belond-style headers and an original S.C.o.T supercharger. To deal with the increased temperatures, he installed a “beehive” oil cooler, and to accept the greatly-increased power, stronger Lincoln-Zephyr gears replaced the original Ford cogs. Thanks to a two-speed Columbia rear axle, at 80 mph, the engine is turning just 2,700 rpm.
The brakes were also upgraded from a later Ford, while the front axle was stretched and drilled. Wheels are 1946-1948 Ford 15-inchers, with the rear rims widened to take 8.20 rear tires, which have just the right look following the 5.90 X 15 fronts.
Inside, behind the Ford banjo steering wheel an instrument panel houses five convex dome Stewart Warner gauges. The brown tucked-and-rolled Naugahyde upholstery looks just right with the patinated black lacquer paint. The outside is further set off by the King Bee accessory headlamps, chopped windshield and tan canvas convertible top. Overall, the car just looks right, which is why it has appeared in a Tom Fritz painting, in “The Rodder’s Journal,” and on TV in “My Classic Car.”