1932 Ford Three-Window Hot Rod

The three-window ’32 Ford is a hugely desirable car in hot rod circles. It offers better rigidity than its roofless siblings and better protection in case of rollovers while racing.

The Flathead V8 bolted into the engine bay responded particularly well to performance upgrades, and a nationwide industry popped up in the USA to manufacturer racing and hot rod components, this industry is still going strong today, 85 years later.

The ’32 three-window you see here is fitted with a series of period correct performance enhancements including Ardun OHV cylinder heads and an original Roots-type S.C.O.T. supercharger, twin Stromberg 97 carburetors, and a beehive oil filter.

Inside, it’s fitted with a twin-spoke 1940 Ford steering wheel, a three-speed manual transmission, a black and red bench seat, and a stripped interior to reduce weight for better performance. It’s also fitted with hydraulic brakes all round, the suspension has been modified with a drop axle and reverse eye spring, and it rides on 15 inch wheels with period correct bias-ply white wall tires.

The hood has been removed, as no true hot rod needs one, and it retains its sweeping original Ford fenders – a feature than many hot rods forgo to save weight, but it does look fantastic when they’re kept in place.

RM Sotheby’s estimate that this one will sell for between $50,000 and $65,000 USD when it rolls across the auction block at their Hershey Auction on the 5th of October. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.


The 1932 Ford would go on to have what is probably the longest service life of any mass produced car in world history. There are older cars of course, but ’32 Fords remain broadly in active use – not only on the roads of the USA as hot rods and rat rods, but also on the drag strips, salt lakes, beachfront boulevards.

Perhaps the most important contribution the ’32 Ford made to automotive history was under its hood. 1932 was the first time Americans could buy an affordable V8 engine, and it’s a love affair that would last far further than anyone at the American automaker would have been able to guess back in the early days of the Great Depression.

Henry Ford and his team of engineers spent years working on the Ford Flathead V8, new techniques were developed to cast the block and mass-produce what was then a more complex engine than Ford was used to manufacturing in large numbers.

It didn’t take long for enterprising young American men to realize the performance potential of this new car, often by adding a hot cam shaft which were colloquially known as “hot rods”, eventually contributing their name to an entirely new class of performance street car.

Today it’s almost impossible to find an all-original ’32 Ford V8, they were so popular with young men who wanted to go fast that secondhand examples were almost entirely chopped and raced – particularly by the GIs returning from WWII in the mid to late 1940s. This has resulted in companies popping up that build entirely new chassis and bodies, as well as new Flathead V8s and all the parts you need to get racing.

This means that it’s likely that you’ll still be able to build yourself an entirely new ’32 Ford in 2032 – exactly 100 years after the model first appeared.

Watch a documentary about the development of the Ford Flathead V8 here.

Images: Karissa Hosek ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Published by Ben Branch -