Peter Billing's 1932 Ford

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Photo from the Bosse Eriksson collection.
Photo from the Bosse Eriksson collection.
A letter from Peter on his cabriolet was published in Hot Rod Magazine February 1959.
Peter's cabriolet as it looked in the summer of 1959. Photo courtesy of Leif Hultdin.
A group of early Swedish hot rods on their way to Kanonloppet in Karlskoga in 1959. The cars in the front row, from right to left, are Lennart Djurberg's 1932 Ford roadster, Janne Eriksson's 1932 Ford roadster and Roland Larsson's 1932 Ford roadster. The cars in the back row, from right to left, are Peter Billing's brother's 1930 Ford Model A Roadster, Peder Lundgren's Ford Model A Roadster and Peter's Cabriolet. Photo courtesy of Leif Hultdin.[1]
Peter's cabriolet next to Peder Lundgren's Ford Model A Roadster. Photo courtesy of Leif Hultdin.
When Örjan Molins bought the cabriolet in the 1960s it was red with black fenders. Photo from the Bosse Eriksson collection.
Peter's old hot rod as it appeared after Bosse Eriksson street rodded it in the late 1990s. Photo by Erik Stigsson, courtesy of Power Magazine.
Photo by Erik Stigsson, courtesy of Power Magazine.
Photo by Erik Stigsson, courtesy of Power Magazine.
Photo by Erik Stigsson, courtesy of Power Magazine.
Photo by Erik Stigsson, courtesy of Power Magazine.
Photo by Erik Stigsson, courtesy of Power Magazine.

1932 Ford Cabriolet owned and built by Peter Billing of Lidingö, Sweden. Peter's cabriolet was hot rodded as early as 1958, and it is one of the first known hot rods of Sweden. Late in 1958 or early in 1959 Peter, who was 20 years old at the time, wrote a letter to Hot Rod Magazine telling them about his hot rod. In the same letter he has also asked if he could become a member of the National Hot Rod Association. The letter, along with a photo of Peter's cabriolet and Lennart Djurberg's 1932 Ford Roadster, another early Swedish hot rod, was later printed in Hot Rod Magazine February 1959. According to Peter's letter, the car was "much modified", featuring a Ford 59A flathead V8 engine that had been bored out to the largest Ford oversized pistons. The engine had also been fit with a 1949 Mercury crankshaft and Lincoln Zephyr V12 valve springs. The heads were milled down about 1.1 mm and the ports had been enlarged and polished. In order to get the car to look like a real hot rod, Peter had removed the bumpers, spare tire, running boards and front fenders. He bobbed and kept the rear fenders and installed motorcycle type fenders up front due to the dusty and bad roads of Sweden. 1939 Ford taillights were installed on the rear fenders, and a new dashboard was made from a 1951 Ford dash and a piece of oak. A front crossmember from a Model A was bolted to the frame in order to lower the car. Hydraullic brakes and spindles from a 1946 Ford were installed to make things really happen when Peter hit the brakes. Peter had found the old cab in a junkyard, and he bought it for about 100 SEK (about 20 dollars). According to Peter's letter it wasn't much of a car when he found it, but as there were so few 1932 Fords around at the time he decided to buy it even though it was "perforated by rust". The build took about one year to build, and most of the work was done after school and in Peter's spare time.[2]

Peter sold the cabriolet in the 1960s. After swapping hands a couple of times, Peter's old hot rod was eventually sold to Örjan Molin of Uppsala, Sweden. When Örjan got the car, it was red. He painted the old Ford green and enjoyed it for some time before he decided that he wanted to restore it. The car was parked away, and as Örjan never got around to restore it, it stayed in storage for more than 30 years. In 1997, the historic Swedish hot rod was dug out of storage and sold to another old hot rodder, Bosse Eriksson of Norrtälje, Sweden. Bosse bought his first 1932 Ford roadster in 1959, and he was one of the first in Sweden to install a Chevrolet engine in a hot rod.[3]

After buying the old cabriolet, Bosse teared it down and transformed it into a modern street rod. The body was in a good shape, and was almost free for rust, but it had a minor damage in the rear. Due to some crude old bodywork, Bosse decided to redo most of the bodywork on the car as well. During the restoration, Bosse decided to chop and angle the windshield, so a 2 inch section was removed from each pillar. As Bosse wanted the car to have some of its old styling features after the restoration, bobbed fenders were installed in the rear. A buddy of Bosse did also make a a pair of motorcycle type fenders for the front of the car. The frame was strengthened and a Jaguar E-Type front suspension was installed along with a Saab 900 steering assembly. A Jaguar XJ6 rear-axle was installed along with a pair of 8x15 American Racing wheels. 6x14 inch wheels were used up front. Wanting to have an engine he could enjoy and trust, Bosse installed a Chevrolet 350 engine that he hooked to a TH350 transmission. Inside, he installed a pair of BMW 300 seats along with VDO gauges, a Budnik steering wheel and power windows from a Mercedes. Bosse Sybo upholstered the car in black leather, and Tommy Mattson of Norrtälje painted the cabriolet glossy black. Headlights from a 1930 - 1931 Ford were installed as these are smaller than the stock headlights. A pair of custom designed taillights were integrated into a rolled rear-pan. After the car had been street rodded, Power Magazine did a featured story on the car in 1999.[3]

Bosse Eriksson passed away in 2020 and the car is since 2021 owned by Erik Gruvris in Rättvik.

Magazine Features

Hot Rod Magazine February 1959
Power Magazine Nummer 6, 1999 Dec-Febr



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