Conrad W. Jacobs' 1932 Ford
1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe owned and built by Conrad W. Jacobs of Baltimore, Maryland. Jacobs decided to build the coupe after completing an Ardun powered, channeled and fenderless 1932 Ford Roadster build in the 1950s.
The Birthday Gift
Kim Jordan was a neighbor of Jacobs in the 1950s, when he lived in Lochearn, Maryland. "I was 10-12 years old when he had the '32 Ardun roadster, and then the '32 coupe," Kim told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2020. " I was car-crazy then and vividly recall him rumbling up past my house in the coupe. I loved that car! " Jordan interviewed Jacobs about the coupe circa 2000, and he told him that it was a birthday gift from his wife Marlene. "Marlene bought the '32 coupe from the original owner, who lived in Catonsville, Maryland."
Jacobs told Jordan that he immediately stripped of all the fenders, running boards, and hood and took them to the dump. After completing the Ardun powered roadster, he wanted to install a big Chrysler V8 in the coupe. After a year of hard work, he finally had a deuce coupe as nice as you can get them. Conrad did most of the work himself, such as the steering and the rear suspension. He also made his own engine adapter from a 1955 Plymouth bell housing, making the 1956 Chrysler engine fit a 1941 Cadillac column shift transmission. The rear axle with a ratio of 3:31 was from an Oldsmobile, as were the brakes. The rear wheels were Buick units. 1946 Ford spindles were mounted up front, along with a 3 " dropped axle and Mercury front wheels. The suspension was leaf springs, with Monroe tubular shocks. The 354 cid delivered 300 hp and it was equipped with a Dodge 1 1/2 ton truck flywheel and 11" pressure plate. The top was chopped 3 inches, and the body was channeled 7". The fuel tank was then placed in the trunk before Jacobs installed a pair of 1956 Pontiac taillights. The frame was also Z'd 7 inches. Conrad cut the frame ahead of the rear axle, overlapping the frame, welding, and reinforcing. "He restored the wheelbase lost by hanging a suicide perch off of the rear cross-member," Jordan told Kustomrama. All the holes were filled, and the body was done in white lacquer. The upholstery was done by the Adler & Mandel shop in Washington, D.C.. The interior was done in Gold and White Naugahyde tuck & roll, with a fully padded dash, chromed instruments and mouldings, pebble carpeting. The steering wheel was a 1956 Ford unit. Custom made nerf bars wrapped up the build and was installed front and rear.
The Klondike Koupe
Known as the "Klondike Koupe," Conrad showed the car in many local shows. In 2000 he told Kim about one time he was returning from a show in Pennsylvania late one evening and decided to see what the coupe could do. "He shifted into second and floored the gas. The right side rear radius rod broke free of the frame and punched a hole in the floor. He nursed the car home."
Sold and repainted
Around 1959 Conrad sold the coupe for $3,500. The next owner only kept it for a short time, after hitting a pedestrian with it. "In 1962, I saw the Coupe at a car show in Baltimore. It had been painted medium metallic blue and was being pinstriped in white." Kim lost track of the car after that.
Street rodded by Dudley Winters
In the late 1990s Kim Jordan began looking for the car with a desire to buy it and restore it to its 1958 state. "After talking to a lot of older local hot rodders, I determined that Dudley Winters bought the car around 1960 and still owned it." Dudley owned the car when it was featured in Rod & Custom July 1961, and according to that story, "Dud" Winters of Baltimore, Maryland, made the "mistake" of helping to build a rod once, "so he was not satisfied until owning one himself." Conrad is credited for the build in the story. In 2000 Kim found Dudley, and he let him see the Coupe. "Only the body shell, grille shell and rear nerf bar still existed from Conrad's creation. He had gotten rid of the Chrysler Hemi and replaced it with a 327 Chevy smallblock. His reasoning was the lack of speed parts available for the Hemi. Dudley unchanneled the body filled the roof and placed it on a reproduction frame with a Kugel independent front end, 327 Chevy w/ Turbo 350, and a Maverick rear. A machinist friend was making billet parts to accent the coupe." Kim lost track of Dudley and the car after 2001. Conrad, sadly passed away in 2007.
Magazine Features and Appearances
- Rods Illustrated June 1958
- Custom Rodder October 1958
- Rods Illustrated October 1958
- Rod & Custom July 1961
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