The 1932 Ford is a legend among antique cars. It is the quintessential hot rod, a nostalgic classic, and a great restoration project. But the popularity of the sporty Deuce Coupe and 1932 Ford Roadster makes these vintage cars pricey and relatively common, which can be a deterrent for car enthusiasts who want to stand out or are looking for affordability.
Luckily there were a few other great roadsters produced in the first years of the 1930s. Like Fords, these cars can be made into anything from a show car to a daily driver to a hot rod. They have the rounded styling of the Ford and options for open tops, soft tops, rumble seats, and other features that make them attractive vintage sports cars.
You can never go wrong when choosing a 1932 Ford Coupe or Roadster to drive or restore, but if you are looking for something more unique, affordable, or with features you will not find on a Ford, these are some of the other top cars from the decade.
Pros and Cons of Restoring a 1932 Ford
The Deuce has become one of the most restored and modded cars for good reasons. Starting in the late 1930s, hot rodders chose this car for its lightweight steel body, powerful flathead V-8 engine, and, at the time, affordable cost. The steel body and flathead V-8 engine are still selling points today. This car has more power than other cars from the era with a 78 mph max speed on the original V-8.
As a restoration project in particular, the 1932 Ford Coupe or Roadster is ideal because of its:
- High production numbers and an all steel body means many Fords are still around.
- Aftermarket car parts and body parts make it easy to find products you need for restoration and maintenance.
- Straightforward to upgrade engines and parts, lower the suspension, and otherwise customize.
- Large community to help you with questions and advice.
There are a few factors to be aware of if a Deuce Coupe is your dream car. This is a rare case of excess supply not leading to lower costs. Although this was one of the best selling cars of the year and thousands remain, 1932 Fords are simply so popular that the price remains high. Restored cars easily go for upwards of $50,000 and a rusted frame alone can be thousands of dollars.
The V-8 was also not standard. Over 100,000 1932 Ford Model B cars sold with a 4-cylinder engine. Many people will opt to upgrade their engine to a Ford flathead or a Chevy engine.
It can also be difficult to find stock parts for those looking to restore a 1932 Ford to original quality. So many of these cars have been customized that few usable OEM parts remain. But replica parts like those from Vintage Auto Garage may be a better alternative anyway since they have the same look, yet can offer better performance.
1932 Chevrolet Confederate
The first alternative to a Ford is always a Chevy. The 1932 Chevy Confederate was in direct competition to the 1932 Ford. As with the Ford, Chevrolet introduced a new car for the 1932 model year that retained many styling elements of earlier models. Large front and rear fenders, running board, a sloped windshield, and no external visor makes this car visually similar to the Ford. The 1932 Chevy also came in a variety of body styles, including a 2 door roadster and 2 door coupe, as well as several 2 and 4 door sedan models.
A major difference was the 6-cylinder engine, which made the car significantly less popular at the time. Today, it often prompts owners to upgrade to a more powerful Chevy or Ford engine. The other difference is that the 1932 Chevy body is wood with steel plating. This leads to far fewer 1932 Chevy Coupes and Roadsters surviving today, despite Chevy outselling Ford in 1932. The wood frame often rotted away.
Finding one in good condition can still come at a high price, and project cars will run into the thousands. Restored Chevy Confederates do tend to have a lower price point than Fords, starting around $25,000, if you want a good looking Chevy Deuce Coupe.
1932 Plymouth PB
Plymouth had started only 4 years earlier in 1928 as Chrysler’s low-end offering to compete with Ford and Chevy. By 1931, the Plymouth Model PA was the third best selling car of the year, and the 1932 Model PB continued that trend.
In terms of design, vintage Plymouths used one piece fenders, a tall front grille, and multiple body styles. The Sport Coupe, a two seater with rumble seat, had a windshield that measures only 6.5” high at the center point, giving it a hot rod look without extra work.
Another stylistic choice that makes both original Plymouth PBs and restorations fun is the “Collegiate Special” Plymouth offered. In an effort to bring in younger buyers, Plymouth offered to factory paint the Sport Roadster in the buyer’s university colors for $40 extra.
Despite a slightly higher initial price point than either Chevy or Ford, the Plymouth PB had only a 4-cylinder engine. It did have more features for comfort and performance, however, with hydraulic brakes and rubber lining on the engine mounts to reduce vibration inside the car.
This is a less popular roadster from the 1930s, but with good performance and attractive styling. A project chassis can often be found for a couple thousand dollars, and restored cars range from $25,000 to $50,000, providing a more affordable option for a 1930s roadster.
1932 Buick Series 50
The Buick Series 50 is a higher end car on our list, although not to the extent of Packard or Cadillac. It was the junior companion to high end Cadillacs, and offered features above Chevy and Ford like walnut panels, chrome dashboard instruments, and mohair seats on enclosed coupes and sedans. They also offered a 2 door convertible.
The Buick had a straight-eight engine, giving it comparable power to the 1932 Ford. It also raked the windshield and eliminated the exterior visor. Wheel options, depending on the body style, included contemporary wire rims or the more outdated wooden spoke wheels.
Lower sales numbers mean fewer Buicks around today, and this car can be tricky to find. Prices on the coupes tend to be between $50,000 and $75,000. The convertibles can go for closer to $100,000. To widen your options, the 1930 and 1931 Buick Series 50 had similar styling and drivetrain as the 1932 model, making any of those years a great option for an early 1930s coupe.
Other Early 1930s Roadsters
There are several other less well known makes from the early 1930s that offered fashionable roadsters, coupes, and sedans, but offer a more unique look than the iconic Ford. These include:
- 1931 DeSoto Model SA - The vintage DeSoto from 31 was a step up from the Plymouth and had a 6-cylinder engine, hydraulic brakes, slightly nicer interior and exterior trim while looking much the same in the basics. The 1932 DeSoto was similar in appearance and drivetrain.
- 1932 Essex-Terraplane - Acquired by the Hudson Motor Company as their entry-level model, the Essex used an all steel construction like the Ford for a car body that is more likely to be in good condition today. It had a straight six engine and the 1932 models were the first cars to use warning lights instead of gauges on the dashboard. The body styling was simpler than Ford or Chevy for a more subdued look.
- 1932 Hupmobile Century Eight - Hupmobile was already on its way out in the early 1930s, and introduced flashy designs in 1930 in an attempt to regain sales. This makes them a true stand out among 1930s roadsters. Depending on the model you are looking for, low production and sales numbers could make it hard to find.
One consideration if your goal is to hot rod a car is that these models do not have the convenience of the traverse spring at front and rear that 1932 Fords have. They are more difficult to lower (or raise). As a show car, they offer an eye-catching look.
Parts for Deuce Coupes and 1930s Classic Cars at Vintage Auto Garage
Whatever manufacturer you choose for your classic roadster or coupe, these vintage designs are some of the most loved body styles. They turn heads on the racetrack or driving around town, but they need high quality parts to keep them running well for the next generations. Vintage Auto Garage is the leading supplier of antique car parts online. We stock all the parts to keep your car running and looking good for Ford, Chevrolet, Buick, Plymouth, and more.
The parts in our inventory are manufactured to the highest current standards, and improve performance in a classic car, whether you are installing a new starter, wiring, lighting, gauges, fuel injection, or overdrive. Our 6-volt to 12-volt conversion kits are a great option for any 1930s American classic car, and our inventory features kits that are compatible with almost every make and model from the time period.
You can browse our inventory by specific make or by part to find the vintage car parts for your classic vehicle. You can also give our experienced team a call for one on one help with selecting compatible parts for your vintage automobile.