1932 Ford Clarke Hot Rods | 1932 Ford Frame Chassis
Clarke Hot Rods

I was just sitting here on Christmas Eve clearing out some old pics and videos – and ran across this one of Chip moving his roadster from one side of the shop to the other. We were just standing there in the shop last June, and he needed to make some room – I just barely got my camera out and on in time to catch the moment –

chassis-shot-2-dsrIn the last few years, the guys up at the Rolling Bones shop in New York have taken an old idea and worked it back into style. The ‘Bones guys took the Doane Spencer ’32 front suspension setup, and put their own spin on it, and have put some really great looking hot rods on the street in the last few years. The basic idea that Spencer had was to place the spring behind the axle, and mount the spring perches to the wishbones. This lowers the front of the car dramatically, without dropping the axle. The axle is pushed forward just slightly, lengthening the wheelbase, but keeping the axle behind the chin of the grille shell. The front frame horns are pinched  about 10″ from the cowl, allowing the frame rails to follow the bottom of the hood sides, and disappearing into the grille shell at the front.

Here are some early shots of the Hilderbrand’s frame going together in our shop, still using our basic crossmember setup –

Yesterday at the shop we reversed the main leaf for the front of Joe Malki’s ForDor – this is pretty simple tech, and is the fastest, cheapest way to get a couple inches of lower on your Early Ford.

Step one is to obviously dis-assemble the spring back, clamp it, take hte bolt out, and slowing back the clamp off. Next we like to lay the spring on the floor, and draw the arc of the spring out with some chalk. Next, mark the spring in 1 1/2″ increments from one end to the other, and the top of the leaf. I fogot to snap a picture of this, but basically starting from the hole in the center, make a mark ever 1 1/2″ down the spring until you get about 2″ from the rolled portion at the end.

From here we go to the press, and place to blocks 5″ apart, and press each mark that we made on the spring 5 times each. We bring the press down until it makes contact on the leaf, then give it five hits with the press, and move to the next mark. Continue back and forth along the lenght of the spring until it is prefectly straight. This may take a few passes. Don’t get impatient and try to do 6-7 hits per mark, as you may kink the leaf, by trying to bend too much at a time in one location.

Once you get it straight, continue the process in the same direction, until you have the correct arch going in the opposite direction. Re-assemble the spring and enjoy your new ride height!


This is a new project, a ’32 frame, with the pinchwork for a model A body. Instead of pinching the frame drastically, we re-contour the rails themselves, before any boxing or cross members are added. This chassis will be receiving a ’31 coupe body, with a 59A flathead, 3 speed, closed drive with a Rodsville quickchange – Read more »

My friend Joe called me up Saturday morning, needing my help to pick up a car. I had no pick plans for my day, and it was 100 degrees out, so I said lets go.

Turns out Joe was going to pick up this ForDor – super complete, very nice original sedan.  Aluminum oil pan, nice fenders with no bead brakes, etc. The plan is to build it slide in a hotter 59A motor, lincoln brakes, reverse the main leaves, and drive it…

100_3368Friday started out with another dose of pure insanity – the LA Roadster Show Swap Meet has no assigned swap meet spots – the entire deal is first come first serve. The guy who was 4th in line was there at noon on Wednesday. That’s right 48 hours before the gates open. The gates opened at 10am, so I wandered out there around 9:30 – parked my roadster to the side and walked throught the rows to find Max and Bob – They got in line at 3am, and rolled in the gate at 10:30. Since my roadster is for sale, I planned to park it in the swap area over the weekend, and figured that I should park it inside the show Friday.

The LA Roadsters club has some basic rules – the car must be finished, with nice paint and upholstery. When the LA Roadsters club started the show, the idea was to make hot rodders appear more friendly to the public, and not a bunch of trouble making kids – so they only wanted nice respectable cars in the show. This is basically the only rules they enforce.

The most interesting part of the show – It is free – if you have a roadster, you and your car get in free.

I ran around the swap meet taking some pics and buying some stuff – I tried to buy only small things given the limited space in Max’s trailer, and the fact that I am 2500 miles from home. This is the best early Ford swap meet I have ever attended – by far. So many stocker ’32’s for sale – a slick fresh roadster right out of a garage – coupes – sedans…Kinmont brakes…awesome. Read more »

100_3291Since the weather is so awesome here, we’ve been leaving the balcony door open at night for the cool fresh air instead of running the air conditioning.  The light coming in usually wakes me up, but I slept a little later this morning since I was out late racing in Huntington Wed night. Instead the sound of a rumbling flathead woke me up around 7:30….Hot Rods had begun invading the hotel parking lot. I got up and wandered down to breakfast and checked out what we had in the lot – a few guys had arrived from Missouri – driving – two roadsters and a 3w coupe, the Lesky’s of Ionia Rod Shop also arrived with the green roadster.

The big event on today’s agenda was LimeWorks Open house and lunch. This is only the second year they have done this, and it had more than doubled in size – it was advertised as being 11 to 2, but Steve told me people were there at 8am – and when we left at 4, there were new cars arriving. So much for a lunch event, it turned out to be an all day event. I guess that is a testament to the the many customers they have, and people that have Read more »

100_3212Back on the road Wednesday – I took Tuesday off from the hot rod vacation, and did some work in the hotel room in the morning on the computer, then took the roadster up into the mountains by myself and just rode around till dusk…no stopping, no pics…just me, cool mountain air, and an open car. I one read an article in Hot Rod I think it was about the 10 cars you should own – on the list naturally was a Deuce roadster, and the author described it as a “mood alteration vehicle”…someone google that and find out who wrote that…I remember a corvette was on the list, and the authors choice was “make mine a ’62 fuelie in honduras maroon”.

So Wednesday was back on the road – some friends from FL arrived today, Chuck Burns and his neighbor Daniel. They rented a Jeep Liberty, so we decided to give the roadster a day off, and the five of us hit the road to see the sights. Let set the Jeep into the wind – headed for Corona – to Marcel’s Custom Metal. I had never been to Marcel’s before, and thsi was real treat. I could not help buy stand in the shop and think of how many cars came out of that shop, shaped by Marcel and his two sons Marc and Luc, that changed not only hot rodding, but Read more »

@ Scandinavian

@ Scandinavian

Coming back to the hotel last night from dinner, Max spotted a huge puddle of oil under the rear axle of his F250 – uh oh…it was oil…from the pinion seal. So early this morning we limped it over the a shop in Diamond Bar down from the hotel to see what the deal was – the owner operator Chris(who had a money ’56 Vicky) put it up on the lift, pulled the drive shaft, and the yoke off the pinion shaft – the seal had worn a groove in the yoke….really?? in an ’04 with 90k? Wow.

So while the big truck was under repair, we decided to hop in the roadster and hit up on of the shops near the the hotel and wait for the call to come pick up the truck. Since we’ll be at SoCal for the big party on Friday night, we decided to see what the Kennedy Brothers were up too. As you may know, I’m pretty big fans of these guys and their work(see previous posts about hot rod costumes) – We were greeted at the gate by the fierce and menacing guard dogs, a pair of  Italian greyhounds (Davinci and Sinatra.) I snagged a couple treats from the bowl on the front counter at the hotel before we left…dogs love me. I didn’t take a a whole bunch of pics there – as they were leaving for lunch when we arrived, but I did get a shot of a stocker rolling ’32 chassis that was hiding in a container just inside the front gate of their place. It is amazing how in California, stuff like this is just sitting around – outdoors or in sheds. The shop was full of cars and projects – so much that Jay’s Deuce vicky was sitting outside under a carport Read more »

100_2975As I’m writing this, the Los Angeles Lakers have just closed out the Magic for the NBA Championship!  Congrats to Phil and the team. I’m a huge basketball fan, and I can’t beileve they rebuilt another team so quickly and won it all….wow…

Today started as just another cool crisp morning in California – after getting some breakfast at the hotel , we were blasting off down “the 10”  to the the 39th annual Antique Nationals at Fontana. I love building hot rods that you can go 80-85 in the left lane on the freeway in – and blowing by the white knuckled 55mph crew in the right lane. PUNCH IT.

At any rate, this is a very cool event, vintage drag racing open to pre ’55 cars of all types. In addition to the racing there is a car show section to park the regular cars in…but hey are far from regular. I have some video from this, I’ll work on getting it up soon, but here are the pictures to hold you over for now…..

Don Dillard was in town in his super-patina’ed green ’32 that was featured in Rodder’s Journal Issue #32 – in case you didn’t know, Don was side swiped in that car a while back and the right front of the car was smashed up pretty good.  He has it back on the road and the new parts and reparied old parts look about like the first parts – if that makes any sense?? Read more »