Phaeton was an open automobile style that was derived from the phaeton horseless carriage. The phaeton carriage was an open carriage or buggy. There were many things connected with horseless carriages that carried over to the new automobile world. A phaeton automobile body had no protection whatever from the elements. Many automakers designated their open air styles as phaetons. This included Cadillac, Ford, VW, Buick and others.
Finally during the latter 1930's when true convertibles were offered the phaeton fell out of favor. Closed bodies and convertibles took over which really was a natural progression of coachbuilding. Not surprising however, the pillarless hardtops and convertibles were still often marketed as phaetons.
The 1932 modified Ford Phaeton featured in this article was a Ford Model B. The 1932 Ford Phaeton, like the one shown here, is an attractive street rod and many have been modified into these. Hot rods and street rods come in many forms and the one overriding attribute is that just about every one is a bit different from the other.
Replica Ford Phaeton Bodies
Today you'll find original 1932 Ford Phaetons although they're rare finds. One company that has manufactured 1932 Ford Roadster bodies for over thirty years is Westcott's Auto. This company also offers parts and fenders for street rods. The Ford bodies they cover a range from 1926 to 1940.
Another company, Timeless Rods and Customs, offers 1932 Ford fiberglass bodies among several other replica bodies.
Original Specifications 1932 Ford Phaeton V-8
Ford's Model B which came out in 1932 continued to offer 200 cubic inch the four cylinder engine. For Ford this kept costs down. A Ford V-8 also came out in 1932 which was on the phaeton and was designated the Model 18. The Model 18 was considered the very first V-8 put in mass production. The Model 18's engine was a 221 cubic inch V-8 delivering 65 horsepower. The engine's output was increased later with improved carburetors.
It should also be noted that the mass produced V-8 Model 18 was considered an affordable V-8. This is saying a lot as 1932 sales were experiencing the effects of the Great Depression.
Transmission on the 1932 Ford Phaeton was a three speed floor shift sliding gear manual.
Brakes were four wheel mechanical.
The 1932 Ford Phaeton's wheelbase was 106.0 inches (same as the Model B) and overall length was 165.5 inches. . This would crease by six inches in 1933. Vehicle weight came in a bit under 2,400 lbs.
Estimates are that there were about 2,000 Ford Phaetons built for the 1932 model year. This number includes all Ford Phaetons, both four and eight cylinder. Ford Model 18's were built in a variety of body styles including a Tudor and Fordor. A total of about 265,000 1932 Ford Models were built. Out of this number about 192,000 were Model B's and 73,000 Model 18's. In addition to these Ford Motor produced about 17,000 vehicles in Canada, about 10,000 of those being Model B's.
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1932 Ford Phaeton Collector Car
I believe most collectors will tell you that out of the 1930's the largest segment of vintage automobiles in demand are the open air cars such as the phaetons and woody wagons.
If you can find a 1932 V-8 model, which won't be easy, the car in a way is a milestone vehicle. As mentioned above, the 1932 Ford Model 18 was the first V-8 set up for mass production. The 1932 Ford V-8 was also introduced to surpass Chevrolet's V-6.
Ford's V-8 leapfrogged Chevy's V-6. Most auto history books will tell you that Henry Ford quickly put into production his 1932 V-8 because of Chevy's V-6 offering. By doing this he did one-up on Chevy. Deveopment of Ford's V-8 was undertaken at the company's Dearborn Engineering Laboratory.
All early 1930's cars are highly collectible. In regards to the 1932 Ford Phaeton, the plus is it's popularity among collectors and it's rarity. The car however can be over restored. It's not difficult to over spend on this vehicle. Some might also say that the car can be overpriced. It's a fine line as to how much is enough to restore or modify the car. Originality will generally help with value but you'll find a lot of beautifully modified Ford Phaetons with impressive asking prices.
Ford automobiles of the late twenties and through the thirties have excellent auto clubs around the country which can be a big resource whether you're restoring an original or putting together a Ford street rod.
When researching Ford serial numbers a collector will a also want to know that some of these 1932 Ford Phaeton models that were originally built as Model B's with the four cylinder engine were modified into V-8's.
1932 Ford Phaeton prices cover a wide range depending on the originality and modifications. Four cylinder replicas can be priced at around $20,000. As of this writing look for prices for "original" 1932 Ford Model 18's in the $65,000 to $75,000 plus range.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)