Lars Erik Ljungkvist's 1932 Ford
- 1 Inspiration
- 2 Buick Engine and Thunderbird Upholstery
- 3 Barely Legal
- 4 The Road Knights
- 5 Stranded in Germany
- 6 Fastest Car in Town
- 7 1965 Hot Rod Show
- 8 Leadfoot
- 9 Monaco
- 10 Drag Racing
- 11 Candy Deuce
- 12 Lost in Germany
- 13 Found in Saginaw, Michigan
- 14 Sold Back to Sweden
- 15 Magazine Features
- 16 References
As a teenager in the 1950s Junken used to hang around Lette Djurberg's garage. Back then, Lette was building a 1932 Ford Roadster that featured a hopped-up flathead engine. Lette's roadster incorporated many of the tricks you could read about in the American magazines. Junken grew a passion for fenderless hi-boys, and after building a roofless English 1932 Ford Tudor outside in the snow, he decided to build a real roadster in the early 1960s.
We are not sure of from who he got the object, but the first steps was done on a parking lot at Valhallavägen where he lived at the time.
Buick Engine and Thunderbird Upholstery
Junken had a passion for high speed as well, and he decided to use a 1956 Buick V8 engine as a power plant in his roadster. The engine was hooked to a 1947 Ford Commercial transmission and produced around 124 horsepowers. The front axle was dropped 2 3/4 inches, and the car rolled on reversed 15 inch 1951 Mercury wheels with whitewall tires. The running boards and front fenders were removed. The rear fenders were kept, but bobbed. Inside, Junken installed a cut down 1959 Mercury dashboard and a 1956 Ford steering wheel. The upholstery was taken from a 1960 Ford Thunderbird, and a skull was used as a shift knob. All this work was done in his father's garage at Almvägen 5 when the family moved to Huddinge.
Junken completed the build in 1963, and he had a hard time getting it through the Swedish vehicle licensing department. In order to get it approved, he had to install Motorcycle type fenders and mud flaps. In 1963 a vehicle-licensing-department friendly version of Junken's roadster was shown on the cover of Teknik för alla December 1963. The caption on the cover stated that the hot rod sport had reached Sweden. This version of the car was green with a red interior, frame, and other details. The engine was dressed up with several chromed items such as the valve covers and alternator. The plug wires were red and matched the theme of the car. Junken was 20 years old at the time, and according to the story, his car was one out of about 30 hot rods in Sweden at the time. Total build cost was about 13 000 Swedish kroner.
Needing a place to park the car, Junken bought an old barn together with Bengt Wennergren and a fellow called "Rompa." The old barn was turned into a shop, and they called themselves the Road Knights; "There was a comic book back in the days that contained a story about some kids that were into Hot Rods," Bengt Wennergren told Kustomrama in 2012, "they had a club called the Road Knights, so when we were adding our phone number to the phone directory, we decided to use "Road Knights." When someone called us in the shop, we answered saying "Road Knights." It wasn't much more than that."
Stranded in Germany
Once the build was completed, Junken drove the roadster to Rimini, Italy on a vacation in 1964. Along on the trip was also Bengt Wennergren with his 1949 Ford, Inge Ellburg with his 1956 Ford, and "Palle" with his 1924 Chevrolet. Rickard Bergström and Monica drove with Junken. Monica sat in the rumble seat. "Crille" Lundberg rode with Inge, and Morris with Bengt. In 2012 Bengt told Kustomrama that Junken blew his transmission in Germany; "He left the '32 in Germany, and put the license plates on a 1956 Ford Sunliner, so he could continue the trip. Later on, in Bad Hersfeld, he blew the engine in the Sunliner. After replacing the engine in the Sunliner, Palle managed to drive his hot rod straight over a runabout in the middle of the night. The engine came loose in the hot rod, and Palle ended up in jail. When we arrived in Monaco, Palle met us, as he had bribed out of jail. He was not allowed to drive in Germany anymore though. Both the Sunliner and Palle's made the trip back to Sweden." Bengt did not know what happened to Junken's roadster though.
Fastest Car in Town
Junken had one of the fastest cars in town, if not the fastest. The only car that could beat him was Palle Eriksson's Hemi powered 1924 Chevrolet Model T. In 1964 Junken drove the roadster to Monaco, without front fenders. By then the car had been repainted Marigold Metalflake. Junken bought the Metalflake from Gamen, and his roadster might have been the second Metalflaked car in Sweden. The first one was supposedly Bengt Wennergren's 1949 Ford.
In 1965 Junken' Ford was shown at the first annual Hot Rod Show in Stockholm. By then the roadster had been fitted with a white top and a 1959 Mercury steering wheel. The wide whitewall tires from 1963 had been replaced by tires with skinnier white stripes. A color photo of Junken's roadster was printed on the cover of the souvenir program from the show. According to the souvenir program, the top and upholstery were made by Auto Clayt.
Junken used the car a lot and he was known across town as a real "leadfoot." Junken and the roadster were regular visitors at café "Cupido" at Roslagsgatan in Stockholm.
In 1968 a Candy Red version of the roadster was shown at the 1968 Hot Rod Show in Stockholm. According to the display sign next to the car, this version was owned by Pia Karlseth, who presumably was the owner of "Club Upper Teen" in Stockholm. However, Christer Ekström from Bromma was the guy that owned and modified it.
Göran Silfors pinstriped the car and added the name "Candy Deuce" on the sides. The Buick engine was replaced with a Chevrolet 283 ci.
The car won 2nd price in the Hot Rod class.
Lost in Germany
In the late 1960s or the early 1970s the old hot rod fell off the face of the earth, and according to rumors, it ended up with an American soldier located in Germany. It was supposedly later shipped out to the State of New York.
In November of 2021 recent photos of the roadster started appearing on Facebook. Dan Benck of St. Louis, Missouri had come across an ad for the car in a Facebook group. Located in Saginaw, Michigan, the seller had been storing the car for the owner. The owner had now passed away, and his son wanted to sell it. The son was not a car guy, but he could tell Dan that his uncle Ernest Reese had bought the car when he was stationed in Germany. The son believed that he had bought it from someone else in the Army in the early 1970s. Apparently, Ernest had to add all kinds of stuff in order to make it legal in Germany. After that, Ernest's nephew believes his uncle used it as his daily driver in Germany for about 10 years. When Ernest passed away in the late 1980s, his brother, Paul E Wirrick Sr., inherited it, and the car was shipped out to the US. The son remembered that they picked it up in Toledo, Ohio in the early 1990s, and that his dad drove it all the way home to Saginaw. His dad didn't like the car because of all the extra stuff that had been added to it. He planned to rebuild the car, but instead, it ended up in storage in Saginaw for about 30 years. A new cab and a new interior were installed during those 30 years.
Sold Back to Sweden
After buying the car, Dan posted a couple of photos of it on social media. A friend of his remembered reading about it on Kustomrama, and he sent him the link asking if it was the same car. "As soon as I opened the page and scrolled down to the later pictures, I had goosebumps," Dan told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in November of 2021. "I knew it was it. So basically, your article saved this car! I was getting ready to disassemble it to make it my own." After Dan had discovered the history of the old roadster he had found, he realized that the car should be sold back to Sweden. "I did not buy it with the intentions of selling it," he told Kustomrama, adding that once he found out the history of the car, he realized it needed to go back to Sweden where it would be appreciated. "I just want it to go to the right person." Gasoline Magazine writer Henrik Forss shared the news about the car on Facebook, and it didn't take many days before the car had found a new owner in Sweden. "I have a hard time understanding that a car that has been lost for fifty years suddenly appears and becomes mine," the new owner told Sondre shortly after he had signed the deal. "I'm shaking all over!"
The new owner Per Fredriksson in Hedemora, plans to preserve it as well as possible. Remove more of the later additions and install a 1958 Mercury dash along with a Thunderbird seat. A new top is also planned for the car when it arrives along with Rader wheels and tires with white stripes. A Buick Nailhead engine is also on the bucket list.
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