Chet Herbert's 1932 Ford

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Chet's Sedan was featured as the Hot Rod of the month in Hot Rod Magazine March 1952. Photo by Felix Zelenka.
Photo by Felix Zelenka.
Photo by Felix Zelenka.
Photo by Felix Zelenka.
Photo by Felix Zelenka.
Photo by Felix Zelenka.
Photo by Felix Zelenka.
A cutaway drawing by Rex Burnett.
As it appeared in 1955 when Lonnie Gaskin owned it. Photo by Spencer Murray
Notice the crazy gear shifter. Photo by Spencer Murray
1941-1948 Chevrolet taillights have been popular to use on hot rods since the 1940s. Today, a pair of glass taillights can easily be sourced from your local speed shop or Click here to check price and availability.
Pinstriping by Art Summers. Photo by Spencer Murray
Fuel tanks and battery occupy space where the rear seat once was. Photo by Spencer Murray

1932 Ford 4-door built by Bill Walker of Los Angeles, California for Bonneville-famed Chet Herbert. It was fitted with a 270 Cui GMC straight six mill coupled to a 1950 Buick Dynaflow transmission with the help of a custom machined adaptor plate The GMC truck engine was bored 3 31/32" and stroked 4", providing 296 Cui. Compression ratio with the stock Horning head was 12 to 1. Chet had it dyno-tested, and the test indicated 198 hp at 400rpm. A small tank located alongside the fuel tank supplied alcohol for a special injection system, which could be cut in at any time. The alcohol could gain 30 hp. It was fit with a Spalding two-coil ignition, homemade headers with by-pass opening for lake running, and a 2" Smitty muffler. Chet had set up two batteries producing 12 V for quick starting. The dash was fit with Stewart-Warner instruments, and it was upholstered in withe pleated plastic with red trim. The body was channeled six inches over the frame. A set of 1941 Chevrolet taillights were installed and the fenders and running boards were removed. The sedan was chopped 4 inches, along with the channeled body resulted to a desired headroom. Once the bodywork was done, it was painted black lacquer with white pinstriping by Art Summers. The seats were dropped flat on the floor, the rear seat was discarded and made space for the battery and additional fuel tanks, this was naturally covered by a tarp. Access to the car's interior was possible through any of the four doors. The headlights were seal beam units mounted on a set of Bell Auto brackets. The front axle was chromed, and fit with juice brakes from a 1940 Ford. It had split wishbones, and the front crossmember was moved ahead 4". As a victim of polio, Chet was limited to operate the car with only his hands. The car was fit with 15" 1950 Mercury rims with wide whitewalls.[1]

The car subsequently changed hands and engines more often that anyone cares to remember, however it eventually wounded up with Lonnie Gaskin. When Lonnie owned it, it had a Flathead V8 engine which was shoved 14 inches aft to balance the weight properly. The 1940 Ford brakes were replaced by brakes from a 1946 Mercury, which were mounted on a 1946 Ford spindles. A 1936 Ford rear end with a 3.78 to 1 ratio was driven by an early Ford floorshift box fitted with 28-tooth Zephyr unit. The engine was based on a 1934 Ford block with a 3 3/4" stroke and a bore of 3 3/16. The 239 inch powerplant was ported and relieved and fit with dual Stromberg carburetors on a Meyer manifold. A Harmon & Collins magneto and a Winfield R1 cam was installed as well. Special heads boosted the compression ratio to 9.25 to 1. Previously the sedan had blackwall tires, however Lonnie mounted Firestone 5.00-16 up front and 7.00-16 in the rear.[2]

Magazine Features

Hot Rod Magazine March 1952
Rod & Custom June 1955



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