Lew Thompson's 1932 Ford
1932 Ford roadster originally owned by Joe Cardoza. In 2013 Peter Hischier, who owned the car in the 1960s, told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that the roadster was originally hot rodded in Los Angeles in the 1940s.
Reworked by Gene Winfield
After buying the roadster, Joe Cardoza took it to Gene Winfield at his Winfield's Custom Shop in 1948. “I welded and then leaded the cowl vent,” Gene Winfield told Scotty Lachenauer of Hot Rod DeLuxe Magazine in 2018 when Scotty interviewed Gene about the car.
Sold to Lew Thompson
Once Joe was done with the roadster, he sold it to Modesto Century Toppers member Lew Thompson of Modesto, California. Lew drove the car for several years around the Modesto area before he decided to sell it. Joe wanted the car back and put a deposit on it, but he never could come up with the balance due. So Lew ended up selling it to fellow club member Pete Hischier for $300.
Sold to Peter Hischier - Painted Candy Apple Red
Peter told Sondre Kvipt that he remembered the car from when he was in high school in 1950; "It was black then." Peter believes he paid $400 for the roadster. It was fenderless when he acquired it from Lew.After buying the roadster he worked with a local garage to get it roadworthy. He sourced a pair of fenders before the body was covered with several coats of Candy Apple Red paint. This incarnation of the roadster appeared on the cover of Car Craft June 1960, featuring a white upholstery and white padding on the runningboards.
Back to Winfield for More Work
Circa 1963 Peter wanted to turn the roadster into a show car and a Sunday driver, so he brought it to Gene Winfield for more work. Gene couldn't leave the roadster alone, and before Peter knew it, he had frenched the leading edge of the radiator shell and hand-formed a stainless-steel radiator apron. A gas tank cover was then made from ribbed aluminum, and the lower body line was filled. A stainless steel firewall was made and installed as well before laid down 24 coats of glossy black lacquer.
Upholstery by Scenic Toggery
Peter's second incarnation of the roadster featured a fully chromed undercarriage, including the gas tank bottom, rear axle, radius rods, shocks, front axle, backing plates, oil pan, transmission case, driveshaft, rear-end housing, headers, nuts, bolts and so on. Inside, he kept the Auburn-dash that were in it when he got it from Lew. A 2" dropped and filled axle brought the roadster closer to the ground. Brakes were 1940 Ford all around. After Gene had reworked the car for Peter, it was featured in Hot Rod Magazine April 1964. The photo shoot by Eric Rickman took place in October of 1963. That incarnation did also feature a louvered hood, shaved doors, quad taillights formed from Buick portholes, Chromed Dietz headlights, and a 1957 Ford steering wheel. It rolled on chromed wheels, and the rear ones were reversed. Power came from a 1948 Mercury engine with a 1/8-inch overbore, twin dual-throat carbs and lots of chrome An 11-inch Ford clutch was mated to a 1939 Ford box. Peter showed the roadster at local shows for a couple of years, before he parked it in a shed.
Traded for a Corvette
In January of 1972 Peter traded the roadster to Bob Whitehead for a 1967 Corvette. When Peter traded the car to Bob, it had 1959 Buick wire wheels because he had to change the lug pattern. After Bob bought the car, it was featured in Street Rod October 1972. According to that story, the roadster had been restyled by Gene Winfield in 1958, and it had been in storage since 1959.
Bob tore out the old engine in the car, and installed an Ardun powered flathead engine and a Halibrand quick change diff. The engine was also hopped up with a Scot blower and two 2-barrel Strombergs before Bob fitted it with a shag rug carpeting interior and bumpers. At one point Bob blew up the Ardun flathead, so it was replaced with a second Ardun pulled from an Allard by Mark Conforth in New Jersey.
Sold to Chris Gruys
In 2003 Bob Whitehead sold the old roadster to Chris Gruys of Somona, California. When Chris got the car, it was a tired old roadster, so he decided to bring it back to Gene Winfield at Winfield's Custom Shop for a new paint job in 2004. Before Gene painted the car, he put a teardrop hole in each hood slate to clear the front of the Ardun heads. The original aluminum hood was also louvered so that they could get the hot air out of the engine compartment when the side slates were in place. As in 1964, the car was painted black, but as Chris wanted the paint to stand out a little more, he asked Gene to add metal flake blue ghost flames. The chromed underneath of the car was left untouched. Gene did also have the car re-upholstered in a black and white scheme, similar to the one it had in 1964 when it was first done for Peter. Chris' iteration of the car was completed in 2008. After Chris got the car, the driveline was rebuilt as well. When he first got the car up and running, the original engine failed due to the water jacket being corroded over the years. He only ran it about 200 yards before a white plume of smoke came out the left exhaust pipe. Chris took the engine out and brought it to Ardun guru Don Ferguson. After Don had rebuilt the engine, the flathead put out 305 HP on the Dyno.
Sold to Rob Ida
In August of 2017, Chris sold the historic hot rod to Rob Ida of Millstone, New Jersey. Rob took delivery of the car August 21, 2017, and he immediately they took to make a few changes, restoring it back to how it appeared when it left Gene Winfield's shop in 1964.
Did you enjoy this article?
Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.
- Help us keep history alive. For as little as 2.99 USD a month you can become a monthly supporter. Click here to learn more.
- Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive regular updates and stories from Kustomrama.
- Do you know someone who would enjoy this article? Click here to forward it.
Can you help us make this article better?
Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional information or photos to share about Lew Thompson's 1932 Ford.
This article was made possible by:
SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like www.suntecautoglass.com. They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!
Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can advertise your business on Kustomrama.