Sid Kayman's 1932 Ford
1932 Ford Roadster owned by Sid Kayman of St. Louis, Missouri. In 2013 Sid told later owner Karl Knecht that he bought the roadster from two guys that had an automotive shop across town. He recalled buying it in 1944 or 1945. Sid didn't know who built it, but the car had already been hot-rodded when he took ownership of it.
Channeled body and padded top
When Sid bought the roadster, the body had been channeled over the frame. It ran radius rods from a 1937 Hudson and the front frame rails were plated over on the outside with 1/4 inch plate. Power came from a LaSalle engine that had been hooked up to a 1940 Ford column shift transmission. Sid remembered that the engine was very reliable and ran well. It also had a padded removable top that he ran on rainy days. The top was heavy. It was wood framed, 2 inch thick with a canvas material, and Sid rigged a pulley system in his garage to lift it off for storage.
Stock car racing
Sid dressed the LaSalle engine up with Offenhauser heads, and he told Karl that they cost him a whopping 200 dollars, a lot of money back then. "He drove the car all over Missouri." It was not a garage queen Karl confirmed, and Sid told him that he once spun the recaps off the rear wheels! Sid was a stock car racer, and at one time in the late 1940s he had four hardtop cars that he raced. "He drove the roadster during intermission at the dirt track stock car races at multiple Missouri tracks," Karl told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019.
Keith Rogers sells it
Sid went into the Navy around 1951-52, leaving the car behind with his friend and boss Keith Rogers. Rogers had a used car dealership and salvage yard in St. Louis called Keith Motors. "When Sid got back after his deployment his friend had sold the car for 250 dollars," Karl told Kustomrama. "He said he never understood why Keith sold it so cheap." Sid never saw the car again, and the roadster became his first and last hot rod.
Don Newhouse of Fort Worth, Texas purchased the roadster in 1956 or 57. The engine was missing, and it was sitting in the backyard in a local neighborhood. "I was told that the car came from California," Don shared on the HAMB in 2013. "It had a shortened 32 grille with vertical bars welded in place of the original insert and a three inch width radiator that supposedely came from a military tank that was powered by a Cadillac engine laying inside the body." Don trailered the roadster home and began stripping off the green paint. While stripping the paint, he exposed lettering on the passenger door that said "St Louis Stock Car Racing Association."
Rebuilt and put to sleep
Don painted the car red, installed a Pontiac engine and got it back on the road again. He kept it for a couple of years before he sold it to Les Stephens in 1959. "Les kept it, made some changes to it drove it a bunch and then his dad went out and sold it in 1962," Karl told Kustomrama. "After that a used car dealer in Fort Worth had it. That is where Jerry Petty of Vernon, Texas bought it and put it in his barn for future plans with it. He never had it running. "
Karl Knecht saves it
Karl Knecht of Arlington, Texas came across the survivor in 1994. A year earlier he had purchased a chopped 1932 Ford 3-Window body shell. "Looking for parts to complete it I came across an old hot rod 1932 Ford roadster in Vernon, Texas, " Karl told Kustomrama. He always had wanted a historical hiboy from the Dallas area, so he ended up buying the roadster as a project car. "I bought the car when I was 34 years old and had some earning ability for the first time. I found out about the car through the newspaper, the Dallas Morning News classifieds. The ad said 15,000 dollars. He eventually took 10,000 dollars for it. That was a lot of money at the time for a non-running car," Karl recalled in 2019.
The history unfolds
The history of the roadster was unknown when Karl bought it, but Don Newhouse's name was still on the title. Karl located Don, gave him a call, and asked him if he at one time had owned a 1932 Ford roadster. "After examining the roadster there was no doubt it was the same roadster I sold in 1959," Newhouse stated on the HAMB in 2013. Later on, old photos, showing the car as it appeared in 1951 surfaced on the HAMB. The fellow that posted the photos put Karl in contact with Sid. "The car had been changed since the 1951 photos," Karl told Sondre, "but the basic, body, doors, dash, chassis, windshield stanchions, and windshield were all there when I bought it. The body had been unchanneled, and the chassis was deemed too far gone to use. The floor used to unchannel was taken from a five-window coupe and is not a reproduction. This was sometime before I bought it in 1994. The owner was an amateur and had in mind to restore it to stock '32 roadster configuration. I'm sure glad he didn't get too far in the process!"
Reborn as a hiboy
Karl rebuilt the car, changing it into his own vision of a hiboy. The frame was in a very "used" condition, so he located a new one for the build. "I had the original chassis and took lots of photos to document it. But to repair it would result in a really spliced together frame and would, in my opinion, be less desirable than the nice original '32 chassis I used as a replacement." In 2019 Karl still had the old frame, and he promised that it would stay with the car. The body was not restored during the rebuild, other than to install minimal patch panels. Karl left it with all the dents, welds, and leadwork it had received over the years. He completed the rebuild in April of 2002, and drove it to the 2nd Lone Star Roundup in Austin, Texas. The same year he also drove it to California for the LA Roadster Show.
Karl still owned the old Missouri-Texas survivor hot rod in 2019, but at the time it had been sitting in his garage for seven years without being driven. Nobody knows how the car ended up in Texas, and the history between 1951 and 1957 is still a mystery. "No telling what happened to the car in the meantime. Someone must have taken out the LaSalle engine. The driveline was shortened some. The car was painted a couple of times. It is amazing how many colors were on the car since the original paint. I left the layers of paint at several places in the door jambs. The car was driven a lot up to 1957 and also before Sid Kayman had it," Karl told Kustomrama.
While working on the car, Karl found newspaper remnants in the door that was from LA Examiner March 1947. The doors are original to the car, and it is a mystery to both Karl and Sid how these ended up inside them. In 2019 Sid still claimed that he bought the roadster in St. Louis in 1944 or 1945. "The channel job looks like California quality as the subrails were not disturbed during the process," Karl told Sondre. "The frame was threaded through the body. This was a quality way of channeling a '32 rather using a torch to do the job." Could Sid be mixing up the dates? Was it maybe built in California in 1947, and then purchased by him sometime later? Or did it maybe spend some time in California between 1951 and 1957? Please get in touch with Kustomrama at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information to share about the Kayman Roadster and its history.
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