The Return of the 32 Plymouth Roadster


John and Gail Sanderson

I sold my first hot rod, a ‘32 Plymouth coupe, in 1976. It was 1st built in 1958, into a 12” channeled roadster by cutting the 3 window top off, making handmade aluminum windshield posts, mounting it on a Ford Model frame, with a modified ’49 Cadillac engine attached to an early Ford trans and rear end. The dual cowl vents were filled, and the basic car was set up, but wasn’t driveable. The engine was the early ’49 block, but was bored out to ’56 specs at 365 ci with ported ‘58 heads and a ’57 4BBL intake. It had some really unusual, front disk brakes, which I learned much later, were the very rare Kinmonts. I purchased it in 1965, working on it slowly, while in high school and college. In 1971, I got fired up to get the car on the road, because the 3rd NSRA Street Rod Nationals would be held in Detroit in 1972. Inspired by the Bud Bryan, 29A highboy, Rod & Custom magazine, project car, I made great progress on the car. Back then, it was never even remotely considered that the car would be on the street, NOT painted and upholstered, despite what people are calling old school, now! The car was unchanneled 7 inches to only 5 inches, which required cutting open the doors to facilitate entry. A frenched rear license plate and twin, teardrop-shaped, sunken aerials were added. The tail lights were made from ’63 T Bird parking lights, turned upside down, with custom lenses. A set of chrome ‘53 Cadillac wire wheels were found, and I put on new Firestone bias ply tires. A set of NOS ‘34 Plymouth hubcaps replaced the Caddy ones.

I got the car on the road for the Nats, in July of ’72, painted and upholstered, but missing the decklid and grille shell. It was so neat to be a part of the 1,500 or so, rods that showed up at the State Fair grounds. This was really energizing, because we were now able to network with a bunch of other rodders from the Early Times, and Michigan Street Rod Association. It was a revelation that It wasn’t just me and a couple of close friends, anymore. There were lots of others that still believed in the old cars, and weren’t distracted by the factory muscle cars.

Improvements were made on the roadster each fall, before Autorama, including changing the steering from Model A, to Mustang, building a top, and trimming out the rumble seat and other detailing. We also had the rear wheels widened, painted orange, and mounted better ride and handling radial tires. I had it in 3 Autoramas, taking a 2nd, 3rd, 1st, and Best Street Roadster awards. The last time was in 1975, which was covered in the April ’76 issue of Hot Rod magazine, in their 2 page coverage of the Detroit show. It was in very good company- 2 Ridler winners, the Playboy Bunny van, The Chicago Fire, ISCA winner, Chuck Millers 1st Vette Sportwagon, the Binecki brother’s twin, radical ‘32 sedans, and Dave Lukkari’s Ardun-powered, tilt-body, ’47 Crosley sedan. Amazingly, that same engine was back in the show this year, but now in Dave’s well traveled, modified A roadster!




















HR 4-75


HR 4-75

By 1976, after several thousand miles of good times, cruising, and going to runs, I needed to buy a home. Selling the roadster was the only way I was going to get enough for a down payment. So reluctantly, it went to a collector of open cars that wanted a hot rod. Jim Albright held onto the car until 2005, or about the next 29 years, only using it occasionally, locally. A friend of his, and a long time acquaintance of mine, Otto Hahne, bought the car as father-son project to have some fun, with a little history. Otto and his son Evan, have revived the car as a survivor, repairing some body damage and worn items, and getting 32 years of patina off the car, but preserving the history . A lot of work by Otto’s friend Dean, and several others, helped get the car into it’s first Autorama in 32 years!

Some of the original pictures, along with this years photos are showing the condition and history of the car. We even displayed it with one of the original trophies from 1973.

 It was a delight and a surprise, to renew my acquaintance with the car’s original, very talented pinstriper, Wild Bill Betz after 34 years. I discovered that he also has his own website that shows some of his work at: http://www.wildbillsigns.com/ It brought back many memories for both of us, and was a great reminder of the old days and the people we knew. Of course, the new generation is shown with Otto and his son Evan, and his friends, Matt and Joe. Look for them at the Detroit Billet-Proof show.
















-John & Gail Sanderson


-Hahnes(Otto and his son Evan, and his friends, Matt and Joe)


-Gail Sanderson


-Harry McAuliffe


-John Sanderson


-Wild Bill Betz & Family


 -Wild Bill_





Copyright 1999 - 2007 Hot Rod Hot Line All Rights Reserved
No Portion May Be Used Without Our Written Permission
Contact Us Toll Free (877) 700-2468 (US) or (208) 562-0470 (Outside US)
230 S. Cole Rd, Boise, ID 83709