Monday, May 20, 2024


It’s a common tale – man buys car, man intends to build car, life gets in the way, car takes way too long to build. Fortunately, John Marsh from Adelaide is a patient guy, his ’32 coupe has been over 20 years in the making!

Back in the late 1980s, John had a bright yellow Model A roadster, all ‘flashy and chrome’ as he describes it. He sold it to the Australian Street Rod Federation back around 1989 who used it as their raffle car. “After I sold it I bought the steel ’32 coupe body. I was building my house at the time, so I paid for my footings, then bought the coupe body as a consolation!” laughs John.

John says the body was chopped around 4” in the States, and there’s a couple of patch panels, but in general it was good, on the outside at least. “The outside was painted yellow, but the inside was bare steel and covered in bad surface rust, like it’d been in the snow or something. It took me weeks with a wire wheel and emery paper to clean it up.”

The brief for the project was simple – an original steel car with a roof and a four speed. John already had an original ’32 chassis, so a small block Chevy and Top Loader were on the shopping list. Rod Collins at Rod-Tech was handed the tired frame for rejuvenation, slotting in Model A crossmembers and transverse springs front and rear, a Ford nine inch rear, HZ steering box and a Ford disc/drum combination.

“I was hoping one day to put a quick change in the back, that’s why I have the Model A crossmember. We’ll see,” says John.

John at Harman Engines stepped up to rebuild the 307 small block, aside from bigger valves, a lumpier cam and an Offy intake, it’s close to stock. The triple Rochester 2GC carbs are set up on a progressive linkage so the outers act as secondaries. A Castlemaine Rod Show adaptor is used to mate the Chevy and the Top Loader.

With a ’58 Chevy in the garage under construction as well, John figured he’d quickly piece the deuce together for occasional use, keeping the yellow hue and chequering up the firewall for a little pizzazz. After a while he pulled it down again with a colour change in mind.

“I just wanted something different to red and black and yellow. I thought green, but it’s unusual in that you have to get it right. I actually saw this colour on a water meter box just up the road from where I live.”

Colour swatches in hand, John found a match and had All Type Paints mix up a batch of acrylic lacquer with a tinge of flattener. He then laid it on for a cool satin finish, keeping the red and white chequers in the process. “It’s a $400 paint job,” he reminds us.

The interior is all DIY, including the Oak timber battens supporting the Haartz cloth roof insert. He did buy the seat, already restored in red and black vinyl by Cool Trim. Most of the interior pieces are ’32 Ford, excluding of course the Stewart Warner ‘Wings’ gauges. 

John credits Geoff Western for finding numerous hard-to-get parts, Terry Davis and fellow members of the Road Knights for helping with the build, and of course wife Theresa and kids Cameron and Claire for coming along for the ride.

It's only fair to share…