Norrie Spencer’s ’32 cabriolet likely one of a kind at meet

There will be hundreds of 1932 Fords at Deuce Days, but you likely won’t see more than one ’32 cabriolet in original condition at the gathering.

Norrie Spencer is the owner of a late- 1932 cabriolet that he purchased — disassembled in pieces from Atlanta, Georgia — in 1997. While the three- and five-window coupes are the most common model for hot rodders, the open-top roadster and cabriolet are certainly desirable.

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The cabriolet was the nicer of the two.

“It is a deluxe touring car compared to the roadster,” said Spencer, who has painstakingly restored his ride. “The roadsters were the cheapest cars, with no windows in the doors. The all-weather cabriolet had a full windshield, roll-up windows, a walnut dash and a top that went down to stow in a space in front of the rumble seat.”

Spencer said it is much more comfortable to drive on cooler days, as there are seals so that no air leaks from the rumble seats.

Fewer than 6,000 were ever built, with the more desirable ones equipped with a V-8 engine.

“My cousin, Doane Spencer, always said that a cabriolet was the model to get,” said Spencer. “There are only six to 10 cars in the same condition as mine — and most of them are in museums.”

Spencer said that the visual cue that his car was produced late in the year is the 25 louvres found on his engine hood.

“The ’32 Fords had a cooling problem, hence the extra louvres,” he said. “At that time, Ford constantly improved on their cars over the year, with so many changes that at car shows, there are categories for early, mid and late builds.”

Spencer once won best-car award at a Vintage Car Club competition, beating giants such as Packards, with a score of 980 points out of a perfect 1,000, he said.

He has one of the most original running ’32s, owing to the fact that his car has its original carburetor. The carb was so troublesome, many owners swapped them out for carburetors from 1934 or 1935. Spencer’s vehicle also has the original fuel pump.

The 1932s came with either a four-cylinder or the optional V-8, with the latter the more desirable because of its much smoother running, Spencer said. Most owners converting their vehicles into a hot rod would discard the four and drop in a V-8, anyway.

A member of the local Early Ford V8 Club, Spencer’s black-with-gold striped car has been at every Deuce Day gathering since it began. The car has a set of wire wheels at the moment, but he still has the original set of 18-inch apple green wheels in storage.

While it is insured, he rarely drives his car. If he takes it to an out-of-town show, the Deuce is transported in a closed container.

Occasionally, he takes his grandchildren out for a ride but it becomes risky due to the car’s value. A few years ago, a similar vehicle, with modifications, sold for $317,000 US.

Spencer will be at the meet with his cabriolet and his company vehicle, a 1932 Ford pickup, which he still uses on Rosemead Farms in Saanichton.

 

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