Treasured by hot rodders and restorers alike, the 1932 Ford Coupe of song and story is one of America’s most beloved cars. There’s plenty to know about these popular classics, so let’s dig in for a closer look.
Of the 322,962 Ford passenger cars built in 1932, nearly a third were coupes, produced in three distinct body styles—or four, depending how you classify them. Each Deuce coupe body style is unique, inviting us to explore and compare their differences. Let’s go straight to work.
The most common coupe body style for 1932 with 53,891 units produced, the B-45 Standard Coupe trailed only the Tudor (148,562) and Fordor (54,582) Sedans in total production volume. This model also offered the best visibility of all the coupes, thanks to the extra pair of window panes in the roof quarters—hence the name five-window coupe, though this was not an official Ford model designation in 1932.
Additionally, the center rear window winds down via hand crank to provide fresh air ventilation, and also to facilitate communication with passengers in the optional ($50) rumble seat. As the name indicates, the Standard Coupe was available only in Ford’s base trim, with no cowl lamps and with plainer upholstery and trim than other styles. Standard Coupe bodies were manufactured by Ford, Briggs, and others. List price at introduction was $440 for the four-cylinder Model B, $490 for the Model 18 V8—an extra 50 bucks.
The B-50 Sport Coupe, a general style continued from the Model A years and a bit old-fashioned by 1932, was said to be a personal favorite of Edsel Ford. Its wood and fabric top resembled that of a Cabriolet (official Ford name) or convertible coupe, but was fixed in place and could not be taken down. The door glass frames do not fold down and the landau irons are ornamental.
Though the two styles are rather similar, one easy way to tell a Sport Coupe from a Cabriolet even at a distance is by the top irons: Cabriolets don’t have them. While offered only in Standard form (no cowl lamps) the Sport Coupe is a bit more elegantly trimmed than other Standard models, and the rumble seat (shown) is standard. With only 3,538 units produced worldwide (2500 Model 18 V8 models and 1,038 four-cyl. Model B versions), the B-50 is the rarest coupe body style for 1932, and highly prized by the restoration crowd.
A hot rodder’s favorite, the B-520 Deluxe Coupe is more commonly known as the three-window. In 1932, the style was offered only in Deluxe form (note the cowl lamps) while the five-window was sold only as a Standard—which is not necessarily the case in other Ford model years.
Manufactured by the Murray Body Co.of Detroit (read the story here), Deluxe Coupe bodies were sent to Ford fully painted, trimmed, and ready for body drop onto a complete chassis with fenders. (In Canada, Deluxe Coupe bodies were built by the Canadian Top & Body Corp.) The Deluxe Coupe stands alone among Deuce body styles on a number of counts. It employs considerably more wood framing in its internal construction, shares no external sheet metal panels with other body types, and is the only ’32 style with front-opening front doors. The suicide doors preclude the fitting of Ford’s optional fender-mounted spare tires.
More highly appointed than most other body styles that year, the Deluxe Coupe happens to be the only ’32 with an ash tray built into the dash. Pricier than the Standard Coupe, naturally, the three-window sold for $525 for the Model B four and $575 for the V8. Though it didn’t seem to affect the body style’s popularity in racing or hot rodding, the three-window weighs 100 lbs. more than the five-window Standard Coupe: 2364 lbs vs. 2261 lbs, according to official Ford data. Some 23,411 Deuce three-windows were produced: 22,264 V8 models and only 1,147 fours.
Some may be surprised to see the B-190 Victoria body style classified as a coupe. However, in the coach and body business of the era, the Victoria was indeed regarded as a coupe style—alternately known as a 4/5 passenger coupe or a doctor’s coupe in some quarters. It’s just that on the Deuce’s petite 106.5-inch wheelbase, there’s room for only a short rear bustle, which gives the Ford version of a Victoria a silhouette more like a sedan than a coupe. And in fact, the Victoria shares a number of pieces and panels with Ford’s Tudor Sedan for 1932.
Like the Deluxe Coupe body, the Victoria shell was manufactured by Murray, and it carried a Murray identification tag attached to the passenger floor pan. Offered only in Deluxe trim, the Victoria was among the fanciest of the ’32 body styles, and at $525/575, it was also the most expensive coupe style. Though the Victoria was another personal favorite of Edsel Ford, only 9,599 examples were produced, nearly all of them (but for 729 units) V8 models.
Many of the facts and figures included here are courtesy of The 1932 Ford Book: A Production Chronicle and Restoraton Guide by David G. Rehor.