Living for 3/4 of a century, Edward Baltera of Galloway, New Jersey, has his fair share of experience with automobiles as well as seeing them evolve into what they are today. One vehicle in particular, his 1932 Ford Highboy roadster is a timeless classic with body lines reminiscent of the past.
Baltera’s 1939 Chevy
Baltera gave us a little bit of insight about his first project. “My first car build was 1939 Chevy, which took me eight years to build,” he said. “The main feature that I liked was the suicide doors.”
However, when he stumbled upon Ford Highboy Roadsters, he instantly fell in love in with them. As a result, he and his son sold his ’39 Chevy and went to York, Pennsylvania with the money he made off of it to buy a roadster.
Although the prices were high at the time, Baltera found a roadster that was in his price range. He ended up buying a body and a bare frame from New Age Motorsports in Monroe, Connecticut.
Being the ideal project he always wanted to carry out, Baltera built the car to resemble one reminiscent of the early 60s. “Four years later, it was on the road,” he said.
The paint on the Roadster is a single stage RM-Uno Meadowbrook green off of a 1951 Ford pickup, and sprayed by Doug Ims from Egg Harbor, New Jersey. Under the hood rests a 350 Chevy small-block V8 engine that is disguised as an early model Oldsmobile mill.
“A lot of guys think it’s an Olds and I let them keep believing that,” he said.
Power meets the pavement with a 700R4 transmission with a manual valve body and a Gennie shifter from Mad Dog Transmissions. The rear is kept under control with a 9-inch Ford with 3.73 gears, which he said is overkill.
“I built the headers from a Speedway kit, and added a pipe that goes over the frame to the muffler and out the rear because I did not like the like the outlet under the pipe and under the frame,” he said. “It gathers attention.”
The tires are whitewall Diamond Back radial tires, with the fronts measuring at 165/80R15 and the rears at 235/70R16.
“The suspension is a triangulated four link with coilovers and the front is a traditional Ford axle with a Unisteer rack, which handles like a dream with no bump steer at all,” he said.
Uniquely, the air cleaner stems from a 1930s Water Witch outboard motor gas tank and the radiator overflow tank is a World War II 40mm shell casing. A cool touch, the taillights on the Roadster are from a 1950 Buick turned on their side.
“The front spreader bar is made from an airplane wing strut, which is angled down and deflects air up in the radiator, helping with cooling,” he said. “The engine runs super cool with its engine only fan and Walker 5-row radiator.”
Heading inside the Roadster, it sits on an old Southward gas heater shell that houses a circuit board and headlight switch. The upholstery is tan vinyl, closely resembling an original 1932 Ford.
“The bars on the dashboard I made from pieces of trim I found in a junk yard from a 1940 Buick tacked together and screwed to the dash from behind,” he said.
A Classic Industries gauge cluster graces the dash, providing a vintage look and accurate telemetry. “Another neat thing I did was to install a piece of 1/2 inch plywood that is stood off the fiberglass about 3/4 of an inch for some insulation,” he said. “I ran all the wiring behind it for a clean job.”
Keeping the wartime theme going throughout the roadster, he said the battery is an Odyssey AGM PC 925 that is installed in a 50 caliber WWII ammo box. What do you think of this Roadster? Is there anything you feel he is missing? Be sure to share your thoughts below.