Fantastic build by the legendary Dick Bess. ‘Glass body, 408 inch Chevy big block, chrome suspension, custom interior. Don’t call it pink, it’s 1973 Porsche Magenta and if you’re man enough, this car is killer!
Fit and finish are exemplary and it has been our experience that the best cars are glass simply because it’s easier to get a fantastic final product by using all-new parts. That’s certainly the case here. It has a hyper-traditional hi-boy look with no fenders, open hood sides (the hood sides are included with the car, however), and that chopped 3-window greenhouse. Door gaps are exacting, everything fits flush, and finish quality, even after a few years and 22,000 miles, remains first-rate. The paint is simply gorgeous in person, richer and deeper than your average pink and with some white and silver flames licking across the bodywork, it looks like a million bucks. Add in some traditional pinstripe work, including Dick Bess’s signature “three deuces” cards (32—get it?) just ahead of the rear wheels. And as the Energizer Bunny says, “It ain’t pink, it’s magenta!”
The beautifully trimmed interior makes the most of the 3-window’s interior space and it’s comfortable even for taller folks. The dark blue cloth upholstery is all-day comfortable and in excellent condition, and the detailing throughout the passenger compartment suggests this was not a cheap build. Note the neatly upholstered buckets from a late-model, including the piping, the expertly fitted carpets, and the neatly bound carpets that help control noise and heat. A tilt wheel makes it easy to get comfortable and a full array of VDO gauges monitor the potent big block up front. There’s also a custom aluminum overhead console with a fresh Panasonic AM/FM/CD stereo head unit and power windows are part of the deal. The trunk is equally well-appointed, with a custom carpet set to disguise the gas tank, as well as a rear-mounted battery to improve weight distribution.
The hardware makes this coupe thrilling to drive, starting with a seasoned Chevy 396 block that was bored .060 oversize and stuffed full of Keith Black pistons for a total of 408 cubic inches. There’s an Edelbrock “Torquer” cam inside that gives it a bit of a hot rod lope without being too radical and it’s matched by an Edelbrock dual plane intake manifold with a big Demon 4-barrel carb up top. A Mallory Unilite ignition system lights it up and it sounds spectacular exhaling through those Jet-Hot coated Sanderson exhaust headers. Lots of chrome and polished aluminum, plus the color-matched block, make the open engine part of the design rather than an afterthought and it’s completely sorted and bulletproof reliable, so it’s ready to cruise anywhere, anytime. A giant Walker aluminum radiator with an electric fan certainly helps, and while you’re up close, not the neat details like the custom stainless hard lines for the transmission cooler, the brake lines that are hidden inside the frame, and the fresh plug wires that match the interior.
The chassis breaks no new ground but the level of detailing is extremely impressive. You will note that all the welds are smoothed and filled and the paint work underneath is as good as that up top. The transmission is a pro-built TH350 3-speed automatic with a modest 2000 RPM stall torque converter, so it feels normal on the street. Out back, a Ford 9-inch is filled with 3.00 gears on a Track-Lok limited slip (the stout big block doesn’t need a lot of gear to make this lightweight car feel punchy). Front suspension is a familiar dropped axle with a transverse leaf spring, while the rear end is a 4-link with coil-overs. Front disc brakes give it plenty of stopping power and you’ll note that even the brake rotors were treated to a shot of the Porsche Magenta paint. Everything on the car is professional grade and expertly built, including the stainless exhaust system, which uses glasspack-style mufflers and megaphone tips to give it a spectacular sound that doesn’t get annoying on the highway. The traditional rake is augmented by a set of big-n-little Centerline wheels fitted with 185/70/14 front and 285/70/15 rear BFGoodrich T/A radials.
This is hot rod done right, and in a sea of black and red ’32 Ford coupes, this magenta rod really stands out. It isn’t for everyone, we understand that, but if you’re a guy who is tired of the ordinary and wants to stand out in a crowd, this is the right way to do it. Dick Bess’s legendary workmanship and a decade of sorting have resulted in one of the best-driving ‘32s we’ve ever featured, a car that we would not hesitate to drive any distance. If you want a car that rocks AND rolls, take a closer look at this trick ’32 coupe and then give us a call.
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com