1932 Ford Cabriolet by Boyd Coddington
Jay Abend’s gleaming Ford would be a highly coveted car even if you didn’t know its pedigree. When you add in the fact that it was put together by an industry legend, the late Boyd Coddington, for a world renowned fashion designer, Christian Audigier, you truly have a “one of a kind” hot rod.
Mounted on a custom frame, the cabriolet body is an original, all-steel Ford unit that even had a “rust-free” floor when the car was disassembled for its second transformation. The staff of Coddington’s La Habra, CA, shop stripped the car, which was originally constructed in the 1970’s, to bare metal, chopped the windshield posts 1 ¾ inches, rechromed them and began working their magic. Along with the frame, the top, hood and bullnose were all custom-built.
The end product features a Superbell I-beam front axle with lightening holes while the chromed rear-axle is a Ford 9” unit with coil-over suspension.
Power comes from a bored and stroked Ford “302” that now displaces 347 cubic inches. It has a billet steel crankshaft, Manley “H”-beam connecting rods and JE pistons. Comp Cams supplied the roller camshaft, valve lifters, springs and roller rocker arms while the aluminum cylinder heads came from Edelbrock.
A Barry Grant Speed Demon carburetor sits on an Edelbrock intake manifold with fire coming from a Ford racing distributor and control module working through an MSD coil. An aluminum water pump, a Moon air cleaner and Ford racing chrome valve covers complete the engine package. The power the engine produces is then transferred to the wheels through a Ford Racing C6 automatic transmission.
“I’ve had it well over 100 miles per hour on the highway and I can tell you this,” declared Abend. “It’s brutally fast! The odometer only shows 200 miles, partly from shows and going into and out of the trailer, but I’ve driven it 100 miles or so.”
Once Coddington finished working his mechanical magic, legendary body man Bernt Karlsson, known to TV viewers and hot rodders alike as part of the "American Hot Rod" group on TLC and the Discovery channel, massaged and painted the sheet metal. Gabe Lopez then installed one of his custom leather interiors, with the finishing touch to the last ’32 Ford to ever come out of the Coddington shop the addition of “VIF Speed Shop” graphics to promote one of Audigier’s clothing lines.
The beautiful Cabriolet was then displayed at the 2008 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, just after Coddington’s unfortunate passing. It continued as the focal point of the “VIF Speed Shop” clothing line until Abend purchased it from Audigier in 2012. He then had the graphics removed and the car completely reconditioned by Karlsson earlier this year.
Since then, says its proud owner, it’s been “to a few New England shows and at the Lars Anderson Museum for a ‘C and C’ but my business schedule has been tough. It seems like I’m always at an airport or a factory in Asia when the big shows are held. Mostly, I just like to go into my garage facility at night, flick on the lights and look at the car sitting there like a giant Matchbox car.”