Auto enthusiasts can be a fickle bunch at times, always tweaking and modifying their special ride, or trading it away to begin a new project. Rarely do you come across a builder who hasn't changed his rolling creation in nearly three decades.
One such contented owner is Jack Moon, who assembled his 1932 Ford three-window coupe in 1984 and has left it alone ever since.
"I wanted a real hot rod and set out to put one together. This is exactly how I wanted it to end up," the Rolling Meadows resident said.
The inspiration came after attending the Street Rod Nationals, held that year in Columbus, Ohio, where he saw all the cool dream machines. After returning home, Moon set about collecting the necessary components.
"The first item was a set of original 1932 Ford framerails, which came from a friend in Las Vegas. Once we had those, I started building the car," Moon said.
Moon fabricated the rest of the chassis and suspension, installing a stainless steel four-bar setup. The 350-cubic-inch V-8 engine was sourced from a wrecked Corvette but bolstered with a BM supercharger and dual exhaust. A Muncie four-speed transmission transports the 450 horsepower output to the wheels, through a chromed Ford 9-inch rear-end differential. Disc brakes are mounted up front with drums in the rear.
To achieve the mean asphalt cruiser look Moon was going for, a fiberglass body with a 3½-inch roof chop was used. "It sure looks cool but, there's no doubt about it, it's real hard to see out of," he said.
Color is crucial for an eye-catching ride. Moon's first choice was wild indeed. "I wanted to paint it lime green but my wife said no. During the '80s most hot rods were painted red and I wanted to stand out."
To differentiate it from the crowd, Moon opted to go with Brockway Chrome Orange, applied by the Roadster Shop at its former Elgin location. The American Racing wheels were located in Atlanta, and the hard-to-find Corbeau seats were imported from England.
As Moon worked diligently on the project to complete it before the 1985 Nationals, he received some unexpected motivation. "The goal was to drive it to St. Paul (Minn.) for the show but as it got closer, I wasn't sure if I could make it. It just so happened that my next-door neighbor Larry was building a '33 sedan at the same time," Moon said. "His mother-in-law came over a month before the event and said 'I don't think you're going to make it, but Larry will.' "
This slight kicked his craftsmanship into overdrive. Moon worked tirelessly in the weeks remaining. "I wrapped it up the night before I left for the maiden voyage," he said. Meanwhile, his neighbor Larry stayed home that year with an unfinished vehicle.
While Moon enjoys cruising the back roads heading to Midwest shows, cruise nights and events, he's taken his '32 Ford where any true hot rod needs to go: down a drag strip.
"I've taken it to Union Grove Dragway, just for the simple reason I wanted to see what it could do," he said. Going fast sure is fun but Moon's satisfaction comes from something else.
"Not too many people get a car built in a year that's ready for serious driving. The best part of the project is knowing the car is hand-built and dead reliable since '85."