Jimmy Pflueger’s Last Hot Rod

Street Rodder - - Tech -

Pro­nounced “how vella,” hao wela is the Hawaiian word for hot rod; and con­trary to what main­land hot rod­ders might imag­ine, drag rac­ing hot rods in Hawaii has been as pop­u­lar as any­where in the U.S. since years be­fore Hawaii was a state. It was shortly af­ter World War II and Kahuku Point Army Air Base’s aban­doned airstrip was the place to race. The Kolea Rac­ing Team ran the first drag­ster con­structed in Hawaii; the three-man team con­sisted of Buddy Hughes, Ed­die Soren­son, and Jimmy Pflueger.

The Kahuku dragstrip closed down even­tu­ally, but in 1964 Jimmy Pflueger gath­ered a group of Honolulu doc­tors to­gether and funded the con­struc­tion of Hawaii Race­way Park. By now a self-made mil­lion­aire, Jimmy opened the very first Honda au­to­mo­bile deal­er­ship in the United States. The Honda N600 de­buted in 1969 and Jimmy’s Pa­cific Honda sold Amer­ica its very first Honda Civics. It was May of 1970 be­fore Honda sold cars on the main­land in Wash­ing­ton, Cal­i­for­nia, and Ore­gon through its mo­tor­cy­cle deal­er­ships al­ready up and run­ning.

Roy Brizio Street Rods, of South San Fran­cisco, built this ’32 Ford for Jimmy with the guide­lines it was to be tra­di­tion­ally themed and in Jimmy’s fa­vorite color: black. The build process started in bare metal and stayed in bare metal un­til the car was fully as­sem­bled with all the driv­e­train, sus­pen­sion, and body parts in­stalled into place. The frame (Deuce ’rails) is a fully boxed Brizio

’32 Ford re­pro­duc­tion with a 106-inch wheel­base. As Jimmy spec­i­fied, the ’32 is pure Ford from front to rear. The rearend is a Cur­rie 9-inch Ford with 3.50 gears and lim­ited slip and is lo­cated with chrome-plated Pete and Jakes lad­der bars. The an­tiroll bar is from SO-CAL Speed Shop, and Pan­hard bar, Brizio’s. Hav­ing a bet­ter ride over­ruled a tra­di­tional buggy spring on the rear, so aft sus­pen­sion is han­dled with QA1 coilover shocks.

The front sus­pen­sion and steer­ing is han­dled with a

fully chromed Su­per Bell dropped I-beam axle sprung with a Du­rant monoleaf spring damped with Pete and Jakes tubu­lar shock ab­sorbers. Steer­ing is gen­uine Vega box plucked from Chevy Vega con­trolled with a Mullins steer­ing col­umn capped with a Mooneyes four-spoke steer­ing wheel. The juice brakes are tra­di­tional in the sense that they are drum, but later de­sign Ford po­lice brakes are in the rear and big Lin­coln drum brakes with chrome-plated back­ing plates up front. For ped­als there’s a Pete and Jakes trap push­ing a Wil­wood mas­ter cylin­der and pro­por­tion­ing valve. Pol­ished stain­less steel lines han­dle all of the car’s plumb­ing needs.

Bigs ’n’ lit­tles, the front tires are 695x14 BFGoodrich Sil­ver­town bias-ply and the rear 950x14 BFGoodrich Sil­ver­town bias-ply tires mounted on 6-inch-wide

Gen­eral Jumbo wheels.

Pow­ered by Ford, the en­gine is a 302-inch Edel­brock crate mo­tor with an Edel­brock hy­draulic roller cam rest­ing be­neath an Edel­brock alu­minum in­take with a 650-cfm Edel­brock AFB carb ac­cel­er­ated by a Lokar spoon pedal. The cylin­der heads are Edel­brock with porce­lain-coated San­der­son head­ers ex­it­ing ex­haust through 2-1/4-inch pipes into a pair of Stain­less Spe­cial­ties muf­flers. The ig­ni­tion is MSD with Tay­lor spark plug wires han­dling the sec­ondary cir­cuit. The 302 Ford puts out 300 hp at 4,000 rpm. The cooling sys­tem be­gins with an Edel­brock water pump push­ing coolant through a Walker brass and cop­per ra­di­a­tor as­sisted with a SPAL fan.

In keep­ing with an all-Ford driv­e­train, the Lokar-shifted au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is a C4 Cruise-O-Matic re­built and beefed by Hills­dale Trans­mis­sion in San Ma­teo, Cal­i­for­nia. The cus­tom-made drive­shaft was sourced from Drive Line Ser­vice of San Le­an­dro, Cal­i­for­nia.

The beauty of build­ing a ’32 Ford from scratch is all the parts are avail­able, and that in­cludes a brand-new steel body. Brizio started with a Brookville Road­ster body that ar­rives com­pletely as­sem­bled with sub­frame, floor­pans, cowl sec­tion, doors, and deck­lid. From there the cool stuff on Jimmy’s ’32 started; Brizio’s An­drik Al­bor sec­tioned and dropped a Rootlieb ’32 Ford hood 3/4 inch at the front and mounted a Brookville ’32 shell with a Dan Fink grille in­sert.

Al­bor metal-fin­ished and fi­nessed the gaps and then fi­nal fit and fin­ish­ing took place in Hay­ward, Cal­i­for­nia, at Com­pani Color where Joe Com­pani, Ryan Campi, and Travis Duffy took the ’32 all the way into House of Kolor Jet Black ure­thane.

Back at Brizio’s, Jimmy’s ’32 went di­rectly to the fi­nal assem­bly area where parts that were sent out to Sherm’s Cus­tom Plat­ing for show-qual­ity chrome were laid out await­ing in­stal­la­tion. The head­lights came from OTB Gear and the out­side mir­rors from Val­ley Auto Ac­ces­sories. Nes­tled be­low a pair of ’39 Ford tail­lights re­sides a Tanks Inc. 14-1/2-gal­lon ’32 Ford stain­less steel gas tank.

Be­fore the in­te­rior work could be done the elec­tri­cal

sys­tem needed com­ple­tion. Jim Vick­ery started by mount­ing an Enos panel, and then in­stalled Clas­sic In­stru­ments and con­nected the rest of the wiring. A Pow­er­mas­ter al­ter­na­tor han­dles charg­ing. Next Dy­na­mat ther­mal acous­tic ad­he­sive sound dead­ener was ap­plied to the floor and sur­round­ing ar­eas. The 2-inch chopped Du­Vall wind­shield sports green tinted glass and a Vin­tique in­side rearview mir­ror.

For up­hol­stery Jimmy’s ’32 was trans­ported to Sid Chavers Co. for a cus­tom scratch-built seat, and then fine Bo­li­vian Brown full-grade leather with cor­re­spond­ing Ger­man square-weave car­pet­ing. Matched at­ten­tion was paid to the trunk.

Jimmy Pflueger be­came a hot rod­der at age 20 and was for over 70 years. On April 25, 2017, when STREET ROD­DER pho­tographed Jimmy’s ’32 we asked why he built this car, and he an­swered: “I wanted one more hot rod.” On Septem­ber 25, 2017, Jimmy Pflueger died, leav­ing his ’32 Ford road­ster to the Petersen Au­to­mo­tive Mu­seum.

For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence visit:

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