The '32 Ford's designer, John Edwards, left and Frank Colgoni
The ’32 Ford’s designer, John Edwards, left and Frank Colgoni. Click image to enlarge

Story and photos by Jil McIntosh

Photo Gallery: 1932 Ford

Seventy-five years ago, Ford unveiled a revolutionary car: a stylish, low-priced new model that carried the company’s first V8 engine and which would, in time, be reborn in the hands of hot rodders as the iconic 1932 Ford “Deuce”.

Forty-five years ago, 12-year-old Frank Colgoni built a plastic model of one, which earned him first prize in a model contest.

Today, he’s finishing up a full-size one that, in honour of the Deuce’s anniversary, will lead a caravan of hot rods from Toronto to Victoria, B.C. this July.

“The tour sprang out of the car,” says Colgoni, a Markham, Ontario-based Web designer whose popular hobbyists’ site,, was originally set up to hone his computer skills. “I wanted to build a car to drive this summer to an event in Victoria, called Northwest Deuce Day, which is being promoted by a friend of mine.

“I told some friends about going and they said, ‘What would you think about us tagging along?’ After that, one evening I got the idea that it was time for a Canadian hot rod tour, and I had the Web site at my disposal as a marketing tool to promote it.”

The car is the fourth 1932 Ford Colgoni has owned over the years. Most of its fabrication is being done by John Edwards at his Dream Machines shop in Scarborough (Toronto), Ontario, who estimates there will be about 1,000 hours of work in the finished vehicle; Colgoni assists with bodywork and assembly. The roofless roadster, which has been under construction since late 2005, uses a fiberglass body on a frame built by Edwards. While most Ford hot rods carry Chevrolet engines, Colgoni opted for a Ford 302-cubic-inch powerplant. “Being an anniversary car, it had to be Ford,” he says. “It would have been sacrilegious to do otherwise.”

Colgoni's 1932 Ford
Colgoni’s 1932 Ford. Click image to enlarge

It’s being built as a “hiboy”, without fenders and with the body sitting on top of the visible frame. “I say to people, have you seen the movie American Graffiti and the car that Milner drove, that was a ’32 Ford hiboy coupe,” Colgoni says. “Now picture that without a top, and you’ve got the quintessential hot rod.”

Patterned on a similar U.S. event, the Canadian Hot Rod Tour will start at the NASCAR SpeedPark in Vaughan Mills, a venue at Toronto’s northwest corner, and travel 4,500 km over 11 days. Participants are invited to join at any stage, for any length of the trip, and all types of cars are welcome. “So far we’re approaching 60 people on the tour, from all over the place,” Colgoni says. “We have 20 of the 60 starting here (in Toronto) and I believe 19 have said they’re going the whole way. We have people coming up from North Carolina and Buffalo, and a friend of mine and his wife are shipping a propane-powered 1933 Ford roadster from Brisbane (Australia) to drive with us.”

The tour stops each night in a designated city, and several car clubs along the way have volunteered to meet the tour and host it for the evening.

Colgoni's 1932 Ford
Colgoni’s 1932 Ford. Click image to enlarge

While Colgoni organized the tour as a labour of love, it will also raise funds for the Rick Hansen Foundation through registration fees, apparel and pledges. “There was something about the quality of life that we enjoy enabling us to enjoy this hobby,” he says. “I felt we could put it to good use, to help improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries. Hot rodders always seem to have events for charities and so I picked this.”

Although it looks fairly complete, the ’32 still requires essential items such as brake lines, wiring and seats, and Colgoni is hoping to have it finished by late May so he can test it out before he and his wife Judy take it on the big trip.

“Every now and again I wake up in the middle of the night and say, ‘What have I done?’,” Colgoni laughs. “But people say they’re enthusiastic about this drive and about meeting me, and it’s their enthusiasm that keeps me going. The cars are 75 years old, but we’re getting together through computers. I’ve forged an electronic relationship with these people, and now I’ll be able to put a face and a car to them.”

For information on the tour, visit

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