Dennis Sammon's 1932 Ford Phaeton Hiboy
(from Volume 28, Issue 334)

story by owner Dennis Sammon, photos by Michael B. Kelly


I started building my 1932 Ford Phaeton (Tub) in 2005 when I bought the Kourey body and chassis from friend Dave Bartman. The heart of the project was a 331 cubic inch Hemi acquired from my good friend Mike Litherland in Texas. After a few phone calls with Mike, a deal was struck and the trip to DFW was set....about 3 days after my wife Donna and I got married. I think the conversation went like this: “Honey, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is I’m taking you to Dallas! The bad news is we’re going to get a junk car and motor”. Her response was “Oh goody”. Yes, she’s a keeper.

Starting with the bare bones chassis, all of the suspension was added, polished stainless steel brake lines were plumbed, trans cooler adapted, stainless steel fuel lines routed, then it was on to getting it ready for paint. Everything was done in stages, as it always is, and soon it was ready for a motor install....all in a two car garage.

Speaking of Hemi....the machine work was done by Pete Hancock of Beachside Motor & Machine. The 1955 Chrysler 331 was bored .030 over, cleaned, then assembled by myself under “Mr. Mopar” Curtis Dorman’s watchful eye. Now on to some of internals and bolt-ons. They include stock Triple Nickel heads done by Brevard Cylinder Head Service, the rocker assemblies were rebuilt and polished by Daytona Auto Styling, an Isky “280” cam from Hot Heads Research & Racing, Egge Machine pistons, stock 331 rods, Mallory ignition with 8mm solid core wires, Weiand intake with twin 500 cfm Edelbrock carbs and So-Cal air cleaners. Doug’s Headers lead into 40 series FlowMaster mufflers and 2.5 inch exhaust done by Top Performance of West Melbourne. The extensive amount of polished aluminum goodies were ceramic clear coated by Precision Powder Coating, while various chrome pieces were handled by Space Coast Plating in Melbourne. A Turbo 350 transmission via an adapter and 2,800 stall converter routs the power back to an 8-inch Ford rear end with 2.78:1 gears (yes, I like to cruise). Gear selection is done by an American Shifter Company gate shifter with a ‘70 Duster 4-speed handle, just to trip up the folks thinking it’s a standard shift.

Once the motor and chassis were done, it was time for the “Phantom 2-Door” Phaeton glass body to receive some repairs. I added custom touches, including spraying Line X throughout the inside of the body. Once finalized it was painted in Sunburst Orange Effect (a 2005 Dodge Daytona 1500 color) by my good friends at Buckmans Auto in West Melbourne. The killer pinstripes were done by Scott Romero of Palm Bay, and really brought the colors out. The 2-inch chopped windshield has the top frame eliminated, and is donning the ever popular Florida Roadsters sticker.

The front suspension is a Deuce Factory polished stainless 4-inch drop axle, and polished Wilwood disc brakes binding to the 4.5-inch wide and 15-inch diameter polished American Rebel spindle-mount Starburst wheels. The rear wheels are polished ET Team Fueler units measuring 16 inches around and 10 inches wide.

When it comes to the inside, I designed the interior and Tops Upholstery of Sebastian did an outstanding job stitching the marine grade vinyl covering the Dodge Stratus front seats and surrounding areas. The rear seat was nixed in favor of a flat area I designed covering a hidden storage area, and the panel is covered in real Texas cowhide for our dogs to travel in comfort. An EZ-Wire kit was used, as were Dolphin gauges.

With 35,000 miles of cruising so far, this car has been exactly how I planned it. It’s been on the Hot Rod Power Tour in 2011, to the Shades of the Past Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, cruised most of Route 66 in Oklahoma, attended the Lone Star Roundup in Austin, Texas twice (once while living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and again when living in Dallas, Texas), to my personal favorite show the River Ranch Rod Run near Yeehaw Junction, Florida, then of course it has also covered most all of the Florida roads.

Throughout the 17 years of working on and running this hot rod there are things fixed, improved on and changed, as with any hot rod, and for that I’ve got lots of friends to thank. They include Dave Bartman for the body and chassis, Mike Litherland for the awesome motor, Jim Turman and Curtis Dorman for the technical help, Dan Thibault and Dave Zagora for help on the chassis paint and prep, Charlie’s Customs for the fab work to plop 700 pounds of Chrysler Hemi in a ‘32 chassis, Brevard Cylinder Heads’ Vic Fera (RIP), Todd Hegi of Island Hot Rod Addiction for his Tub technical expertise, Todd Hare for the custom hood and trick latching system, Ross Ballentyne of Hot Rod Design for welding and fab, and then certainly my awesome wife Donna for her patience. Thanks to everyone I am looking forward to many more years cruising in my Tub! CN