Howard Krusey's 1932 Ford Hiboy Roadster
(from Volume 14, Issue 158)
For about 26 years, Howard Krusey of Complete Auto Upholstery in Altamonte Springs, Florida has been doing outstanding upholstery work to put the finishing touches on some of the coolest cars in the Southeast. There have literally been hundreds of award winning cars and trucks come through his shop over the years, and even if you are not aware of it, if you are reading this magazine and attend shows much at all, I’m sure you’ve seen his craftsmanship on display in some of the vehicles you’ve drooled over. Howard has always had one project or another of his own going through the years, and recently he completed his latest - the 1932 Ford Hiboy Roadster pictured here.
With the help of some friends, Howard put the car together himself, starting with the So-Cal boxed frame, which was pinched 1-1/2 inches in the front. To that he added a 4” Magnum I-Beam chrome front axle, Magnum front disc brakes, and stainless hairpin radius rods. Up front you’ll find mono leaf spring, out back is a Pete & Jake’s ladder bar and pan hard bar, with Pro shocks all around.
Providing the power is a Chevy 383 stroker motor built by Keith Weber out of Groveland, Florida. Items include an Eagle crank and rods, Keith Black pistons, Comp Cams 290 hydraulic 470-470 bump stick, Comp Cams roller tipped rocker arms and Corvette 461 cylinder heads with 2.02 and 1.60 valves. An Edelbrock 600cfm carb feeds the fuel, and an HEI ignition provides the spark. Lots of eye candy was also added in the form of a chrome intake, valve covers, alternator, air conditioning compressor, fuel and water pump, plus polished aluminum pulleys, Griffin radiator and fan shroud. Behind the motor you’ll find a 700R4 overdrive automatic, built by Don Marcone of Fourth Gear Inc. in Eustis, Florida, which is kept running cool by a B&M trans cooler. A custom driveshaft by George and the crew at Advance Driveline in Orlando routs the power back to an 8-inch Ford Trac-Loc rear end with 3.50:1 gears.
The body came from Show Me Rod & Custom, which had the cockpit extended 2-inches. All the body modifications and general clean up of the usual things about a fiberglass body were handled by Lenny Toussaint. This included fitting the decklid, hood and grill, and installing the frenched ‘39 Ford LED taillights and flush mounted third brake light. After much glass work, block sanding, and multiple coats of primer it was time for Lenny to break out the spray gun again and lay down the House Of Kolor tangelo pearl and black paint, then multiple coats of clear. After a couple of days of sanding and rubbing, the result was a super smooth and eye-catching finished product.
The wheels are Billet Specialties Fast Lanes, with 15x6 in front and 18x9.5 out back. The current tires were won by running the Autocross at the Goodguys show in Atlanta this summer (a testimony to not only Howard’s driving, but also the car’s solid construction), and consist of BFGoodrich G-Force KDW’s measuring 205-55-15 up front and 285-60-18 rearward.
To compliment all the outstanding work already done Howard had Steve Bronovitsky of B ‘n J Powder Coating in Orlando do the rotors, calipers, brake drums, backing plates, rear end housing, center section, driveshaft, transmission case (after grinding it smooth first), engine block and heads (also ground smooth), front spring, frame, master cylinder and many assorted brackets and pieces. The full length headers go into a 2-1/2 inch exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers, which was built by Steve and Howard using mandrel bent tubing so there are no kinks in the system (many thanks go out to Steve!). The entire system was then coated at PerformanceKote in Orlando.
Now it was Howard’s turn, as the emphasis turned to the interior. He started by framing in the trunk so he could build the final panels. Then after much sketching Howard decided on the design, and using spinney beck leather in an orange color, along with black cobra accents, he completed the fully upholstered trunk. Moving forward into the cabin he continued the same design theme, adding pockets in the doors and utilizing Fiero bucket seats. Autometer gauges were won at the Goodguys show in Tallahassee, and much work was done to hide the air conditioning unit under the dash for a clean look. The steering column is a Chevy van tilt unit, modified by Chris Krusey, who also modified the brake pedal to come out of the left side of the column. The car was fully insulated with wood and Dynamat to keep things quiet, allowing passengers to appreciate the Alpine touch screen flat panel CD/DVD player in a custom built console under the dash, and the Boston Acoustic speakers powered by a hidden amplifier. For the top Howard used a stock frame unit, but chopped the folding top irons 2-inches, then modified all three wood bows in the assembly to make it lowered and narrow. It was then covered with a black Hartz cloth folding top, matching the main body color.
Upon “completion” the car received the personalized license plate “NVR DNE”, because we all know specialty vehicles are never really “done”. You are always working on them, changing this and that. The slogan “Traded For” was also added under the decklid when the car was being pin striped. That is because the body was traded for some upholstery in a car Paul Stanley was building, and the paint and body work were traded with Lenny for an interior in his Brookville roadster.
As with most owner-built cars, there are lots of people to thank for their help. Howard would like to extend a big “Thank You” to Steve Bronovitsky for his fabrication help and tons of powdercoating, Chris Stephans for various things, Lenny Toussaint for not complaining like many painters do, his son Chris Krusey for help early in the car’s construction, and his wife Sue Krusey. CN