1932 Chevrolet coupe Ben Smithson

Down and Dirty Bowtie, Ben Smithson’s 1932 Chevy Spans 3 Generations

The Down and Dirty Bowtie is a family affair. Ben Smithson’s grandfather owned this former dirt-track car-turned-hot-rod, which was passed to Ben’s dad when his grandfather died in 1997. It’s now Ben’s turn with the car and what a turn he’s made with it!

We selected Ben’s ’32 Chevy for the Gazette Pick for a couple of reasons. First, it’s different and it’s bitchin! Second – Ben embodies the new age hot rodder. Still in his twenties, he possesses a contagious spirit and full-throttle attitude. Seeing him compete for Goodguys Hot Rod of the Year with an unbridled joy and contagious enthusiasm made him an easy choice for the Gazette Pick. Further – he’s an accomplished engineer and designed the chassis himself using CAD.

“I began working on it in 2008,” Ben says. “As an old dirt racer, the doors were welded up and the rear window opening was cut out. There wasn’t any of the old wood left in the structure, either, so I replaced it all with steel.”

1932 Chevrolet coupe Ben Smithson

Ben Smithson and his ’32 Chevy coupe

The doors open again on the all-steel body, which has also been treated to a 3-inch chop. A new, handmade trunk lid also repairs the modifications from the car’s former track days and the body was sprayed Quaker State Green by Bobby Smithson – Ben’s father.

The body is mounted on a custom 2×3-inch tube steel frame designed by Ben featuring a 4-inch rear kick-up that contributes to the car’s in-the-weeds profile – well, that and a 4-inch channeling of the body over the frame and a 4-inch dropped front axle. A Posies transverse spring completes the front suspension, while at the rear is a custom-built, triangulated 4-link setup housing a Currie 9-inch stuffed with 4.56 gears.

There’s also a Mopar steering box and disc brakes up front, and drum brakes in the rear. The car rolls on 15-inch Rally America chrome steelies and repro Firestone bias-plies.

The cabin’s “Vanilla Shake” color contrasts nicely with the green exterior and is a creative blend of elements from several vehicles. The dashboard, for example, comes from a ‘54 Chevy truck, but cut down 8 inches, while the custom-trimmed seats – in marine-grade vinyl – are based on 1954 International truck frames. There’s also a set of New Vintage USA gauges, a Speedway Motors steering wheel, and custom bead-rolled side panels.

down and dirty bowtie, Ben Smithson's 1932 Chevy

Pushing the coupe through the Tennessee countryside is the thrust generated by a classic, 0.030-over 327c.i. Chevy engine, which is running all forged internals, a COMP Cams solid-lifter camshaft and ported Power Pak heads fitted with 1.94/1.60-inch valves. The small block draws its breath through a pair of Edelbrock carbs mounted an Offenhauser aluminum intake manifold and exhales through Gear Drive Speed & Custom lake-style headers. Finned valves cover and complementing air cleaners finish off the engine with traditional flair.

With this “haul” in the family Chevy serving as a project for Ben and his father and its legacy from Ben’s grandfather, we’re sure it’s a hot rod that won’t find another home for generations to come.

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Body: 1932 Chevrolet 5-Window Coupe
Mods: 3-inch chop, 4-inch channel, handmade trunk lid
Color: PPG Quaker State Green and PPG Vanilla Shake
Chassis: Custom 2×3-inch tube chassis designed by owner, 4-inch kick up, 4-inch dropped axle with Posies springs, custom triangulated 4-link rear suspension, front discs, rear drums, Mopar steering box, Currie 9-inch with 4.56 gears.
Power: 327 c.i. small block Chevy V8, forged internals, ported heads, Edelbrock 2×4 carbs, Gear Drive lakes-style headers, Flowmaster 10 series exhaust, Borg Warner T-56 six speed transmission.
Wheels & Tires: Chrome Rallye American 15×5” (front), 15×7” (rear) Coker/Firestone bias ply rubber.
Interior: 1954 International truck seat frame with marine grade vinyl upholstery by Chad Burks, 1954 Chevy truck dash cut down 8 inches, New Vintage USA gauges, custom owner-made shifter, Speedway Motors green flake steering wheel.