Streamline Custom Designs Chops the Top on the 2023/2024 Goodguys Giveaway ’32 Ford Coupe
To chop or not to chop, that is the question.
Is it, really, though? C’mon, we’re talking about a Deuce coupe hot rod – of course we want it chopped!
When we first announced the a ’32 Ford five-window coupe as the Goodguys Grand Prize Giveaway vehicle for 2024, there was actually a little uncertainty about whether to chop the top. Starting with fresh sheet metal panels from United Pacific, the team at Streamline Custom Designs assembled a rock-solid stock-height coupe body. And even artist Eric Black was unsure on whether the top needed lowered in his design renderings.
“We’ve been playing around with chop, or no chop, or how much chop,” Eric said in the early days of planning. Eric’s theory is that full-fendered car like this coupe doesn’t beg for a significant top chop the same way a highboy might. Ultimately, Eric and Streamline’s Donnie Hall couldn’t resist taking out a little slice, with an emphasis on little. They agreed that removing just 1.5-inches would suit the coupe just right. “A lot of people won’t notice it, they’ll just wonder why it looks so good,” Eric says.
Another consideration for the subtle cut is the fact that this is a giveaway car, after all. “The first thought was given to the future lucky winner of this ’32 and its functionality,” says Streamline’s Isaac Gonzales. “A drastic chop would not fit a tall end user.”
Talking about the chop is one thing, but cutting metal to make it happen is quite another. Donnie Hall is the right man for the job. Not only does he have the metalworking skills, but he’s also done his research to know where and how to cut to achieve the best results. A lot of rodders assume you just slice through the middle of the top, remove the desired amount of material, and weld things back together. There’s more to it than that, though, and a more thoughtful method can yield more favorable results.
For Donnie, that meant utilizing the B-pillar as the starting point. He identified the center of the straightest section and measured 3/4-inch up and 3/4-inch down to determine where the 1.5-inches would be removed. From there, he brought that line through to the middle of the rear window and, after finding center, he jogged the cut line down for a Z-style chop. By bringing the cut line closer to the beltline across the back of the roof, he was able to weld in a stronger, flatter area, which would help prevent warping and the need to make vertical relief cuts. Moving onto the A-pillar, he used the factory seam as the high point and measured 1.5-inches down from that fixed position to determine what material to remove.
As you see in these photos, Donnie’s thoughtful approach and careful execution resulted in a clean chop that avoided excess metalwork or significant alteration of the A-pillar or sail panel angle. Precision welding and metal finishing made the work performed virtually undetectable, even in bare metal, which is the sign of exceptional craftsmanship.
If you’ve caught the first couple installments of this build, you already know that, in addition to the reproduction body panels from United Pacific, the coupe will also benefit from a custom chassis built by Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop, which we chronicled going together back in January. Other parts on the list include a 347c.i. stroker small-block Ford engine from Roush Performance, Borla stack fuel injection, Classic Wide Five wheels from Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop, a slew of parts and pieces from Speedway Motors, and many other top-notch elements. It will be fun to watch this Deuce come together, so stay tuned for more installments in the coming months!
Photos courtesy Streamline Custom Designs