The 1932 Chevrolet that's still going strong
While walking my dogs around our neighbourhood, I came across a beautiful vintage car with glistening paintwork and chrome parked on a driveway. I took a sneaky photo from behind a hedge and went home to do some research. There are some serious gaps in my knowledge of pre-war cars and I didn’t want to look stupid when I met the owner!
After taking the same dog walking route for three weeks (while reciting facts and figures in my head), I eventually ran into Bruce and casually asked if this was a 1932 Chevrolet Confederate? He seemed suitably impressed and offered to show me round his pride and joy.
Affectionately named “Foxy Lady” (because she turns heads wherever she goes), she has delivered nearly 80 brides and grooms successfully to their destinations. Alan Davies once drove her between takes of filming for his Jonathan Creek TV series and she has also made an appearance in the film “Me and Orson Wells” starring Zac Efron. Most of this income has been recycled back into the car and Bruce has made several upgrades to improve reliability.
Little information is known about the car’s history but it was fully restored in Canada about 20 years ago. It was then sold to someone in Florida and then onto its previous owner in New Jersey, from whom Bruce purchased her in 2007. After seeing the ad online, he made a trip to New York where, after a couple of days of haggling, the deal was done and the car shipped to the UK.
Featuring the reliable “Stovebolt Six” 3,180cc six-cylinder engine of previous Chevy models, it was upgraded with a downdraft carburettor and a higher compression ratio which resulted in 60hp. A three speed synchro-mesh transmission was fitted with a “free-wheeling” mode which allowed the car to coast at the push of a button.
Bruce’s work on the car over the years has included re-tempered springs, restored shackles, new clutch, new water pump, new carb, spot lights, badges, upgrading the headlights to halogen bulbs and fitting modern indicators. He came across the white-wall tyres by chance on eBay and the wheels were shot blasted and powder-coated to match.
The engine has been fitted with an alternator and a secondary electric fuel pump helps to top up the carb when the car isn’t used regularly. The interior has been restored to the original mohair cloth and the rear seat is as comfy (and large) as a sofa. Bruce says that the car is surprisingly easy to maintain and even more surprisingly, access to parts is no problem – from America of course.
We took “Foxy Lady” out for a spin and I was surprised how modern she feels. Having said that, she moves with a real sense of occasion. Although the cabin looks very narrow from the outside, it doesn’t feel cramped inside, especially with the vertical windows and flat roof which create lots of headroom. We parked the car on the grass at a local park for some photos and she looked just right with her beautiful chrome glinting in the sunshine.
Bruce told me that he has recently made the very difficult decision to pass her onto a new owner due to an impending house move and change of circumstances. With a very desirable registration number – King William 1066 (KIW1066), he hopes to find a local buyer who will keep her on the roads of Sussex for years to come.