There are only a select number of automotive designs that have an almost universal draw, and the 1932 Ford Model B stands near the top of that short list. Whether factory or heavily customized, the ’32 Ford has a gorgeous appeal, but why is that? Chip Foose sat down with a pen and our cameras to share his thoughts about how this 87-year-old design is still relevant today.
What makes the ’32 Ford so iconic?
Related – We borrow the ’32 Ford roadster from the Hagerty ‘library’
The Styling Section, and Art and Colour Studio at General Motors were created, and headed by Harley Earl (1893-1969). From the late 1920s, and on into the 1950s Harley Earl headed the design evolution at GM. It was under Earl’s guidance that the utilitarian design of early automobiles evolved into rolling Art of the 30s, 40s, and 50s cars we love today.
The first car done in the Art and Colour Studio under Earl’s direction was for Lawrence Fisher (Body by Fisher). Earl asked for a 1927 LaSalle chassis on which he would build his design. The car would be of advanced design in that the chassis was lowered 4”. The design was aggressive, but not loud, the posts were much thinner than usual, and the windshield was two piece and formed a slight V. There was concern that the thin posts would not be strong enough, so the entire car was made of steel rather than the wood frame construction that was typical of the time. The interior wood decor was a work of art. When the project was nearing completion Earl was asked “What will we call it”? Earl thought for a moment…. Pauline Frederick, a popular stage and film star of the day, was starring in a show called Madam X, Earl had seen the show the night before, and dined with the young Starlet after the show. He said we’ll call it the Madam X