1932 Ford V8 Street Rod “Extreme Thunder” – A Car Designed Around An Engine

- in Cars

Talk about size matters, “Extreme Thunder” is owned by Steve Barton and features a 1200-horsepower DOHC engine that measures out to 904 cubic inches! That’s right: 4.9-inch bore crossed with a 6-inch stroke. You do the math.

904 cubic inches engine in 1932 Ford Xtreme Thunder
Steve Barton’s passion for all things automotive runs deep, but there’s something inside of him that likes a twist. The Las Vegas resident is most interested when the vehicle has an extra special component that is rare, spectacular or unheard of; that’s when Barton is most pleased.

The man owns more than 30 vehicles. He has a stable of interesting Cadillacs and Corvettes, there’s a Lincoln concept car, a McLaren/ Cadillac LMP (Le Mans Prototype) racer, a 950-bhp twin-turbo Impala, the legendary Frankenstude, an SSR turned into a 1959 El Camino (complete with hardtop convertible), and a lot more.

But what we’re looking at right now is this insane 1932 removabletop roadster. You might want to sit down and get comfortable, because the tale we’re about to tell you has many twists and turns.

1932 Ford V8 Street Rod Xtreme Thunder
“I had always wanted a ’32,” Barton told us, “but, of course, I didn’t want just a nice ’32. I wanted something that was different, something extraordinary.” In 2000, during a chance encounter with famed drag racer and SEMA Hall of Fame member Joe Schubeck, the project began to take shape.

Schubeck had designed and built a 902-cu.-in. dohc engine decades ago that was supposed to take on the Hemis in AA/FD drag racing, however, before the project was ramped up, the NHRA decided to ban the engine. The project was dead in the water. Schubeck had built no more than 10 of the engines and most ended up in offshore racing boats. It didn’t take long for Barton’s conversation with Schubeck to turn to the unusual and rare engine. After some convincing (and $100,000) Schubeck parted with one of the two engines that were left and Barton had the first, and most important part of his extraordinary 1932.

1932 Ford V8 Street Rod Xtreme Thunder interior front
The engine was put in storage for a while as Barton formulated a plan for the ’32. Barton wanted to have the car of his dreams built by someone of the caliber required for a very special project; he turned to Boyd Coddington in 2003. This was just before Coddington got involved in the “American Hot Rod” TV show. After getting the frame built and the engine mounted, not much more happened as Coddington was becoming more and more interested in his TV show.

Well, there was the issue over the body. Barton had specifically requested a custom body built by Marcel Delay, but Coddington kept insisting that a steel body from one of the aftermarket suppliers would be “just fine.” Anyone who knows Barton knows that “just fine” was not what he was looking for. Eventually Delay did, in fact, build a custom body for the car, but the lack of work being done and the disconnect between Barton’s desires and Coddington’s willingness to strive for them led to the car being pulled out of the shop and put into Barton’s storage warehouse. “I felt like it was like a death sentence for the car,” Barton told us. You could hear the hurt in his voice as he recounted the story. He added: “I didn’t think it would ever get built after that. It’s hard to find someone who will take over someone else’s work and straighten out the problems.”

1932 Ford V8 Street Rod Xtreme Thunder interior
But it just so happens that Barton did meet someone that he felt he could trust to complete the car in the manner it deserved. In 2001, Barton met Jordan Quintal at a hot rod shop in Escondido, California, where many award-winning cars and trucks had been built.

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