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Mark’s 32

photos/words by: Justin Baas


The story of “Fireman Mark” Fagen’s 32 3 window starts several years back, Mark had the itch to built a new car and had settled on a 32 since he already owned a model a, a 34 and a few others, but no 32’s. The search for a body didn’t take long, fellow Lifters car club member Buck Rossin had 17 of them (yes you read that right) the problem was talking Buck, who’s well known for hoarding the good stuff into selling. That’s where another Lifters member Miguel Torres (aka Michael Campos) stepped in, you see Miguel has a certain relationship with Buck that no one else does, I don’t know if Buck just likes him more than everyone else or if Miguel just whines until Buck gives in. Either way Buck got talked into selling, in fact he got talked into selling a few of them, Miguel worked the club angle telling Buck how cool it’d be if all the guys in their club rolled into a show with 32 3 windows. Miguel got one for himself that’s still waiting to be built, another club member Tex picked up what turned out to be a 30’s built car that was ran at the lakes that he’s currently building (we’ll fill you in on that one at some point down the line) and the last one to leave in that group was Mark’s new pride and joy, a really solid body that had been channeled at some point and a mismatched pair of doors. Once the body was resting comfortably at Marks place the search was on for the parts to complete the project.

That search became much easier when Mark stumbled upon those Kennedy boys at a swap meet selling a complete running/driving chassis. It was kinda pieced together from shop leftovers, but the frame was in great shape and included a 46 merc engine and trans, original 32 rear, a nice radiator, steering, rebuilt brakes, etc. it was pretty much a drop a body on it and drive away situation, which was Marks original plan.  Once the body was resting comfortably on the frame it was brought to Dave Iverson to give the old sheet metal a little tune up and install a floor. Conveniently Dave’s neighbor is Ray Well’s a model T restorer and expert wood worker, he was quickly recruited to make a new wood kit for the 3 window. Mark had found an original dash but it had been cut up pretty babdly, Miguel suggested they cut it up even more an install a 35 dodge instrument panel, and what a good call that was, it’s a great looking piece for literally thousands less than what an Auburn or similar panel goes for these days.

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With the body securely attached to the frame Mark set himself a goal of getting the car to the suede palace at the Grand National Roadster Show in a few months. He made a pattern off an original seat frame and sent it down to Champion upholstery in Tijuana to get covered in leather. While the seat was down south Mark got busy wiring the car and had Bill Giess weld up an exhaust. With all the pieces in place Mark made his goal of getting the car up to the show in Pomona, but that was just the beginning. The suede palace used to be full of beaters and work in progress cars but recently the cars in that leaky old building could rival the ones in the main haul, Mark realized it was time to step things up and really finish the car, so once again fellow Lifters member Miguel stepped in and the car was brought down to his recently opened shop in Tijuana, Magoo’s customs.


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Miguel talked Mark into taking the car all the ways, and it was quickly stripped down to a pair of bare frame rails, Magoo’s customs employee Little Samuel and Miguel got down to business on the frame, repairing a little rust, fabricating a new left k-member leg from scratch to replace the butchered original, re-bushing the 32 pedals, making a custom mount for a 40′ master, and re-riveting the old frame back together. While the frame work was taking place the rear was sent up to Tim Krabel to rebuild and install a more freeway friendly set of 3.54 gears. Once the chassis was back in rolling form they decided to ditch the 46′ monkey motion side shift trans and replace it with a fresh 39′ box built by Pedro’s transmission out of Tijuana, Miguel calls Pedro the Joe Mack of TJ. The 59a flathead was freshened up and with some fresh chrome by Chromadora De Tijuana the frame was just about ready to be reunited with the body.

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Before that connection could be made the body was stripped, a few new patches were gas welded in, all the dings were picked and filed, gaps were set, and the body ready to go to paint, all that work was done by Magoo’s tiniest employee Tono, much of it performed while using paint/bondo cans as stilts. Tono’s brother Fernando is responsible for the stunning black lacquer paint job, which is still legal to spray down in Mexico.

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Again Marks goal was to make it to the suede palace at gnrs, and this time he was there with a finished car that was the jewel of that leaky old building. This car’s a good example of what happens when club buddies come together, now they just need to get the rest of the Lifters fleet of 3 windows on the road.

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