When Gary decided to put his roadster up for sale, I started buying lottery tickets. Seriously. This car’s special. It’s one of those remarkable hot rods that an experienced fabricator built for himself. Simple and traditional, it employs original Ford parts throughout. But Gary’s a machinist, so the tolerances in this roadster are more akin to NASA than pre-WWII Detroit. It’s obvious in the fit and finish. But it’s even more evident in the things you can’t see, like the absence of shimmies, shakes or rattles in the suspension, the buttery smooth transmission, the head-jerking performance of the big flathead, and the wonderful road manners.
The car pulls from idle to over 5000 rpm smoothly and quickly, with no stumble or hesitation. With its 26 tooth Lincoln Zephyr trans and 3.54 ring and pinion you can easily hit 60 in first gear, 80 in second, and outlaw status in third.
The engine is a powerhouse. Built from an unmolested ’48 59L block, its 1/8 inch bore and 3/8 inch stroke pump it up to 286 inches. The machine work, balancing and assembly was done at Gary Howard’s Flathead City in Grants Pass, OR. Detailed specs are outlined below, but of special interest are the heads.
Gary and partner in the roadster Jim Tipper detail the new Evans heads.
We don’t have to tell you who Earl Evans was. His speed equipment was considered by many to be the best available and powered many cars to track and land speed records. A couple of years back Evans Speed Equipment was persuaded to recast some of Earl’s heads from his original tooling. Ten sets were cast, of these six were finish-machined. Gary’s roadster got Set Number Five.
The polished intake is also an Evans, an original, as are the three big chrome Stromberg 48 carburetors. This three carb setup required repositioning of the generator so Gary machined a handsome, one-off side mount along with a new bearing mount for the fan.
Inside the block are a Scat 4 1/8 inch crank and H-beam rods, Ross pistons, and a Schneider 400SR cam. The Evans heads were milled specifically to handle the cam’s mighty .386 lift. Fired by a modified Mallory distributor, the balanced internals drive the car through a 26lb Weber flywheel and McLeod 10.5 inch clutch. Headers are Fenton and Gary built a stainless straight pipe exhaust system with just enough baffling to keep the neighbors at bay. The big motor, lumpy cam and straight pipes combine to produce a rumble so delightful it can’t even be put into words.
Gary and his partner Jim Tipper wired the car using traditional cloth-covered wire from Rhode Island Wire. They also installed a radiator from Walker. The car always runs cool and strong, even on the hottest days in our relentless beach town traffic.
The chassis is made up of ASC rails, a Model A front crossmember, and a ’34 Ford-style center and rear crossmember from Brookville. The front end combines a forged Chassis Engineering dropped and drilled axle with stainless hairpins and a pair of Pete & Jakes’ shocks. All of it, including the ’46-’48 Ford backing plates and modified So Cal scoops, is either plated or polished.
The rear end combines a ’36 Ford banjo and original spring with a pair of Monroe tube shocks. Rear brakes are ’40 Ford. As noted above, the ring and pinion have been updated to a highway-friendly 3.54 and the entire rear end protected with one of Gary’s ingenious pinion seals. These machined seals prevent lubricant in the banjo from drilling its way up the torque tube, starving the banjo and flooding the transmission – a concern in all early V8 Ford cars, especially those sitting on a rake.
For comfort and handling the roadster is shod in tall, skinny Excelsior Stahl radials, 5.50-16 in front, 7.50-16 out back. Of special note are the wheels. In order to run original-style ’32 hubcaps on the Vintique wheels, Gary milled a set of adapters out of four solid, billet aluminum blocks.
An earlier photo of the car, before mounting the Excelsior Stahl Radials and Kaiser taillights. The low, 5-digit California ’32 plate is a rare one.
Missed by most people, the subtle ’47 Kaiser taillights are just different enough to leave knowing roadster fans scratching their heads. They don’t repop these babies.
Steve’s Auto Restorations (Portland, OR) punched 100 louvers in the Brookville decklid. Gary punched another 50 in the hood top to match.
The body, grille shell and insert are from Brookville, the firewall is original Henry Ford. The louvered deck lid is from Steve’s Auto Restorations. All of it, including the chassis, is shot in mile-deep Centari 99A Pitch Black.
Inside the cab close attention was paid to seat height and location; a couple of trips were made to the trimmer’s to get it just right. Seats are covered in oxblood-colored leather, sewn in a traditional tuck and roll pattern; the wool carpets are colored to match. The trunk is also fully carpeted and upholstered. Beneath the 2 inch chopped windshield and behind the original ’40 Ford Standard wheel sits a dash filled with Stewart Warner “Wings” gauges. Original Deuce dash knobs in any kind of presentable condition are virtually unobtainable these days. Dissatisfied with the quality of the repop knobs available, Gary took the machinists’ route and milled his own. Mounted beneath the dash is a super-rare Indy 500 fuel pressure hand pump.
Planning a trip to the dry lakes? A bare metal hood top, also louvered, and a set of aluminum wheel disks are included in the sale. You can see the construction of the hood HERE.
While guys individually have their own favorite makes and models, they won’t argue that Deuce roadsters sit at the top of the hot rod food chain. Folks familiar with Gary’s car feel it’s among the best. It’s been featured (with pics by gifted automotive photographer Tim Sutton) in a multi-page spread in Hot Rod Deluxe. It’s also appeared in the pages of Hop Up, Rod & Kulture, and ThEnd, a Japanese magazine for traditional hot rod enthusiasts. Gary’s roadster has also been awarded the Goodguys’ “Period Perfect” award – not once but twice – along with their “Bruce Olsen Memorial” and “Outstanding Ford-in-a-Ford” awards.
$89.5K for inquires and further information eMail HERE
1932 FORD ROADSTER SPECIFICATIONS
Owned & Built by Gary Evans and Jim Tipper
Brookville Roadster body, grille shell and insert
Steve’s Auto Restorations deck lid
Original Ford steel firewall
Windshield chopped 2 inches
’32 Ford commercial headlights
’47 Kaiser taillights
99A Centari single stage “Pitch Black” acrylic enamel
Leather tuck and roll, wool carpet – interior and trunk
Original ’40 Ford Standard steering wheel
So Cal six-gauge dash insert
Stewart Warner “Wings” gauges
Vintage “Indy 500” fuel pressure hand pump
Halon fire extinguisher
ASC ‘32 frame rails
Model A front crossmember
’34 Ford style X-member
Stainless spreader bars front and rear
Chassis Engineering forged 4 inch dropped axle; drilled and chromed
SoCal polished stainless hairpins and batwings
SoCal polished stainless Panhard bar
Vega steering box
Pete and Jake’s tube shocks, chromed
’36 Ford banjo rear axle
3:54 ring and pinion
’36 Ford rear spring, two leaves removed
Monroe tube shocks
Custom-machined torque tube pinion seal
Chrome backing plates
Modified and polished SoCal scoops
’40 Ford with parking brakes
FRONT WHEELS AND TIRES
16 x 4 1/2” Vintique steel wheels
5.50 – 16” Excelsior Stahl Sport Radials
REAR WHEEL AND TIRES
16 x 6” Vintique steel wheels
7.50 – 16” Excelsior Stahl Sport Radials
1932 Ford mounted with custom-machined adapters
Additional set of Lakes-style full aluminum wheel discs included
’48 Ford 59L 286 cid engine – 800 miles since engine build
Machine work, balancing and assembly by Gary Howard, Flathead City
4 1/8” Scat crank
Scat H-beam rods
3 5/16” Ross pistons
Schneider 400-SR cam
Schneider hollow body lifters
Isky 185G valve springs shimmed .060
1.55” stainless valves
3 angle valve seats
All rotating mass balanced to less than 1 gram
Weber 26 lb steel flywheel
McLeod 10 ½” street/strip clutch
New Evans heads by Jaime Gonzales at Evans Speed Equipment
New castings from original Earl Evans patterns
67 cc chambers, steel spark plug inserts, 9:1 compression
Set Number Five of 6 sets completed
Original Evans 3X2 polished intake manifold
Original polished Stromberg 48 carburetors, rebuilt with new Stromberg parts
Modified Mallory distributor
Packard 440 plug wires, Raja terminals
Fenton cast iron headers
Custom stainless straight pipe exhaust with spiral baffles
’39 Ford case and shifter fully rebuilt with
OEM ’41 Lincoln Zephyr 26 tooth gears
Updated ’49-51 Ford truck synchros
Dyna-Bat dry cell battery
Centech fuse panel
Rhode Island cloth covered wire
California licensed as a 1932 Ford Roadster
with original year-of-manufacture plates
Approximately 800 miles on engine, 8000 miles on car
AWARDS, MAGAZINE APPEARANCES
Two-time “Period Perfect” winner – Goodguys West Coast Nationals
“Bruce Olson Memorial Award” – Goodguys West Coast Nationals
“Outstanding Ford-in-a-Ford Award” – Goodguys West Coast Nationals
Featured in Hot Rod Deluxe magazine (July 2013) and Thend magazine (September 2013), also appearances in Hop Up and Rod & Kulture magazines
Many of you saw Michael Dobrin’s article on Gary’s roadster in Hot Rod Deluxe magazine. We spent the day with photographer Tim Sutton who snapped this at-speed photo spread laying in the bed of my truck as I raced along next to Gary on the street in front of the shop.
At the time, Gary wasn’t running a hood. He had a full hood for the car, but felt it would be a shame to cover up that handsome flathead. Maybe a hood top would be in order. Louvers were already an element in the car’s traditional character – there are a hundred in the deck lid – so they’d be a factor in the design of this project, too.
Old hot rods, especially if they have any notoriety, are the trendy new marque on the lawns of concours d’elegance events. We know they’re bitchen, but does recognition from the blue-blazer crowd add to anything to their cool factor? It really doesn’t matter. In the end, we’re all just car guys and an event like Palo Alto provides us an opportunity to ogle machinery we don’t often get to see. (We were also treated to a free lunch and beer).
While many concours cars travel in trailers, our crew opted to meet at oh-dawn-thirty and drive to the show. That’s Gary’s roadster, Jesse Nichol’s Clay Slaughter-built pick-up, and Dave Wilkerson’s ’39 woodie.
From fuzzy dice and dummy spots to license plate toppers and laminated dash knobs, accessories have always helped define a car. Unfortunately, some don’t know when to stop. It can turn an otherwise cool car into a rolling curio cabinet.
Then there are guys like Don Triolo. His cars are so subtle that it’s easy to walk right by ‘em. The exquisite craftsmanship, the perfect stance, the flawless finishes; they’re all lost on the unwashed masses. But we know, don’t we? His cars stop us dead in our tracks.
Don’s ’32 Vicky was no exception, and when it rolled into our shop it was sporting just two accessories: a vintage rearview mirror-clock, and a set of original Lions wire wheel covers. When Ford introduced its steel disk wheel in 1936, millions of ’35 and older Ford wire wheels instantly became old hat. For a few bucks, a fellow could walk into Western Auto, buy a set of Lions caps, mount ‘em over his spokes, and be totally current. If they look familiar, it’s because you’ve seen them on the Roy Brizio-restored Vic Edelbrock deuce roadster. They’re ultra-rare, and they’re really handsome.
Don had a third accessory he wanted us to install on his Vicky: a Pines Winterfront grille insert. These inserts feature vertical vanes that can be opened and closed with a control knob mounted under the dash. In cold weather they’re closed to keep your flathead warm and comfortable. When it’s hot, they’re opened to allow free air flow to the radiator. Also extremely rare, they’re the holy grail of Deuce accessories — and they’re priced accordingly.
Adam Barton is a Santa Cruz-based tattoo artist. Extremely talented, he travels the world in pursuit of his craft. He’s also a hot rodder who has owned an impressive succession of traditionally-styled cars. His latest is this full-fendered, flathead-powered ’31 Ford coupe. Adam, screen name xadamx, is a regular contributor to the HAMB. When he first posted photos of his new coupe, he also posed the question “should I chop it?” An overwhelming majority of the respondents cried “leave it alone!” Conformity and herd mentality are obviously not part of his character, so Adam, true to his hot rod roots, launched plans for a haircut.
In our humble opinion, four inches is the ideal chop for these coupes. Any more and the car gets cartoony: the corners of the quarter windows loose their graceful flow, and the proportions begin to look squashed. Any less just isn’t worth all the work. Read more…
In our last post, we’d finished the cuts to Adam’s coupe, freed the top, then temporarily set it back on for a sneak peek at its new profile. We’d put some effort into the layout of our cuts, so the sheet metal came down square and required very little trimming.
Hot rod folklore says Model A chops are easy: just cut ‘em, set the top back down, and weld it all together. Right. Read more…
Quint Meland likes big motors. While his high school peers in Southern California were still messing around with flatheads, Quint dropped a 303 inch Olds V8 in his Model A roadster and went racing. Extremely successful, even as a young gun, his drag racing strategy was brilliantly simple: find out where the big name guys were running — and go somewhere else.
As a pilot in Viet Nam and later with TWA, Quint went on to run bigger engines, but his love of hot rods never let up. Several years ago he acquired the Phil Cool 1978 AMBR roadster. Running a blown L-88, this landmark car was famous for putting the “hot” back in hot rod. It ended a run of silly, over-the-top show cars that had dominated the Grand National Roadster Show for a decade.
Quint Meland’s new Deuce roadster is a tribute, although somewhat more civilized, to the Model A he raced in high school. The car arrived at our shop with a 351 Cleveland motor and a C4 trans. Our first task was to swap in a big 400 inch Oldsmobile and Turbo 400 Quint had built at Mondello Performance. It took a lot of shoehorning, you can see photos here…
When we left off, Gary had started to build the headers. A key part of the tribute, Gary was able to capture the look of the original roadster’s headers, but at a level of craftsmanship appropriate to the new build.
For months we’ve been looking forward to the arrival of Todd Anderson’s roadster. The chassis was built and the body assembled by Erik Hansson in Huntington Beach, using an impressive collection of original Deuce parts Todd has patiently gathered over the years. Our job will be to finish the car.
Obviously, the work is just getting underway – the first punch list is already three pages long — but we’ve got a full head of steam and we’ve completed work on the exhaust, fuel system and steering. Click here, we’ve posted a bunch of recent photos: Read more…
Occasionally we get up off the concrete and out from underneath these cars. A man needs a little perspective, something more worldly than the weekly car-guy caffine-fest at our local Starbucks. Gary spent a few weeks in Amsterdam and Paris, and I took off for Hawaii for some wetsuit-free recreation. The warm, balmy water worked wonders on the kinks I’d accumulated climbing under these hot rods and woodies.
In spite of the time away, we’ve made progress on Todd Anderson’s Deuce roadster. Before heading off to the GoodGuys West Coast Nationals this weekend, I thought I’d share some photos.
In our last post we’d tacked together the headlight bar, then left for a couple days to attend the GoodGuy’s West Coast Nationals. Upon returning to the shop, we still liked the headlight placement, so with Todd’s blessing, Gary welded it up and ground it smooth.
We made another little change at the same time, and it made a big difference. When Todd’s roadster first arrived, we just weren’t feeling the front-wheel-and-brake-drum set-up. We felt there was too much drum exposed, so we swapped the 4 inch wide Coker wheels for a pair of 4 ½ inch wide OEM Ford truck wheels. Check the new wheel and brake combo in the photo below versus the earlier photo below that. An extra half inch of cover made all the difference.
When the car arrived there were also issues with the front suspension. Read more…
Most hot rod guys have the “vision thing.” Before ever picking up a wrench they’ve built their car in their heads. Proportion, stance, wheels and tires, engine and trans, suspension, brakes, color; it’s all been sorted out, over and over, in their daydreams.
For some, there’s an additional component to these fantasies: windshield time. We imagine being in the pilot’s seat, blasting down the road. We imagine how the car will handle, how it will sound, how we’ll feel peering out that chopped windshield.
For me, this woolgathering always seems to take place on Highway 101 through the southern end of the Salinas Valley. The wind is at my back, the road is free of traffic, the vistas are big, the sky is bigger. Our customer Todd Anderson has the same dream, but his takes place on the road to Bonneville. He’s mentioned it several times. We now have him well on his way.
Todd’s roadster went onto a trailer and off to paint a few days ago, but not before a number of details were wrapped up. We thought you might like to see photos. Read more…
Todd Anderson’s chassis is back from the painter. It’s a bitchen shade of dark blue, one of those cools colors that somehow looks vintage and hip at the same time. The axle, bones, backing plates, banjo, etc are all an off-gloss black. The black-and-blue theme led Gary to dub it The Bruiser. An apt name considering the number of times I’ve busted my shins on the frame horns and spindles as I stumble around the shop.
While vintage in appearance and style, the roadster’s traditional components are modern in manufacture. The flathead motor is French, built of new materials with modern tooling in the early 90’s. The heads, intake, carbs and headers are all traditional parts, but also brand new. Read more…
It was a banner day for Todd Anderson’s blue Deuce. In our last post, we’d just brought his freshly-painted chassis back to the shop for final assembly. Today we hauled the completed chassis back to the painter to be reunited it with its deep blue body.
In our last update we posted photos of the taller rear spring we had made. The original spring that came with the rolling chassis had the roadster sitting too low in the rear. Instead of a hot rod stance, the car was a bit of a tail dragger. Here’s the banjo and new spring pack installed, along with the fuel and brake lines. We’re looking forward to seeing a big improvement in the stance, once the body is bolted back in place.
Todd Anderson drops by the shop almost daily now. As we wrap up the build on his roadster he’s begun to share with us his plans for the car: A trip north to Fort Bragg in memory of his wife. A visit to Jerry Helwig’s family — Todd’s motor was the last Jerry built before his passing. Plus a long anticipated pilgrimage to Bonneville with a posse of old friends. It’s all very soulful stuff, this little roadster will be in good hands.
If you’ve been following the car’s progress, you know the parts and pieces Todd brought us were pretty soulful, too. A Deuce heavy axle with an inch and a half “Gentleman’s Drop,” an original grille shell and headlights, a beefy 3.54 banjo built by the Smith brothers out in Nampa, Idaho, and the aforementioned Helwig-built French flathead. Todd likes that traditional early postwar styling, and we do, too.
We’ve covered the flathead in previous posts but here’s another peek. The 25 louver hood, even when closed, gives you a pretty good view of the polished and detailed engine. Side pipes are stainless, straight-thru, and feature just enough baffling to keep the neighbors at bay. Read more…