HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES ON 101!

’32 Fords flock the Zaca Creek Golf Course fairway for the Deuces On 101 Inaugural Car Show. CGC’s Jim Palam runs the numbers: 3+2 = ‘10-out-of-10.’ Let’s check his math.

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES WILD!Henry Ford didn’t like the numbers. The Great Depression and higher horsepower competitors like Chevrolet had broken his monopoly of the American automotive industry. So he decided to double-down: 1932 would be the year to introduce the Model B and Model 18 – and Ford’s new V8 motor – to lead the cylinders war and fire-up sales. It was a bold but problematic move as Ford’s early V8 Flatheads had issues that would deplete manufacturing funds and challenge some of his best engineers. By March of 1932 17 new Ford models were introduced – 34 if you factored the choice between 8 and 4 cylinder models. By the end of the year overall North American sales were just over 300,000 units, well short of Henry’s million and a half goal. Henry would’ve been proud to see the turnout at HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES ON 101!

While many consider Henry Ford a visionary, he certainly did not foresee the explosive growth of hot rod culture beginning in the late 1940s, and the pinnacle position that the ’32 Ford “Deuce” holds to this day as the perfect hot rod. So it was with considerable car guy enthusiasm that I headed over to Zaca Creek Golf Course in Buellton, CA to check out local businessman & Deuce owner Steve Lykkens’ inaugural Deuces On 101 show. Rumor was that there would be at least 100 bitchin’ Deuces on the course’s fairway. By 9:01 AM on the 12th of October, there were 156. Had there not been a freeway-closing fire in Los Angeles that number would have been higher. Let’s check out some of the cars that helped earn this inaugural show a 10-out-of-10 rating by many of the participants.

It wasn’t the first Deuce I saw but it was the first I cut across car rows to photograph. Better than an orange & cream Popsicle, David Bethhard’s sweet ’32 roadster, top, has all the right toppings: Rochester two-barrel Six-Pack induction crowns a 327 Chevy. Celestial ’54 Olds Fiesta hubcaps are ringed with orange metal and white rubber. Orange flames breathe out from louvers across its tantalizing body. This isn’t dessert, it’s love!

You can find hot rod engine setups that shine more and cost more, but these six Rochester two-barrel carbs (as used on J-2 Olds engine) – capped with vintage Cal Custom louvered-chrome air cleaners – was all it took to start a hot rodder drooling. Sun rays dancing across finned Corvette valve covers and the Mercedes Cream engine bay paint set a dramatic and delectable mood.

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES WILD!I had just parked my truck off the entrance road for the golf course when I heard a low rumble. I scrambled up an earthen berm just in time to grab a somewhat shaky picture of these parading Deuces making an early entry into the show. Eight more ‘32s followed behind. As they drove by I remembered this quote: “Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.”

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES WILD!Over the years I’ve heard many stories about the history of painted flames on hot rods. I like the one where belched-fire artwork was first introduced by returning WWII fighter pilots who had cockpit memories of real flames emitting from the cowls of their aircraft. William Taylor’s flaming Deuce is certainly no P-51 Mustang or P-40 Warhawk, but it is nonetheless, a mighty, mean machine.

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES WILD!One of my top picks from Deuces On 101 is Chick Koszis’ “Looks Fast When Parked” Roadster. Power is delivered to open wheels by a ’57 Chrysler 392 Hemi producing 525 horsepower and 485 foot pounds of torque to a Winters Quick-Change rear. I love the wind-whipped, 4-into-1 flared headers that are cleverly baffled to route the exhaust below the car and out the rear. Featured in both Hot Rod and Street Rodder magazines, this wicked, all-steel Brookville bodied Deuce is a hard-run, fully enjoyed driver.

While Henry Ford was obsessed with all things mechanical and financial in his empire, he left the styling chores for the 1932 models to his son Edsel, who brilliantly enlisted Eugene T. “Bob” Gregorie to help design the timeless Deuce. Terry Stoker owns this sublime three-window coupe. It was built in 1959 and is powered by a ’58 Chevy Impala 348-inch motor.

God is in the Details. I’m not sure it was divine intervention that made Brian Medlin choose a Sid Chavers removable “Bop-Top” for his impeccable, metallic green roadster. Let’s just say that in the Deuce World, details matter. The metallic paint is from the 2010 Jeep color book, and the “Cool Slot” open flow-through glass window is one of the more recent Bop-Top custom options.

Eugene T. "Bob" GregorieWhen I photographed Al Vonderworth’s sinister black Roadster I wanted to draw attention to the air scoop that sits atop the 6-71 blower on the car’s 392 Hemi. But then I noticed the Jokers car club plaque. Seems that back in Mill Valley, CA in 1956, Al was one of the founding members of this prankster club that now has members worldwide. At least 16 Bay Area Jokers drove down to Buellton to participate in the inaugural show.

Eugene T. "Bob" GregorieAnother top pick of mine from Deuces On 101 was Maryann and Henry Rossi’s M&H Special roadster. Every time I look at this fabulous two-tone Deuce I think of spats and tuxedos. White spats were vintage shoe and ankle covers that became a sartorial signature of elegance and privilege. The 410 horsepower Rossi roadster looked race-ready on the fairway, where it was parked next to Greg Rawls’ yellow ’32. I should mention that the natty Rossi roadster is more than a show car, it’s a driver with 62,000 miles on its odometer.

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES WILD!Jerry Friedrich traveled up and over from Santa Paula with his grandson (standing passenger side) and his grandson’s buddy to roll his period correct, beautifully detailed Flathead roadster onto the fairway. Jerry’s a friendly, hard-working avocado farmer who somehow finds time to pursue his passion for vintage hot rods.

A hopped-up, Vertex-sparked ‘50 Ford 8BA Flathead powers the Friedrich roadster. The open engine compartment shows off a set of chromed, 21-stud vintage Sharp heads. Two Strombergs sit atop a vintage, Eddie Meyer manifold. Attention to detail is evident throughout this beautifully presented Deuce.

Including Standard Roadster and De Luxe Roadster models, Ford made just 12,597 roadsters in 1932 – which includes 8 and 4 cylinder cars. Even factoring in the large number of steel body and fiberglass body replicas that have been produced for decades, it’s still something of a rarity to see a Deuce roadster on the road. Deuces On 101 provided a unique opportunity to get up close to some of the best ones around – including Ray Thompson’s Meadow Green and beige, 409-powered Highboy.

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES WILD!I’ve never owned a Deuce, but I did build a ’32 Model B Ford from an AMT plastic model kit! I painted it Sapphire Blue Metalflake and if memory serves me well, it kinda looked like the color of Tony Jurado’s real-deal ’32. This shot of the car’s interior, with AutoMeter version of classic S-W tach and Auburn gauge panel, shows how nice chrome parts and trim enhance the tranquil appeal of this classic hot rod interior.

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES WILD!Craig Watanabe drove up to Deuces On 101 from Santa Barbara in his ’32 Highboy roadster. Popular Bonneville-style custom wheels are from American Racing. A low canvas top points down to meet a raked windshield, lowering the overall side profile for an open-wheel Lakester look. A single amber fog light suggests this stealth machine is ready for duty in all kinds of weather.

No, it wasn’t a result of Trump’s Canadian and Mexican tariff deal that Canadian Robert Di Pietro brought his classic American hot rod to Deuces On 101. It’s more that Robert is living part of the time in Arroyo Grande, CA now – and if there’s a hot rod or roadster show within a day’s drive – he’ll be there in his turquoise ’32 Ford. It features a neat interior, representative of classic 1950s-1960s custom styling.

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES WILD!Keith & Misty VanderMeulen own and operate IMAGE Street Rods and Customs in Santa Maria, CA. They’ve been steadily building a strong reputation for their custom frames, parts and builds. Keith’s bright, Lotus Yellow ’32 Ford phaeton started life as a 4-door but got all low, lean and mean. It’s now a Chevy powered 2-door – rolling on a custom IMAGE chassis. Forged-aluminum Budnik wheels reduce weight and add strength. Keith’s custom top features a sliding rear window for improved ventilation.

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES WILD!A functioning 300 horsepower 350 Chevy takes front position on a custom IMAGE Street Rods and Customs chassis. Combining Jaguar suspension components and custom IMAGE parts, this Silver Mist roller is a true piece of art. Nothing was off-the-shelf – including the motor’s unique, space-saving, power-boosting rectangular-tube headers. You can learn more about IMAGE by visiting http://imagestreetrods.com/index.php#

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DUECES WILD!Deuces On 101 had a great inaugural launch thanks in great part to the vision and efforts of Santa Ynez Valley businessman and ardent Deuce fan Steve Lykken. I had seen Steve many times before, rolling across the Valley in his bright red roadster, but little did I know that he and his family would be on the fairway with seven beautiful Lykken Deuces. As they say, you just can’t get enough of a good thing. Here are three of the seven at HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES ON 101!

I decided to end this report by showing one of the show’s cars that perhaps best represents the beginning of the Deuce era – Pete Von Iderstine’s ‘32 Model B De Luxe Tudor – unchanged, unwashed, as it might have looked back in the day, after years of hard use. Pete was telling the story of this very common but very rare four-cylinder model to a father and his young daughter who were attending the show. “I will never wash it, I will never change it. I can’t. It’s history.”

HOT ROD HEAVEN: DEUCES ON 101! words & photos: Jim Palam, https://jimpalam.com/

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