Four Doors and No Top

Four Doors and No Top — seem to be an answer for those of us who want to have some room and yet have the top down for our rides along PCH. There is something about a Hot Rod without a top, theBlue Pacific out one side and the mountains out the other side, that makes you feel your life is complete. My friend Dave has a fleet of convertibles but drives his old trusty 34 Phaeton most of the time. It seems we are cheating ourselves if we can roll up the windows and turn on the air conditioning. My wife likes the windows but also likes a top down evening— if it is still and romantic. Yes, top down Hot Rods can really be cool rides as long as you give them a little flavor.

The 80’s were the time for Phaetons. Deuces and Model 40’s were being built in both steel and fiberglass. Gibbons made the Model 40 and Wescott made the Deuce. Both were popular and some real beauties hit the roads. Families gave their children helmets to wear in the back seat to protect them from the wind and side curtains and wind wings protected the driver and passenger. The demand soon gave way to the Deuce and Model 40 hiboy roadsters. Lobeck built the NSRA giveaway 34 roadster using a Gibbons body and that started another trend, as not many Model 40’s were built without fenders. I for one, like the look when I first saw the Gibbons red version in Columbus. The little additional room plus the lack of similar models really was what I was looking for. The concept didn’t catch on and the Deuce roadster once again became the most sought after open car in our hobby.

Due to the over population of the Deuce roadster, SAR built several Model 40 roadsters and coupes but never a Phaeton model. Brookville teased us a few years ago with a steel version that was put together in the LA area and the Aussie’s brought a steel Model 40 to the LARS. They worked with SRM but that never materialized into a successful model. The demand for a Phaeton is just not there. Multiple Deuce and Model 40 owners have a Phaeton in their collection as they are beautiful examples of a touring car. I have owned 3 Deuce Phaetons, all Wescott bodies and loved every one of them — as long as the front seat was set back 3″. At this time of my life, I am not concerned about what style of open Hot Rod I would like to build, as it all depends on what becomes available in the market place. The four-door open Hot Rod would seem to be a good choice, if one became available. As a long time Hot Rodder, I am always thinking about my next build….sound familiar!

Have a wonderful week dreaming about what you will buy at Hershey!

Stay Tooned!



click on photo for a larger image


We have several Model 40 Phaetons in our area. Here is Dave and his buddy showing off their prizes.


Two different approaches to the rear end treatment. The spare tire and luggage rack is an 80’s style.


I seem to like the high school look when it comes to Phaetons. Loads of fun and very little up keep.


The best buys are complete stock cars and then give them the “Flavor!”


Stock ones are simple beautiful and normally priced around $50-60K.


I am fond of “Old School” ones like the above in the $35-40K range.


This is a local Phaeton but I haven’t seen it in several years. He used to be every where I went. I like the top chopped.


I loved this FJ special and I believe it recently sold for around $60K and needed paint bad.


I saw this 33 Phaeton (my favorite model) at the LARS a few years ago. Nice ride!


Another favorite of mine is this beater.


Skip located a nice ride and built his version of the popular Deuce Phaeton.


Another nice ride is this racy Phaeton .


If you are building one for the National V8 meet in Dearborn then this would be your style. Very stylish!


Sam owns several Deuces and this is Bob Drake’s old Phaeton. Super nice! My style for the 80’s.


An early ride with a heavy chopped windshield. Tonneau covers were/are popular and handy.


Paul didn’t spare any money when he built this winner. The best in my simple mind.


Doug ventures down to the LARS each year in his Deuce Phaeton, ” Whygobuy Garage!”


I love this old style Phaetons with all the neat items installed. Not like Gommi but a similar “Old School” look!


My first encounter with the Phaeton was when Dick built his Aussie model in R&C in 1966. I have all the build photos of his Project Street Rod!


I had Jim build me a Wescott like this one but sold it prior to being transferred to San Francisco. It did not have flames but everything else is the same.


This is a photo of what needs to be moved back 3″ for more comfortable driving. Not hard but body needs to be braced prior to cutting out the back rest. Ask me how I know that!


The back of an American model show the bracing and the the seamed rear panel.


Several Phaetons have become available over the years and the demand wasn’t there to bring a high price like the roadster and coupes did.


I have seen many like this lately and the price seems to be around $20-25K. which I think is reasonable.


Yes, I have to do things the hard way by buying a sedan body, roadster cowl and brookville doors.


I have the skills to make this happen but I can’t seem to become motivated for such as large project at 75 years old.


I have the jig and the parts but lack the drive I used to have. “If they were easy everyone would have one!” My friend Joe Mayall used to tell me that all the time and made me a sign for my desk.


Nick did a lot of metal work on the stock cowl to make it a roadster blending in the tops of the doors. Nice work.


I love the one Nick put together from a sedan. Not sure how a top would look but Thom could do a drawing for me that would start me bending tubing.


I think this would be me even with a Wescott body. I love the look, color and interior.

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