Since I’m approaching my 75th birthday this Friday, I thought I would take a look back at some of the Deuces I remember from those early days when I was a Deuce only lover. I grew up in Decatur, IL and Deuces were very scarce but we had enough to whet my appetite. My good friend Mike had a top of the line show car five-window coupe that I used to drool over every time he would bring it over to my house. I worked at Piggy Wiggly and would read all the little pages showing Deuces of all models. I couldn’t afford a Deuce but in my mind, I knew I would own one someday, when I could afford one. I was still in high school when this passion developed and it would take another few years for my dream to come true. My first Deuce was a running driving five-window that would stay with me for another few years until I came across a completed Deuce three-window that was in the Detroit Autorama in the late 60’s. This car was ready to be driven and the wife and I drove it to Memphis for the NSRA Nationals in 1971. We enjoyed the car for the trip but Jeff Beck made me an offer I couldn’t resist and I was without a Deuce for a short period of time. I purchased a Vicky body and started on a Jaguar suspended chassis to mount the body. My career started to take off and we were transferred to Atlanta so the Vicky was traded for a roadster body which is what I wanted all along. GM wouldn’t move the car parts, so I sold them and purchased a very nice restored Deuce three-window.
The 70’s was the height of the resto-rod period and all I had to do to the coupe was install a 59L flathead, 39 trans, Bell dropped axle and I was in business. My family was expanding and soon the coupe was replaced with a 34 tudor sedan which was perfect for all four of us. My love for a Deuce roadster was still in my heart so I purchased a Wescott roadster body and proceeded to build my roadster. I labored over the roadster for a few months and had the opportunity to purchase a very nice Deuce five-window that was complete. Dan Bowles was the builder and Andy, my good friend, knew the car’s history. It was rust free and ran perfect with a 327-4-speed. I purchased the car and sold the roadster to Joe Smith. I was again transferred to Chicago and took the car with me but the desire for a roadster came back and the coupe went back to Atlanta. I still see it at the Deuce shows. Soon I was transferred to Boston to manage our Truck Center and purchased another Wescott body to build a Lobeck clone. I almost completed it and again I was transferred to Minneapolis and had to sell it to Steve Coonan’s friend in Maryland. My children were now in school and I decided I needed a Deuce phaeton so the whole family could enjoy the hobby of mine. I again ordered a Wescott Phaeton and actually made good progress until I was transferred to Los Angeles to manage our largest store. I convinced GM that if they wanted me in LA they would have to move my cars â€” and they agreed.
The new job did not leave much time for building cars and my family required my attention on the weekends, so I became friends with Boyd and had him build me my dream roadster. I actually purchased two bodies from Wescott just in case I wanted to build my Lobeck style one while Boyd was building one of his full independent chassis for me. These cars take some time to build so I needed something to drive and Boyd would let me drive just about anything he had for sale. The cars he built with his chassis really rode excellent and I was hooked on finishing my roadster. I sold my coupe to him to fund the build. I had several other Deuces at the time, the garage was full so I decided to sell all of my cars and finish the roadster. Boyd gave me a deal but he was still expensive and I soon was looking for a buyer for the roadster. Jerry came along and took over the project and finished the car to become a contender for the AMBR in Oakland in 1992. Dennis Varni won with his Boyd finished 1929 roadster.
Over the years, I have had several more roadsters, all Wescotts, and enjoyed them with my family but as the job became more demanding, I moved on to larger 1940 Fords and 1948 Ford convertibles that were completed or needed a little work. I enjoyed all my cars â€” even if I didn’t build them. My final effort was 1933 roadster, furnished by Wescott, that would take up a couple years of my life and provide some new challenges in retirement. I endured some major back surgeries during this build but I don’t regret accepting the challenge. Age aliments took hold and I sold the project to Terry Stoker who built a show winner and was featured in the last issue of Rod & Custom magazine.
At age 75, I still have the love of the roadster and hope to own another one someday. The 75th milestone being reached is when most folks sit back and watch the cars go by, this is something I can’t accept. I must continue my live’s journey until the fourth quarter is finished and if overtime is required â€” I will still continue seeking my dreams. You see â€” from a small town boy with dreams that know one would ever think could come true â€” did.
Thanks to all the people who helped me along the way and especially my family and friends. I am sincerely grateful to all of you.
My first Deuce upon arriving in Detroitâ€” a decent five-window I drove home.
Here is my first 3-window in Memphis. Jane and I drove from Detroit to Memphis with our friends. Jeff Beck purchased the car from me and had it shipped back to England. I did’t know who he was until later. Nice man.
Here is my next 3-window coupe with engine out. Love the hair and plaid bell bottoms. (Circa 1971)
I finished this with a new 59L block and some borrowed headers from John Fletcher.
My first roadster in 1972 was in pieces in my garage that I sold when transferred to Atlanta.
The car was finished in Canada and was shown in the Detroit Autorama a few years ago.
Atlanta â€” 1973
I had both the Deuce and a nice 34 sedan I built while in Atlanta.
Chicago â€” 1978
Both cars were sold and I purchased another chassis to build a roadster. I was only in Chicago for one year and then was transferred to Boston to manage our Boston store.
While working in Boston, and living in NH, I built my Lobeck clone. Another transfer caused a quick sell but I would love to build another one like Barry’s.
Bill Metz built the QC and I did the chassis in my basement using a Buzz Box in those days. Charlie Jenkins purchased the NOS Halibrands from me.
Minneapolis â€” 1982
I wasn’t in Minneapolis very long but I started the phaeton and moved it to LA. That is snow piled up in the window -12Â°!
My son and I driving my new purchase in MN. The bottom photo is in my driveway in Laguna in January.
Los Angeles â€” 1984
Once in LA I hired Steve Davis to chop the top and do some metal work. The car had no rust or patch panel panels. My son was in the 6th grade.
CSR and Boyd did a lot of modifications after I sold it to Boyd. Walt purchased the car and has since sold it.
Rich left the car with me to sell and my children fell in love with it. A swimming pool took precedence in the end.
Just prior to moving into 1940 Fords my garage was full of Deuces. That is CSR’s delivery on the right.
I also started a Bob Kolmos clone with a Boyd Chassis. Don Thelan purchased the body from me.
Jerry purchased the car when I was transferred to San Francisco to manage the West Coast operations for GMC.
I kept the chassis and had Dan Fink and Geoff build me a hood and rolled pan for the roadster. Lots of talent in Fink’s shop.
I needed room for me children so I purchased this mint sedan from Frank Brown and started another Deuce project. I should have kept this one.
The enhanced photo is the sedan when finished. He still owns the car and drives it everywhere.
San Francisco â€” 1992
While working in San Francisco, I had very little time for cars. Two kids in college and traveling every week, so I sold my project to Edelbrock and Roy Brizio finished it for him. This was a very nice car to begin with.
Thousand Oaks â€” 1996
Here is the stage I completed on this project. Another one I should have kept and finished but Walt made me the care taker of Ruby and Woodies were know at the top of my list.
Terry finished the car and it first went to Denver and then Ray brought it back to LA for a complete redo.
These are just a few of my cars over the years since graduating from College and they all have wonderful memories and stories behind them. My career as a car guy has been more exciting than I ever envisioned in my youth. My father taught me to pursue my dreams, get an education and don’t stop dreaming until they all come true. I had some very important people encourage me along the way and to them I will be ever grateful. Dreams do come true!
It started here when I was four years old taking my best girl for a ride in my Hot Rod!
At 75 I’m still going strong and looking forward to making some more dreams come true.
” Keeping the Flame Burning One Day at a Time!”