Joe Patrico Sr.
Shelby Township, Michigan
1932 Ford roadster
This year the Driven Award, sponsored by Lokar Performance Products, was presented by STREET RODDER Editorial Director and Editor Brian Brennan to the family of Joe Patrico Sr. for their late-father’s immaculate full-fendered ’32 Ford roadster. A longstanding member of the Mill Winders Car Club from Michigan, Joe spent plenty of time building a bevy of hot rods and customs since the mid-’50s. In the early ’70s he answered a local ad for a bone-stock ’32 Ford roadster, which turned out to be the ultimate garage find, however a deal couldn’t be made with the owner. Over a decade passed and he had long forgotten about the car when a similar ad resurfaced. He went to the address, finding the roadster still parked in the exact same spot untouched from when he last saw it. He was finally able to make a deal with the owner’s daughter and hauled his prize home.
Joe immediately disassembled the car with good friend Rich Rivard and began building his ultimate Deuce. The pair boxed the original frame and worked tirelessly assembling a rolling chassis with suspension parts from Lobeck’s V8 Shop, including a triangulated four-link out back, and a 4-inch dropped axle and four-link up front. To capture a ’70s-era feel, a set of Wheel Vintiques 15-inch Rallye wheels topped with BFGoodrich raised white letter rubber gets the message across. For plenty of punch, Joe had Tim Parkin of Marine City, Michigan, assemble a classic 409ci Chevy crowned with a Chevy Tri-power intake (from a 348ci V-8) breathing deep through Rochester carbs. Added dazzle comes from an Edelbrock air cleaner and Moon finned aluminum valve covers. Linked to a TH350 trans, power moves rearward through a Ford 9-inch rear filled with 3.43 gears. Focusing on the unmolested original body, Joe got busy by first completing any required bodywork and then set all the gaps to perfection. Working in his home garage with Dennis Drogash, the pair prepped the Deuce for paint and laid down a lustrous coating of Ferrari Red gloss in the shop’s spray booth. The project then stalled till a few years ago when another good friend, Rich Parks entered the picture, working with Joe to complete the build, which included a traditional gray vinyl LeBaron Bonney interior, gauges from Classic Instruments, black loop carpet, and a stunning white ragtop by Jeff Lemke of Joe’s Upholstery and Customizing in Ubly, Michigan.