The engine is a special Roush 289, built by Heath Lockard using a billet crankshaft, Crower titanium rods, custom Wiseco aluminum pistons, a COMP Cams bumpstick, and cast-iron World Products heads (ported, of course) set up with Scorpion roller rockers and hydraulic lifters.
Custom aluminum valve covers, milled with the Spencer2 logo, were also made for the small-block, and a dual-plane aluminum manifold helps the twin Holley 4160 carbs feed the beast. Spark comes from an early Mallory ignition (with a mechanical tach drive) and Taylor wires, while exhaust exits through custom stainless headers (stepped from 1 5/8- to 1 3/4-inch), 3-inch stainless tubing, and a pair of Magnaflow mufflers.
Though Doane had intended the exhaust to exit through the frame as his first roadster did, Pete knew the engine wouldn't work at its true potential without a proper exhaust and muffler system with tips out the rear, so he combined both setups. Under the floor and next to the trans, the exhaust comes to a "Y," where it can either flow through the mufflers and out the back, or get rowdy by exiting through the frame pipes. Each frame pipe is corked with a small cap, which is actually a '34 Cadillac gas cap fitted with a butterfly lock that holds it in place-very trick.
The motor was dyno'd before it left Lockard and produced 405 hp at 5,500 rpm, with 403 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm. Doane did have a chance to work on the '68 Ford four-speed Toploader, and went as far as to fabricate a special external pump to deliver oil to the transmission as well as rifle-drill all of the trans' internal shafts. A larger gearset was also installed, and the custom rearend Doane had cast uses a Dana 44, 3.5 ratio with a Detroit Locker, and the half-shafts and CV joints come from a late-model Porsche.
SO-CAL's bodyman, Jesus Salas, and painter, Mick Jenkins, then started receiving the parts and pieces and began to meticulously perfect and prepare them all before the PPG black paint was applied. As with most vehicles, the interior is about the last part to be finished, so much of what is seen came from Pete's thoughts on how he believed Doane would have finished his car.
The cockpit still had to have Doane's signature, so the basic design (engine-turned dash, saddle-colored leather, etc.) came from the original roadster. But from there, Gabe's Custom Auto Interior combined the look of an early Ferrari with traditional hot rod style to complete the picture. You don't immediately notice the flip lids in each door used to gain access to a small pouch for papers or the flip-down armrest tucked into the bucket/bench seat, but that's the idea: subtle and clean. The DJ safety belts hint at a road-racing heritage, while the slight curve to the custom shifter allows a little extra room for the driver's leg to mash down on the accelerator. Gabe's also laid out the light brown square-weave carpet, finishing its edges with the same leather used in the seat and door panels.
The stainless, engine-turned dash panel is simple in its presentation-just four SO-CAL speed knobs (two located to the far left, the others on the far right) enhanced with the S2 logo plus four large-face gauges. But these aren't just any gauges. As far as Pete has found, they're the only set like them. Restored by Terry Seaholm, Pete believes the Stewart Warner script gauges are of a commercial variety, and feature a 120-mph speedo and an 8,000-rpm tach. The other two gauges are split gauges, with one function on top with another below (oil and amps in one, water temp and fuel in the other).
What looks like a simple '40s-era steering column is actually a spring-and-lever-operated tilt column, with a four-spoke aluminum wheel from Mike Lempert that features bubinga and ebony wood trim. The DuVall windshield is a signature Spencer item (he reportedly had the second one ever made on his first roadster), and it was chromed by Sherm's Plating-the same company that did all of the roadster's chrome work.
Before his death in 1995, Doane asked Darrell that the roadster be shown at the Grand National Roadster Show-and his wish was granted, as Dennis and SO-CAL displayed the car in all its glory at the 2007 GNRS, completely disassembled so folks could view each piece of the masterpiece. Four weeks later, the car had been assembled and was shown at the Petersen Automotive Museum's Deuce Day event in Los Angeles.
A month after, Pete got the chance to take the Spencer2 out on its initial shakedown runs, and came back amazed-and that's saying something for a guy with Pete's history to come back stunned. He reports he's "never driven a car like this. It's 180-degrees different from anything else I've driven. It's so comfortable and so quick in the steering. It's not for drag racing, but more for cruising at 140 mph. The old man really had something going on."
Pete is convinced if Doane hadn't sold his first roadster in the '50s, it would have eventually turned out like the Spencer2 car. Doane died at 73 from cancer, and he knew his time was limited-and it's one of the reasons he worked so hard on getting what he could done on the roadster. But faced with the same destiny, we wonder who among us would take up building a hot rod knowing full well it would be the last thing worked on. But masterpieces are defined by their ability to stand the test of time, and the Spencer2 roadster is a work of art that will always be a fitting legacy to the brilliance of its creator.