Back in the July '07 issue of STREET RODDER, we ran a sneak peek of Ken Thurm's Deuce pickup alongside his Dearborn Deuce convertible as the two were nearing completion. The majority of fabrication had been done, including the 4-inch chop and 6-inch channel, as well as all the chassis work. The Lil' John Buttera Hawk aluminum Chevy engine was also in place, with a Tremec 600 transmission behind it. Rolling stock was also covered in the form of 15- and 18-inch Halibrand kidney-bean wheels wrapped in Toyo and Mickey Thompson rubber. What hadn't been decided, however, was at what point would the truck be considered finished.
Inspired originally by Jimmy Shine's bare-metal pickup, Ken knew he wanted something that was more utilitarian than a show car-a simple hot rod with all the fat trimmed off. The chop was finished and the metalwork, handled by Jeff Sherman, was knocked straight before the cab and bed were sprayed with simple gray primer. A shortened Deuce grille shell also received the gray primer treatment, flanked by a pair of commercial Deuce headlights. While the chassis was left in bare metal, in homage to Jimmy's hauler, a number of the suspension components were either sprayed, polished, or chromed.
The gray primer treatment of the body and bed, while providing a simple, utilitarian foundation, also helps belie the real eye-catcher of Ken's Deuce pickup: the six-carbed, Lil' John Buttera Hawk aluminum Chevy engine. Left over from Lil' John's Indy days, the 412ci mill is the epitome of perfection when it comes to unusual hot rod powerplants. A Taylor Vertex electronic ignition mag continues the hot rod/race car vibe. Modified steel Chevy valve covers are fitted with early Oldsmobile spark plug wire separators, and custom headers expel the spent exhaust gases either straight out the uncorked headers or through a pair of stainless mufflers.
To handle the suspension chores, Ken opted for a traditional buggy-spring frontend with a 5-inch dropped Magnum axle hung on hairpin radius rods. SO-CAL Speed Shop hidden disc brakes bring everything to a stop while a Unisteer steering box handles the steering chores. Out back, a Halibrand Champ rearend hangs off a de-arched Model A spring with Goodyear airbags offering ride-height adjustability. Monroe Sensi-Trac shocks smooth out the bumps, while Buick finned drum brakes provide the stopping power.
Inside the confined pickup cab sits a modified Glide Engineering bench seat covered with a Mexican blanket, which sports the only piece of stitching found throughout the cab. A trio of Classic Instruments gauges sits in the stock Deuce dash, while a matching tach mounts off the custom steering column. A drilled Bell four-spoke steering wheel and matching custom shifter finish off the interior appointments.
With no plans to paint the truck anytime soon, Ken has been busy enjoying his newfound freedom so many street rod enthusiasts have experienced lately, thanks to the rise in popularity of homebuilt and traditionally styled hot rods. Bringing the hobby back to its roots enables many of us to enjoy the things that attracted us here in the first place, and working hard to build your hot rod and being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor without having to worry about DustBusting your door panels or applying Armor All to your tires is what it's all about.
What appears to be a typical small-block Chevy is actually an old Lil' John Buttera Hawk a
The sparse interior sports a trio of Classic Instruments gauges on a Deuce dash and a cust
Finned Buick-style drums are found at all four corners, the rears over a standard 9-inch d
A spun-aluminum fuel tank is underneath the tilt-up bed behind the pickup cab.
The business end of the air-suspension system is beneath the bed floor, behind the tailgat