Defining a lineage of a car that's more than 75 years old isn't always the easiest task. It's rare these days to be able to trace the roots of something that could at best be described as transient. A car is discovered in a barn in rare instances, having slept there for decades, thus making its saga easier to track-or in the case of a historical hot rod or race car, its roots are traced far easier.
For Charlie Dolan of Lincoln, Massachusetts, researching his Deuce roadster's past led him to many talented craftsmen who had a hand in bringing the car to the state it's in today. Charlie's roadster experienced some of the hard life as the decades marched by but had luckily maintained much of its originality by the time it fell into the hands of Jim Maltagliati of South Glastonbury, Connecticut. Jim began gathering vintage steel to build a hot rod many years ago, and he came across an old roadster body that had been channeled in a prior life while searching for parts to build his new soup-job. Having secured the body, Jim then hunted down a rare set of N.O.S. fenders at Hershey, as well as an ultra-clean, stock Deuce chassis to begin his work.
Getting started by first unchanneling the body, Jim brought it back to the factory specs for mounting it to the gennie unboxed chassis, which he had prepared for hitting the road once again with the addition of a Model A front crossmember. Wanting the car to retain a traditional feel, the formula in the suspension department reads like a chapter out of a little book, with a 4-inch dropped Dago front axle matched up with '40 Ford spindles combined with Pete & Jake's tube shocks, while a stock wishbone and an early Ford reversed-eye spring round out the frontend.
Out back, Jim utilized a set of '40 Ford radius rods along with Pete & Jake's tube shocks to help out the early Ford reversed-eye spring. To seal the deal, it was obvious the car needed a Columbia two-speed rearend, along with early '40 Ford binders and a matching master to even out the mix with plenty of available braking. Wanting to be sure the car could command attention in the power department, Jim installed a warmed-over 301-inch small-block mated to a '39 Ford trans loaded with Lincoln Zephyr gears. Rounding out the chassis, it was set to roll on traditional steelies shod with vintage rubber for a period-perfect look.
With only minor revisions needed to the exterior of the body, namely a shaving of the cowl lights and door handles, Jim prepped it for paint and then doused it with a subtle lacquer shade called Robin's Egg Blue. For interior threads, he installed a simple yet tasteful white Naugahyde, complemented by Stewart Warner gauges and a Sun tach, while navigation was commandeered through a vintage Chris-Craft steering wheel.
Jim decided it was time to move onto a new project after motoring the Deuce for a while, and this is where another local rodder, Dave Fiore, stepped into the picture. After negotiating a deal to buy the Deuce from Jim, having admired it for quite some time, Dave's only plans were to ditch the Chevy mill in place of a vintage Flathead. Answering an ad in Wyoming a few years prior for a stout Flathead mill that was built in 1957 for short-track hardtop racing-but was never installed in a car-brought the Deuce just the right V-8 to nail between the 'rails. Filled with new vintage parts, including 4-inch Merc crank, Jahns slugs, and an Isky stick, it was topped with Edelbrock heads and a gang of 97s, with a Harmon-Collins dual-coil ignition lighting the fire.
With the roadster sporting a fresh Flathead, Dave started laying down the miles, until it caught the eye of another seasoned East Coast hot rodder, Charlie Dolan. Well, you know the story . . . another deal was made and the car wound up with Charlie, who had even more plans for it. Bringing the car to East Coast Custom to the care of Dave Simard and his talented team, Charlie wanted to dial in the last few things on the car to make it perfect in his eyes.
Starting with stance, Dave and his team de-arched both the front and rear springs, while plating the entire front suspension, and added plenty of chrome out back, as well. They updated the tire and rim combination to get the rake of the car just right, also redoing the car's dash to change its personality with a different instrument layout. The final yet most striking change to the car came when it was brought to Steve Pierce of One-Off Technologies for its custom Carson-style top. Regular readers will recall the two-part buildup of the actual top for this car, seen a number of months ago in Street Rodder.
Finalizing the revamp, Steve added deep-blue square-weave carpeting to complete the look. This car has evolved over the years into a dramatic yet subtle roadster with a perfect nod to the '50s era, thanks to many talented craftsmen who each brought the car closer to perfection. With Charlie as the lucky keeper of the keys, we think the legacy of the car will continue on with him for decades to come, and that's just plain cool.
Built in 1957 and never used,...
Built in 1957 and never used, the Flathead is loaded with fresh vintage goodies. The '48 Merc block displaces 276 ci and is filled with a '50 Merc crank, Jahns pistons, and an Isky cam. Those Edelbrock heads and intake are topped with a trio of Stromberg 97s.
The original white Naugahyde...
The original white Naugahyde interior, installed by Jim Maltagliati, has held up well over the years. It's now complemented with deep-blue square-weave carpeting by Steve Pierce, who also created the Carson-style top before stitching up the headliner, too. The stock dash has been filled with vintage Stewart Warner gauges, and navigation is handled by a classic Chris-Craft marine steering wheel.