When an unseasoned enthusiast comes into our hobby with a very limited knowledge of the history of hot rodding and builds a car to suit his interpretation of what hot rodding is all about, the outcome is often predictable. The resulting car is typically a mish-mash of random parts full of conflicting build styles that spans the better part of the last four decades. But when Kevin Washburn was introduced to the hot rodding world at the tender age of 60 and shortly thereafter decided to build a Deuce roadster, he was all too aware of this typical scenario and got to work quickly to dispel the rumor that you can't teach old guys new tricks.
A lawyer by trade, a Porsche and Audi salesman by day, and an all-around automotive aficionado by nature, Kevin grew up in Eastern Washington on a farm helping his father fix implement equipment. Learning to drive on the farm well before the legal age, Kevin was struck with the car bug before he even set off for college. And by the time his career was in full swing, he had wrenched on more early Porsches than you can shake a stick at, including his current '58 356 A coupe. But a chance trip to the Grand National Roadster Show when it was still being held in the California Bay Area tipped the scales slightly and Kevin soon turned his attention to the hot rod world. Enthralled with the minimalism that abounded in the hobby, Kevin was quickly drawn to the clean lines and sports car-like aesthetic of the early roadsters. He immersed himself in the books by Don Montgomery and soaked up the history of early hot rodding from the dry lakes to the street, like a sponge. He attended SEMA and the LA Roadsters Show year after year, meeting guys like Alex Xydias and Pete Chapouris of SO-CAL Speed Shop and Roy Brizio of Roy Brizio's Street Rods, taking with him a wealth of knowledge on the idiosyncrasies of the hot rodding hobby. Confident of his knowledge in the subject matter, Kevin purchased a dropped and drilled axle, the first part in what would become his first hot rod roadster.
Impressed by their rich history at the dry lakes and Bonneville as well as their attention to detail when it comes to building traditionally-minded hot rods, Kevin decided to pay the crew at SO-CAL Speed Shop a visit to see if they couldn't iron out a plan to build Kevin's roadster. What they came up with was a standard foundation that the shop has built countless hot rods from; a SO-CAL Step-Boxed '32 Ford chassis coupled with a Brookville '32 Ford roadster body. That axle Kevin had been hanging onto was soon hung off the front crossmember via a transverse leaf spring and SO-CAL Speed Shop hairpins. Wilwood disc brakes were hidden inside a SO-CAL Speed Shop finned drum, capable of providing ample stopping power for the light highboy. Out back, the rolling responsibilities are handled by a Currie-built Ford 9-inch rearend hung on a transverse spring like the front and located by a pair of Pete & Jake's ladder bars. Wheel Vintiques '40 Ford-style steelies reside at all four corners, shod in Firestone bias plies, 550/16s up front and 750/16s out back.
Kevin liked the idea of putting a Ford in a Ford so when it came time to select the drivetrain components, he contacted Ford Motorsports and Gary Clark at Clark's Auto and Marine Machine Shop where they came up with a potent blue oval engine. Using a Ford Motorsports Sportsman 302ci block, Gary Clark opened up the bore slightly and installed an Eagle Specialty Products crank with a 3-inch stroke to up the displacement to 331 ci. A set of Edelbrock Performer RPM heads were then mounted on to the block topped with a matching Edelbrock intake and carb. An MSD ignition system ignites the incoming charge, which is expelled through a pair of Sanderson headers and out the SO-CAL Speed Shop-fabricated exhaust.