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.
Kevin started with a 302ci...
Kevin started with a 302ci Ford Motorsports block before Gary Clark stuffed it full of go-fast goodies, yielding a 331ci small block.
A So-Cal Speed Shop gauge...
A So-Cal Speed Shop gauge panel houses a sextet of Stewart-Warner gauges in the middle of the Brookville Deuce dash. Steering column and wheel are '39 Ford-style courtesy of LimeWorks Speed Shop.
Gabe Lopez and his crew at...
Gabe Lopez and his crew at Gabe's Street Rods Custom Interiors fabricated the bench seat to better fit the confines of the roadster before covering it in antique mahogany leather.
The Brookville body was massaged by the crew at SO-CAL Speed Shop before it was painted in-house by Mick Jenkins and his crew in 1931 Ford Lombard Blue. The Brookville grille received similar treatment, as did the hood top and custom louvered hood sides. Once the paint was dry, cut, and buffed, the body and sheet metal pieces were mated to the chassis and the SO-CAL Speed Shop bull nose, headlights, '39 Ford tail lights, chopped windshield posts, and other odds and ends were bolted on. From there, the car was sent down the road to Gabe's Street Rods Custom Interiors were Gabe Lopez and his team fabricated a custom bench seat and panels before covering them with antique mahogany leather purchased from the Hide and Leather House in Napa, California. The floor received German square weave tan carpet with matching leather piping. Back at SO-CAL Speed Shop, a set of Stewart-Warner gauges were placed in a SO-CAL Speed Shop aluminum insert and installed in the `32 dash, fronted by a LimeWorks banjo-style steering wheel and column that mate to a Vega steering box. Completing the cockpit's accoutrements is a tan LeBaron Bonney soft top to keep the interior dry regardless of the weather.
By studying the cars built when hot rodding was in its infancy and keying in on the aesthetics of those early cars, Kevin was able to avoid making those mistakes commonly made by many a newcomer to the hot rodding hobby. He was able to decide what he liked in particular when it came to a certain build style, the parts that made up said style, and the guys involved today who build cars that emulate that style. The resulting car is a study in contemporary traditionalism.
|F A C T S & F I G U R E S |
|Kevin Washburn |
|Burlingame, California |
|1932 Ford highboy roadster |
|Frame / Manufacturer ||step-boxed ’32 Ford / SO-CAL |
| ||Speed Shop (Pomona, CA) |
|Wheelbase ||106” |
|Modifications ||pinched nose |
|Chassis plumbing ||SO-CAL Speed Shop |
|Rearend / Ratio ||Currie 9” / 3.25:1 |
|Rear suspension ||transverse spring, SO-CAL Speed |
| ||Shop ladder bars, Pete & Jake’s |
| ||(Peculiar, MO) shocks |
|Rear brakes ||drum |
|Front suspension ||Chassis Engineering (West |
| ||Branch, IA) axle, transverse |
| ||spring, SO-CAL Speed Shop |
| ||hairpins, Pete & Jake’s shocks |
|Front brakes ||SO-CAL Speed Shop disc |
|Master cylinder ||Wilwood (Camarillo, CA) |
|Steering box ||Vega |
|Wheelcovers ||’40 Ford Deluxe |
|Front wheel make, size ||Wheel Vintiques (Fresno, CA), 16x6” |
|Rear wheel make, size ||Wheel Vintiques, 16x7” |
|Front tire make, size ||Firestone bias ply, 550x16” |
|Rear tire make, size ||Firestone bias ply, 750x16” |
|Make ||Ford |
|Displacement ||331ci |
|Machining / Assembly ||Gary Clark @ Clark’s Auto & |
| ||Marine Machine Shop |
| ||(Burlingame, CA) |
|Cooling fan ||SPAL electric, 16” |
|Radiator ||Walker Cobra Z (Memphis, TN) |
|Heads ||Edelbrock (Torrance, CA) |
| ||Performer RPM, aluminum |
|Manifold / Induction ||Edelbrock Performer Rpm Air- |
| ||Gap, aluminum |
|Ignition / Wires ||MSD M6A (El Paso, TX) |
|Headers ||Sanderson (South San Francisco, CA) |
|Exhaust / Mufflers ||Magnaflow (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) |
|Make ||Richmond 5-speed |
|Shifter ||Hurst (Chatsworth, CA) & Lokar |
| ||(Knoxville, TN) |
|Body style / Material ||’32 Ford roadster / steel |
|Body manufacturer ||Brookville Roadster (Brookville, |
| ||OH) |
|Hood ||louvered Rootlieb (Turlock, CA) |
|Grille ||Brookville Roadster w/ SO-CAL |
| ||bullnose |
|Bodywork ||Mick Jenkins @ SO-CAL Speed |
| ||Shop |
|Paint type / Color ||PPG / Lombard Blue |
|Painter ||Mick Jenkins @ SO-CAL Speed |
| ||Shop |
|Headlights / Taillights ||SO-CAL Speed Shop |
|Dashboard ||Brookville Roadster |
|Insert / Gauges ||SO-CAL Speed Shop / Stewart- |
| ||Warner |
|Heater ||Vintage Air (San Antonio, CA) |
|Steering wheel ||’39 Ford reproduction |
|Steering column ||LimeWorks Speed Shop |
| ||(Whittier, CA) |
|Seats ||custom by Gabe Lopez @ Gabe’s |
| ||Street Rods Custom Interiors |
| ||(San Bernardino, CA) |
|Upholsterer ||Gabe Lopez @ Gabe’s Street |
| ||Rods Custom Interiors |
|Material / Color ||antique mahogany leather |
|Carpet ||German tan square weave |