There are probably as many reasons to build a car as there are cars on the road. Be it reliving your high school years, buying the car you always wanted, or seeing a hot rod in a magazine decades ago and only now (being able to afford one) can you jump into the mix and build one for yourself or have one built. But some folks have lived with hot rods all their life-just as Bob Reed has.
If the name is familiar, it's with good cause. Facets of Bob's life are well-documented, from the blue four-door Deuce (chopped only 1 inch) with an aluminum small-block topped with a 6:71 blower that was featured in STREET RODDER back in the mid '80s, to the Ridler-winning Khrome Shoppe Special coupe that helped usher the smoothie look into the street rodding world back in 1984.
The foundation of Bob Reed's...
The foundation of Bob Reed's hot rod was assembled at D&D Specialty Cars in Van Buren, AR, using a chassis from Pete & Jakes, Coker/Firestone-wrapped ET III wheels, and a Bob Reed-built 425 Buick Nailhead motor. (Photo by Josh Mishler.)
But Bob's history goes back much farther, as he was he appointed the NSRA's Oklahoma State Rep in 1971 (he recently received his 40-year pin from the organization). His wife, Deanna, helped with event registration back at the Memphis gathering in 1971, and the pair are of only a handful of people who have attended every Street Rod Nationals since the first one in Peoria 40 years ago. The '40 Chevrolet four-door Bob and Deanna drove to that event in 1971 is still in their garage in Poteau, Oklahoma, alongside a great cross-section of vehicles (including a '34 three-window he bought from Don Pilkington back in 1984, a 427 FE-powered '56 Ford Customline, a Hemi-powered '63 Plymouth, and an LS2-equipped '50 Olds 88) that showcases Bob's love of anything hot rod.
So it might not be too big of a surprise to find out his latest ride, a 1932 Ford sedan, debuted at last year's NSRA Street Rod Nationals as one of a select group of cars in the Builder's Showcase area. But the story of how it was built is interesting in how it started: with an engine. Bob had wanted a Buick Nailhead to power a hot rod and bought a few of the engines in order to get the best possible candidate for the build. Once he finished assembling the engine, he began looking for something to wrap around it.
D&D Specialty Cars had their...
D&D Specialty Cars had their hands full when Bob brought them a '55 Olds dash he'd found and wanted it installed in the much narrower Deuce cockpit. Bob's Speedometer reworked the gauges, and a Vintage Air A/C system went in, as did a Ron Francis wiring kit and an Impala steering wheel bolted to an ididit column. The bucket seats were stitched up in dark brown leather at D&D, too.
For many years Bob has depended on D&D Specialty Cars, an Arkansas-based hot rod shop that features the talents of two brothers, Dale and Denny Johns. The Johns have been into building hot rods in Van Buren since the mid-'80s, and even built a custom Volkswagen convertible for ZZ Top's Billy F. Gibbons in that timeframe as well. Having a customer who returns to have other cars built is always a good sign of a working relationship and D&D has, over the years, worked with Bob on several of his projects.
It just so happened D&D had a four-door Deuce they were preparing to build, though in a different direction than what Bob was looking for, as D&D usually builds cars with a more contemporary styling. But once the concept was ironed out between them, Bob let the brothers go on the project, and he visited the shop only a few times during its construction. D&D approached the build with an eye on the traditional, but updating and customizing a few items along the way. The chassis, from Pete & Jakes, is set up on a wheelbase of 112 inches, but portions were both pinched and stretched to conform to what they were going to do with the body. A Currie 9-inch rear went it with coilover shocks and a set of Wilwood disc brakes, while up front a dropped axle, another set of coilovers, a set of hairpins, and another pair of Wilwood discs were used, too. ET III Gasser wheels, 16x4 were shod in ribbed Coker Firestone 500-16 rubber while the rear 16x6.50 Fueler wheels were wrapped in grooved Coker 820-16 skins.