The coupe looks tough from...
The coupe looks tough from any angle especially with a perfect stance accented by chrome reverse wheels with bullet caps, a right-on chop, Deuce ’rails, and Model A headlights.
Regardless of whether you are taking on the task of building a diehard traditional hot rod or one with contemporary accents, you need to follow your vision until the end to ensure the sum of the parts will work seamlessly when you’re done. Dave Rodenbaugh, of Baden, Pennsylvania, grew up in an area where there was no shortage of high-performance V-8s tearing up the local streets. Regardless of whether the cars were cruising the strip or lining up for late-night street racing, it was an obvious influence to getting him hooked.
Initially enamored with muscle cars, he owned a number of fire-breathing Chevelles and GTOs until one fateful night when an older acquaintance showed up with a bitchin’ Deuce five-window and took him out for a blast on the ’strip. The coupe was downright wicked, as Dave tells us, fully fendered, un-chopped, and loaded with attitude and a killer rake. From that point on, it was as if muscle cars had never existed since he couldn’t get the vision of the Deuce out of his mind. It wasn’t long after that he took on his first hot rod build while staying true to his hunger for big horsepower, this time in a small package. Since then Dave built a number of traditional T-buckets and T roadsters, however he never forgot the coupe that inspired him to get into hot rods in the first place.
The 468 ci of Rat power nailed...
The 468 ci of Rat power nailed to the chassis is all business and filled with a COMP Cams stick, 10.75:1 pistons, and an Edelbrock dual-quad system. Sparkle from polished aluminum valve covers and lots of chrome accents keeps it show ready.
Originally wanting to build a clone of John Milner’s American Graffiti coupe, he purchased a Deuce chassis and five-window coupe body to get the project rolling. Disappointed with the quality of the fiberglass reproduction body, the buildup came to a standstill while working on other projects. Dave then decided to look for an original Model A coupe body instead and listed the Deuce body on eBay for sale. He received an immediate response from a buyer offering him a complete running ’30 Ford coupe as an even swap. A deal was made and as soon as the Model A landed at his shop, plans began for its reincarnation. Once the car was blown apart it was time to get started by building a traditional spine as a base. Dave placed a call to TCI Engineering for one of their rock-solid ’32 Ford chassis and got busy out back by adding a Ford 9-inch rear filled with 3.00:1 cogs suspended in place by a four-link and Panhard bar, while bumps get sorted by Carrera coilover shocks. Up front with a nod to tradition, a Super Bell 4-inch dropped axle was deftly matched to Super Bell spindles, and polished stainless hairpins, while a Posies front leaf spring and Pete & Jakes tube shocks keep the road smooth. When it was time to tame the beast, a combination of Ford drums out back and Wilwood discs and calipers up front pushing fluid through a dual reservoir master gets the job done. It’s set to roll on a classic combination of Wheel Vintiques 15-inch bigs ’n’ littles chrome reverse wheels capped with Firestone wide whites and dragster cheater slicks out back to set a perfect rake. To complete the chassis, Dave bobbed the rear ’rails and added a custom front spreader bar fashioned from a camshaft.
From the back the coupe is...
From the back the coupe is all business, especially with Firestone Dragster cheater slicks waiting for a workout. The brilliant R-M chrome yellow gloss was laid down by Dave who also did all of the bodywork.
Wanting to add just the right balance of searing horsepower to the mix it was obvious that only a big-block would do to bring this shaker to life. A call was placed to Elmer’s Engines in Wexford, Pennsylvania, to assemble a 468ci Rat starting with a ’72 Chevy block and heads. The team at Elmer’s balanced the crank and rods and machined the block to perfection and followed by adding a COMP Cams roller cam and rockers, along with 10.75:1 slugs. Sparked to life by MSD, plenty of air gets sucked through a pair of Edelbrock 500-cfm carbs perched atop an Edelbrock dual-quad intake while spent gases get dumped through custom lake pipes. Dressed to impress with just enough dazzle and polished aluminum, the big-block nailed to the ’rails is a visual standout. Everyone knows real hot rods have three pedals so gear changes go through a Saginaw four-speed tweaked by John Kunsak of Wexford via a custom driveshaft.
Dave added a Deuce dash filled...
Dave added a Deuce dash filled with Moon gauges to keep track of the vitals while a Bell-styled steering wheel looks era-correct, especially with the column mounted tach. An EZ-Boy interior seals the deal with just enough rolls and pleats.
To give the body just enough attitude; Dave chopped the lid 4 inches followed by filling all the body seams, adding ’48 Ford taillights, a custom rear bumper, and Deuce grille from Brookville Roadster. After massaging the body to perfection making sure all the lines were razor sharp, Dave coated it in a vibrant R-M chrome yellow. Lucky Strike of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, added tasty traditional pinstriping to complete the exterior while Dave got busy inside.
A ’32 Ford dash was filled with Moon gauges while a Bell-styled four-spoke steering wheel helps navigate the course. For seating a Chevy S-10 pickup bench was narrowed and then treated to an EZ-Boy black and white pleated interior kit complete with door panels and black loop carpeting.
The entire build took Dave three years with the help of his wife, Sandy, while working on other projects in the shop. One thing for sure is that he nailed the design of creating a traditional coupe with just enough aggressiveness to make it a wicked street shaker.
Find small problems and fix them before they become big ones
The next time you change your oil, take the time to cut open the filter and examine its contents. There may be a few small pieces of debris, but if you find large chunks of steel or aluminum, you might have a problem worth investigating. Opening an oil filter may be a dirty job, but it can help find small problems before they become large, costly ones.
Is an analog or digital air/fuel meter better?
Choosing between digital and analog air/fuel meters often comes down to personal preference. They are equally accurate and both can be backlit for night viewing. The biggest difference is in price and features. Analog meters tend to be less expensive but have fewer features. FAST Wide-Band Digital Air/Fuel Meters are more expensive than analog versions but have built-in data logging, graphical displays, narrow band simulator functions, and more.
How do I tune my Weber carburetor to fix a stumbling idle?
All Weber induction systems from Ingelse are tuned properly, but you may need to adjust the idle occasionally. This is simply a matter of adjusting the master idling screw. The master screw location varies by system type. However all V-8 and V-6 systems use only two carburetor-mounted speed adjusting screws. You should be able to locate one on each side. Then, it’s just a matter of adjusting the screws in or out to fix your idling issue.