Anniversaries are a lot like birthdays; we all get ’em, but most come and go without a great deal of fanfare. STREET RODDER is celebrating its 40th anniversary (or birthday if you wish) with the May ’12 issue—where were you in 1972?! By awarding the Street Rod of the Year to a most deserving Deuce coupe, SR is honoring our hobby, itself, and the Top 100 Street Rod of the Year (SRY) program.

Doug and Cindy Bredbury hail from Durham, Connecticut. Doug is a tool and die maker by trade but also works with his dad, Dave, at their family run business, Nostalgic Products. All street rods are special and this “specialness” can be directly applied to every car that was awarded a STREET RODDER Top 100 this past year. The Bredbury’s ’32 Ford three-window highboy coupe was spotted at the Goodguys event held in Rhinebeck, New York, by our constantly vigilant East Coast scribe Chuck Vranas, armed with camera, keyboard, and plenty of trail mix!

In celebrating 40 years of STREET RODDER, and entering the third decade of the SRY, the staff wanted a car that represented the core value of our hobby. We were looking for a street rod that featured owner-fashioned work crafted in his own garage, featured a collaboration of vintage hot rod and current industry parts, and is a driver. All of this needed to be wrapped in a street rod that “looked” the part. We have seen plenty of cars and asked ourselves, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” A street rod’s appeal is often part-and-parcel of a proper blend of stance, combination of parts, theme, color, and “attitude” that the car represents. One look at a street rod and it will tell you all you need to know long before the owner can flap his gums. As we looked closely at the ’32 Ford coupe, it spoke volumes about the owner and what’s occurring in street rodding today.

The process began on a conference room table as we looked at photos of all 100 cars. Every street rod we looked at was special (they were selected from thousands of cars at each of their respective events) but we narrowed the list. (You will see on page 28 the fine nine that gave chase for the SRY award, each car in its own right is an outstanding example of what’s happening in our hobby at this time.)

According to Doug, the odyssey began in 1973. Barely a teenager, he had just seen American Graffiti and, it struck a chord as the movie has done with so many hot rodders. While the movie was filled with inspiring “iron,” the two cars of iconic stature are the yellow Deuce coupe belonging to John Milner (played by Paul Le Mat) and the black ’55 Chevy belonging to Bob Falfa (played by Harrison Ford). It was the Deuce coupe that really got Doug thinking about hot rods and began a lifelong devotion to ’32s.

At 16 he was ready to build but at 16 the funds weren’t. So, he began with a ’39 Plymouth pickup for a C-note and together with a $50 ’67 Buick station wagon he was able to mix and match parts. The engine, trans, and rearend came out of the Buick and now rested in the ’39 Plymouth. As Doug says, “It wasn’t a Deuce coupe, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”

In 1993 the urge struck to build another hot rod. Between then and now he built several Corvettes. Not finding a good steel body to work with he opted for a ’glass reproduction. As often happens, once he had the ’glass body in hand it was his dad who found the ’32 coupe at a local site for buying and selling old cars, known as The McGowen Brothers. Doug visited them and immediately knew this was the right project. The price was $17,500 for a solid, original ’32 Ford three-window coupe. That was a lot of money and Doug vacillated on whether to buy it. (By today’s standards that was a hell of a buy!)