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 Bredbury will be wearing his letterman-style jacket with a great deal of pride and be
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 vintage 348 (circa-1959) sports Offenhauser valve covers and a Hunt mag and Taylor wir
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.
Resting on top of the Offy intake is a full complement (six of them!) of Rochester 2G carb
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!)
According to Doug the coupe had been hot-rodded at some point in its life. After some investigation he noted that the coupe showed at one time it was gold, blue, and then the then-current black with flames. The body had all its fenders, was unchopped, sported a small-block Chevy (327), an automatic, and parallel leafs in the rear. Dave, as all good fathers should do, continually whispered into his son’s ear that he should get the coupe. After a week of encouragement Doug bought the car.
Fast forward a few years and it’s 1995 and the build begins in earnest, incorporating an original frame. As happens so often, he discovered that this frame was just too far gone; next up a set of American Stamping (ASC) framerails.
The 4-inch dropped, drilled, and chromed Magnum I-beam is anchored by SO-CAL Speed Shop fa
According to Doug, “My original intent was to use a small-block Chevy with a four-speed, but as luck would have it, a friend told me about a 348 for sale. When I got the engine, it looked so nice I changed the fluids, and it fired right up. When the time came to rebuild the engine, I found out that the engine had very little wear, and didn’t even need to be bored. As I was building the car, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted a five-speed, so I replaced the Muncie with a Tremec TKO-500.” The five-speed would eventually be outfitted with a Hurst shifter, a Zoom clutch, and an aluminum driveshaft by Denny’s Driveshaft.
As was mentioned during the early days of STREET RODDER and street rodding, in the ’70s, Jag rearends were common and, of course, thought to be very high tech. Rodders would drive their cars more often and longer distances. Couple this with the idea of having something “trick” that would also provide a more comfortable ride and it couldn’t be passed up. Doug found a Jaguar XKE IRS equipped with 4.11 gears and a limited-slip differential in the late ’70s. He didn’t know when or in what he would use the IRS but thought it a good idea to keep it around. It didn’t take long once the current project began that the Jag IRS would find a home. It’s now fitted with Aldan coilover shocks and Wilwood disc brakes. The rear wheels are magnesium (originally intended for racing) American five-spoke 8-1/2-inch-wide Torq-Thrusts wrapped with Coker Tire whitewall Firestone 10x15 cheater slicks. Coker also supplied the whitewall front rubber measuring 15x5.60 on 15x4 magnesium Americans. Although you will find it difficult to see, Doug made his own stainless steel lug nuts.
The 4-inch dropped, drilled, and chromed Magnum I-beam is anchored by SO-CAL Speed Shop fa
The front suspension is housed around a Magnum 4-inch dropped, drilled, and chromed I-beam axle using a mono leaf spring and Magnum spindles and steering arms, which work with a Vega box. Braking comes through a SO-CAL Speed Shop polished and as-cast Buick finned brake drums that act as a housing for the real stopping power—Wilwood Dynalite disc brake calipers.
The ’59-era Chevy 348 as mentioned earlier was in great shape and required little when Doug tore it down. However, being a true street rodder now was the time to install some goodies to make the W-motor rumble. Ross Pistons 11.25:1 slugs were positioned with Hastings rings, and Clevite bearings. However, some good old-school names like Isky for the camshaft, Offy for the intake and valve covers, Joe Hunt for the mag, and Rochester for a box full of 2G carbs bring the 348 to life and also give it plenty of attitude. The Jet Hot–coated homemade headers along with 2-1/2-inch stainless exhaust runs through the Stainless Specialties mufflers. Cooling is handled by a Walker Radiator Works copper cooler, a SPAL electric fan, and a Chevy water pump.
The original fenders were bobbed, yielding an unmistakable East Coast look. The wheels are
The Ford three-window coupe featured more of Doug’s handiwork in the top chop. The A-pillars had 3-1/2 inches removed and leaned back (negating the need to lengthen the roof), while the rear of the top was chopped 3 inches. (Doug tells us that he always liked the look of the Doyle Gammell ’32 coupe; not a bad choice!) The original fenders were bobbed and he made a die to form the bead around the edge where the fenders were cut. He also used lead rather than a modern plastic filler during the bodywork process, and replaced the wood with steel; particularly to allow the door hinges to be securely anchored. Other original ’32 items include the hood, grille shell, and insert.
Doug massaged the body and then readied it to accept the DuPont custom mix maroon color. When it came time to paint he needed more space and not wanting to fill the house with paint fumes, as the garage is under the house, it was back to his place of work. (Good idea!) The pinstriping came by way of The One Armed Bandit—Charlie Decker.
The Glide bench seat frame was covered by Vintage Motorcars using black leather with maroo
The headlights and taillights are both home brew. The Bob Drake front buckets were sandblasted and painted, eventually propped on a pair of homemade magnesium headlight stands that feature built-in turn signals and internal wiring. The taillights are custom-built teardrops made to look like those on a ’39 Ford but in actuality slightly smaller so that they fit in the lower panel on a three-window. More Bob Drake items include the door handles and the ’36 Ford inside rearview mirror. The brightwork throughout the street rod was applied by Speed and Sport Plating.
Again, needing space it was back to work where Doug set up his dad’s old sewing machine. Doug tells us that, “I researched online how to do things like door panels, and practiced on some small pieces to get the hang of it. It’s way harder than the pros make it look. Now that the coupe is done, I will get lots of hours of enjoyment, but I think the thousands of hours over the past 15 years working on it brought me an immeasurable amount of joy.”
The Hurst shifter is strapped to the Tremec TKO-500 (five-speed). Other business appointme
The interior is based on a Glide Engineering bench seat that was upholstered by Vintage Motorcars in black leather with maroon piping. The headliner, door and kick panels, and carpeting were sewn and installed by Doug over plenty of Dynamat insulation. He also made the aluminum dash insert that he sprayed with black wrinkle finish paint and then outfitted it with a set of Stewart-Warner gauges. The stereo comes by way of Custom Autosound in one of its Secret Audio SST units with six speakers broken into pairs of 5-, 3-, and 1-inch speakers all installed by Doug. Wiring the stereo and all the other electrics run through a Painless Performance wiring kit, again done at home.
Doug, and all of the Top 100 finalists, received a Top 100 jacket for being selected. All 100 rods where then placed in contention for the Street Rod of the Year. For Doug’s coupe being selected as the SRY he received a leather-sleeved jacket and a custom billet aluminum air cleaner with his car’s likeness, SR and Painless logos, and his name etched into the metal. For the past several years Eddie Motorsports, of Rancho Cucamonga, California, has stepped up and made this one-of-a-kind trophy and it’s greatly appreciated. While intended to be a wall hanging, or a tabletop award, the custom air cleaner is functional and could be placed on one’s engine.
(Be on the lookout in 2012 for the latest Top 100 program: the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California; the Detroit Autorama, Detroit, Michigan; the Goodguys event in Scottsdale, Arizona; the NHRA Reunion, Bowling Green, Kentucky; the Goodguys in Columbus, Ohio; the Syracuse Nationals in Syracuse, New York; the NSRA Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky; the Hot Rod Roundup in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; the Cruisin’ the Coast event along the Mississippi Gulf Coast; and the Goodguys event in Charlotte, North Carolina.)
Congratulations to the Bredburys for managing their time, displaying the effort, and budgeting the money (these cars aren’t cheap) to build such an awesome example of what a street rod can be. And, of course, happy birthday to STREET RODDER. (There will be more celebration in the upcoming December issue.)
Painless Performance Products presents the STREET RODDER Top 100 Street Rod of the Year award to Doug and Cindy Bredbury for their ’32 Ford three-window highboy coupe