The ’39 Ford Top Loader three-speed was built at Antique Auto Parts in Rosemead, California, and features Zephyr 25-tooth gears. Don rebuilt the ’40 Ford banjo rear, spinning 4.11:1 gears. The chrome axle housings cover stock ’40 truck axles. It’s pretty bright back there since the rear wishbones, buggy springs and shackles, and Pete & Jakes shocks were also chrome-plated. It’s bright at the other end too, with lots of chrome-plated front suspension components too, including the ’39 Ford 4-inch dropped I-beam axle and spindles, ’39 buggy springs, Pete & Jakes shocks, unsplit wishbones, and drag link and steering arms. Don strengthened the original Deuce frame with a Deuce Factory front crossmember supplementing the factory K-member.
Don picked the tires and wheels in keeping with the way the ’32 looked almost 60 years ago. At the time of these photos, the coupe was riding on 15-inch early Ford vented steelies, painted with polished ’40 caps and rings. The rear rims run a pair of 8.20 Mickey Thompson piecrust whitewall slicks. Front tires are 5.60 Firestone Champion bias-plies.
The early Ford hydraulic rear brakes with chrome backing plates were rebuilt and reassembled by Don. The front brakes are early Super Bells with aluminum hubs, 11-inch solid rotors, and JFZ calipers. A TCI Engineering proportioning valve was added for efficient, safe stops.
Don made an effort to make sure the interior was authentic to the way it looked “back then,” particularly in the upholstery. The door panels and original Deuce bench were covered in black and white tuck ’n’ roll Naugahyde with white piping at Tito Auto Trim in San Gabriel, California. Black piping sets off the white headliner. Don wrapped the ’39 banjo wheel in black leather, and cut down and re-welded the ’48 Ford pickup shifter.
The ’40 DeLuxe dash had been installed by Bill Webb in the late ’40s. Don refinished the gauge insert and mounted additional Stewart-Warner gauges in an original Hildebrandt four-hole panel below the dash, with a blower vacuum gauge mounted to the right. Some upper dash pinstriping and a below-the-dash bud vase add a touch of color.
Don had the ’32 on the road before it was done, driving it from Arcadia to the Deuce Day event in Temecula. “It had no windows, no top insert, no paint, and most of all, no problems.” Today, the ’32 is a rolling testimony to the inspiration of Don’s parents, Bill and Callistra—and to the support of his wife, Liz, and daughter, Shawna. Bill Webb died in March 2010, but not before he had the chance to see Don’s restoration—and not before he had the chance to ride in his record-setting hot rod again after more than a half a century.