An exercise in perfection, the coupe’s ’60s-era look is personified by an un-chopped body,
There couldn't be a better way to get indoctrinated into the world of hot rodding than attending dirt track jalopy races back in the early '70s. It was a time when junkyard bodies of cars from the '30s and '40s were still available so racers packed them full of Flathead power and headed out onto the track to battle it out for the honor of being number one at the Main on Saturday night. For Neil Candy of Ontario, Canada, it was a perfect way to grow up while spending weekend nights with his parents who were avid race fans, at tracks all over Eastern Ontario and Northern New York.
Fast forward a few years and it wasn’t long till he took on his first build, starting with a swap meet pair of ’39 Ford taillights. They eventually found their way onto a ’31 Ford Model A coupe with a hopped-up 302ci Ford V-8, which he built with the help of good friends Glenn Santacona and Don Hancock. Shortly after being completed he was invited to a gathering at Toronto Motorsports Park where the coupe made its first passes at the dragstrip. With his evolving hot rod skills it wasn’t long till he became the guy to see to have your hot rod chopped, wired, and built. This eventually led to the opening of Candy’s Hot Rod Supply (also known as the Candy Factory) in 2005. Thanks to an insatiable appetite for speed, a huffed 392ci Hemi Model A drag sedan followed, along with a belly tank to compete at Bonneville, both known as “Mothers Worry”.
A 4-inch dropped Chassis Engineering I-beam axle is matched to ’40 Ford spindles along wit
With the local hot rod scene continuing to grow, Neil paid close attention to trends while also staying true to his roots. He always had a passion for Deuce five-window coupes and set forth to locate a suitable body to get started with to build a car that had been percolating in the back of his mind since he was a kid. It would have to be an un-chopped and un-channeled coupe with an early '60s drag influence and enough gusto to make the hair stand up on your arm just by looking at it. His quest unearthed a local Deuce built in the early '70s, which needed quite a bit of attention to bring it back to life, but it was a solid starting point.
After tearing down the car all parts were reviewed with any potential weak links being eliminated. The original frame had stood the test of time so for additional strength it was boxed. To tie everything together a Deuce Factory centersection was set in place along with a Model A front and custom rear crossmembers. Wanting to plant the back half of the car firmly to the pavement, an early Ford Mustang 9-inch was filled with 3.50:1 cogs and suspended in place by an owner-fabbed four-link and Panhard bar while Carrera coilovers soak up the bumps. In order to add a perfect nostalgic feel up front a Chassis Engineering 4-inch dropped axle was deftly matched to ’40 Ford spindles along with a set of original ’32 Ford split ’bones, a Posies Super Slide leaf spring, and Carrera tube shocks anchoring it all in place. It’s great to want to go fast but when you’ve got to tame the beast a ’60s-era Mustang master cylinder pushes fluid through stainless lines to Ford drums out back and Mopar rotors wearing GM calipers up front.
Starting with a 409ci Chevy block and heads the cubes were upped to 474 ci. Plenty of gust
Seeing the car was to have an early drag attitude, a set of American Racing classic Torq-Thrust wheels in 15x4 front, and 15x8 rear, were capped with Coker/Firestone wide whites and wicked-cool Diamondback whitewall slicks, respectively. In wanting the coupe to have a classic thundering V-8 that rolled a different path, Neil set his sights on a Chevy 409 mill. He located an original engine, hauled it back to the shop, and tore it down for a full rebuild. The block was bored to 474 ci and then filled with a speed shop full of go-fast goods, including an Eagle crank linked to steel H-beam rods wearing Ross 7.5:1 slugs with an Isky stick setting the thump. The stock heads were massaged to perfection, filled with stainless valves, and completed with roller rockers. The icing on the cake came when Neil fabbed a custom intake based on an Offenhauser dual-quad unit in order to mount a BDS 8-71 huffer in place, complete with a pair of Edelbrock Performer 600-cfm carbs to suck down fuel and a Hilborn-style crown. Lighting the fire is a Mallory Unilite while spent gases dump through a set of owner-built lake pipes. Transferring all that power is a snap moving through a Hurst shifter to a Borg-Warner Super T10 and a custom driveshaft.
Hunkered down and ready to strike, the coupe is all business. An early Ford Mustang 9-inch
When it came time to address the body Neil wanted to retain as much of Henry's original soul as possible because it's tough to change perfection. He stripped the gennie steel to bare bones and got started by first replacing all of the decayed areas he found, including the sub-rails, floors, and all lower areas with patch panels. To give the roof its graceful crown it was filled using a mid-'60s Corvair roof section. With all the metalwork finally complete the body was then made razor sharp by Neil and his pals and doused in a coating of Glasurit Acura NSX red vibe. Once in the reassembly stage neat details included a set of vintage-plated Guide 682C headlights, and '50 Pontiac taillights. In keeping with the theme, the interior was covered with rolls and pleats in crème vinyl by J.R. Custom Upholstery of Pickering, Ontario, utilizing the original stock seat. Neil then cut down and fitted a '40 Ford dash in place and filled it with Classic Instruments and Auto Meter dials to monitor the engine's vitals. A Lobeck sprint car-style wheel linked to a Borgeson Universal Company polished stainless column navigates the course through a Vega box while custom wiring by Neil beings it all to life. In completing the coupe Neil has fulfilled a lifelong dream by melding classic '60s performance into an edgy drag look, which nails it on every feature. Nothing says hot rod better than hearing him rip through the gears at twilight with the open lake pipes spitting fire.
A ’40 Ford dash looks right at home filled with Classic Instruments and Auto Meter dials w
Tasty creme vinyl rolls and pleats add plenty of era-correct charm.
The obligatory ’50 Pontiac taillights do a nice job of setting off the back end of this co