Infusing a combination of brutal horsepower with some of the finest lines to ever roll out of Ford’s design center leads us to a Deuce, which presents itself as one man’s vision of the perfect beast. For Jack McDevitt of Gilford, New Hampshire, exposure to the world of hot rodding started way back during the early ’60s.
As a teen growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, he frequented countless local dragstrips and it didn’t take long till he was hooked on the adrenalin rush of cars screaming down the quarter-mile. Jack’s particular fascination revolved around Gassers and their impressive fire-breathing battles on the track. Hanging out at the Tasca Ford speed shop as well as being able to wander through the pits and meet his favorite racing legends, including Don Garlits, Bill Lawton, and the team members of Stone, Woods & Cook, obviously had an impact on him that followed him throughout his life.
With his first new car being a ’66 Olds 442 with a W30 package, it wasn’t long till he began burning up the streets and ’strips across New England. After setting NHRA records at Connecticut Dragway in F-Stock class in both 1966 and 1967, it was time to move on and venture into building Gassers. A nasty pairing included a ’61 Ford Falcon with a straight front axle and 427ci Ford cammer, as well as a ’52 MG TD sitting on a tube chassis powered by a stroked 301ci Chevy.
Having always been a fan of Deuce roadsters, he began to visit numerous national events to gather ideas for building his dream car. After pouring through what seemed to be hundreds of photos, he finally came upon images of Boyce Asquith’s venomous roadster, which nailed the look he had been wanting. He was finally inspired enough to formulate the ideas from which his roadster would rise. Everyone knows that perfection doesn’t come overnight and for Jack it took 12 years of dedicated work with many talented individuals to finally get his roadster fueled up and ready to hit the road.
Knowing the car would have an excessive big-block nailed to the ’rails Jack’s first step was to contact New England Rod Shop in Bedford, New Hampshire, to build a rock-solid base. Starting with a set of Deuce Factory ’rails a custom frame was fabricated with modifications, including a stretched wheelbase, tubular crossmembers, and a stout Pro-Street rear section to add plenty of additional strength. For razor-sharp handling a 4-inch dropped Super Bell axle with ’40 Ford spindles and a custom four-link accented with Aldan coilover shocks and a Posies slider spring gets the job done while Wilwood discs and calipers kill the rpm. Plenty of hard-core goods out back handle the abuse thanks to a Halibrand Champ 500 quick-change rear deftly matched to a custom four-link suspension, Aldan coilover shocks, and massive Wilwood discs and calipers to provide plenty of stopping power. Nothing says hot rod better than a set of genuine Halibrand Sprint wheels topped with mile-wide Hoosier rubber out back for when traction is needed.
Steve Pierce laid out a cockpit that was strictly business, incorporating Auto Meter Phant
The heart of any street shaker resides in the thunder it sends into the atmosphere. For an engine that would rekindle all of the years he spent cutting lights on the quarter-mile, Jack contacted Rick Moore of R&R Automotive Machine of Londonderry, New Hampshire, to build an evil bone-rattling big-block. Starting with a fresh 502ci V-8 block as a base, its guts were filled with a speed shop full of go-fast goods, including a Crower crank linked to Carrillo rods wearing J&E slugs while a Crane stick sets the beat. Brodix ported and polished aluminum heads topped with Crane rockers completes the mix while Street & Performance built the wicked top end featuring an 8-71 BDS huffer sucking plenty of air through a pair of Holley 850-cfm carbs crowned by a BDS scoop. An MSD ignition lights the fire while spent gases are dumped through a set of custom headers by New England Rod Shop, with 2-3/4-inch exhaust tubing and Flowmaster mufflers silencing the beast. A bulletproof TCI Automotive TH400 trans coupled to a chrome driveshaft by Street & Performance moves the gusto through a Hurst shifter so there’s no waiting to summon its 800 dyno’d horsepower to the street.
With the rolling chassis fully loaded, it was time for a trip to Jim Lowrey’s Hot Rods and Restoration in Tilton, New Hampshire, to bring an equal level of excellence to the body and paint. The team at Lowrey’s massaged the Harwood body to perfection and followed by laying down a lustrous coating of DuPont red garnet crystal vibe to make the car a standout. If the devil is in the details, the Deuce goes straight to the head of the class, incorporating such signature items as a Duvall-style windshield, Cobra-style flip-top gas fill, and three-piece custom hood. Needing an interior that could match the car’s gusto, Steve Pierce of One-Off Technologies in Gilford, New Hampshire, was given the nod to lay out plenty of butter soft leather complemented by loads of intricate details. Finally, pinstriping legend Larry Hook of Cumberland, Rhode Island, laid down the fine lines to add a look of sophistication to match the roadster’s brutal horsepower. Since the Deuce’s completion, Jack has burned plenty of high-octane fuel, laying down the miles, however pending projects led it to new owner Louis Malanga of Wayne, New Jersey, who is now the lucky holder of the keys.
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COMP Performance Group - Tech Tips
Calculating Cup End Pushrods
If you install a new cam and your engine uses cup end pushrods, measuring them for length is extremely difficult. The size and shape of the cup varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer, so measuring from the ball end to the cup end over the cup surface is a dangerous practice. The best strategy is to drop a 5/16-inch-diameter steel ball into the cup end and do all measuring over this ball, subtracting the 5/16-inch diameter (0.3125 inch) to figure the length.
Learn How To Channel Aggression Properly
Keep in mind that an aggressive camshaft will often be seen by a factory knock sensor as detonation. Most aftermarket EFI systems will allow you to turn off or reduce the sensitivity of the knock sensor for smoother and more efficient operation.
Tuning for Power
Tuning the main circuit for maximum power in a Weber carburetor is something that can be done by a series of road tests and a handful of jets. The simple rule of thumb for jetting Weber carburetors is: If you want to implement a change over the entire rpm range, you change the main jet. If you want to change the way the car feels at high rpm, you change the air corrector. Keep in mind that the air corrector is a finer adjustment than the main jet. As an example, one step upward in the main jet (richer) produces the same change in engine behavior as three steps down on the air corrector (less air: richer). A change of air corrector would be appropriate, for instance, if the engine pulls strong to 5,000 rpm and then goes flat. This would mean it’s running lean at the top end; drop the air corrector three sizes or so, and you’ll probably be able to buzz that engine right up to 7,000 rpm. If the engine feels sour all the way up, go one or two sizes heavier on the main jets.