Just the Facts:
1932 Ford Standard Coupe
To those of you who think the hot rod world lost its way in its pursuit of relentless perfection, we have good news: You're not crazy after all. When given too much control over their environment some people really do go overboard. And while excess has its place, it's usually in a hall, on carpet, and behind velvet ropes. The fussiness, expense, and self-consciousness common to overbuilt cars doesn't translate well to the real world yet people still aspire to build perfect show cars.
It looks somewhat old but the CON2R steering wheel offers a somewhat modern concept: modul
That's not to say jamming a show-car peg in a real-world hole isn't absolutely wrong; masochists gotta have hobbies too. But if taking your car to a show in a trailer, traversing speed bumps diagonally at a snail's pace, fretting rock chips, fearing rain clouds, and obsessively wiping dust aren't your ideas of a good time, then consider another objective: fun.
Remember fun? In case you forgot, eating burgers from a tray hung on your window at a drive-in is fun. Burnouts are fun. Power shifting is fun. Violating noise ordinances in vacant downtown streets at midnight with 10 other hot rods is fun.
Know what looks like fun? Certainly not some Fabergé egg sitting 2 inches off the ground. No, cars like Don Sangster's standard Deuce coupe look like fun—adrenaline-fueled, story-inspiring fun.
Go ahead, take another gander at what fun looks like. Don will neither hang his head in shame nor fret a rock chip in that old paint. The top is short enough to look cool but tall enough for upright seating. It's low enough to look mean but high enough to clear real-world obstacles like speed bumps, pot holes, and gutters. And the three pedals and stalk sprouting from the floor suggest that it's built for fun, too.
The body actually came from an older restoration. Joe and Jason Kennedy, aka the Kennedy Brothers in Pomona, California, clipped the top a modest 1-3/4 inches. Don transported the body to John Barbero at Pyramid Street Rods in Bellingham, Washington, to have the rest built under it.
John dropped the body on a Deuce Frame Company chassis. The front suspension consists of a Chassis Engineering axle, Durant mono-leaf spring, and Johnson's Hot Rod Shop Perfection-series wishbone-style radius rods. The rear consists of a Currie Enterprises 9-inch-style axle, a Deuce Frame Company triangulated four-bar system, and Pete & Jake's Viper coilover dampers.
If there was any question what Don was going for then the drivetrain removes all doubt. The engine started as a NASCAR veteran, a GM Performance Bow Tie Sportsman block (that's Chevy speak if you didn't know). Though the crank swings a common 3.48-inch stroke it's anything but ordinary; the defunct Crankshafts of Los Angeles (COLA) machined it from a 4340 forging. Nothing super trick or exotic. Just stout, reliable power.
The Richmond 4+1 transmission bolted to that engine is a latter-day interpretation of a classic, basically a Muncie M22 with a bonus—another gear. Because it spins a 3.28:1 First gear Don can get away with a tall, strong, and common 3.10:1 axle gear and the car will still launch as if it had a 4.62:1 axle behind a Rock Crusher. And because he runs a 3.10:1 axle gear it doesn't need an overdrive to cruise like a Cadillac.
Like the rest of the car the Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop radius rods put a more modern spin on
Pyramid then sent the roller to Paul Reichlin at Cedardale Auto Upholstery. He fabricated interior panels and covered them and the Glide Engineering seat in antiqued leather and tan canvas. He finished the headliner in the same canvas and fabricated toe guards to protect the panels from the inevitable nudges they'll endure.
Chop withstanding, the body remains largely intact. Pyramid filled the gap between the quarters and tank with bolt-on extensions and used a Rootlieb 25-louver hood with Kurtis-style clamshell louvers in the top panels. Because the paint formula used on the new pieces differs from the lacquer on the body, Pyramid chose not to blend in the pillars for the time being.
The last part—the thing about the unfinished pillars—says something. Here's a car that doesn't have a history. Nor does it have a laundry list of exotic goodies. And we've pretty much established that it's visibly flawed.
But its presence in one of the most prominent titles of its kind, which suggests that there's more to a cool car than pedigree, parts, and perfection. Here's a car you could lean on while shootin' the bull with your buddies. A car you could drive hard at modern highway speeds across several states in a day. A car that you could get a little squirrely in a vacant parking lot in on a drizzly night and never think twice about hurting it. I don't know about you but that sounds a hell of a lot more fun than dusting a car all day to maintain some false sense of perfection.
Rather than perfect, Don Sangster's coupe is just right. And if you think about it in hot rod terms, that's perfection in itself.
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