Just the Facts
Owner: Al Uens
State: Ontario, Canada
It's hard to imagine how many youngsters were indoctrinated into the world of hot rodding thanks to one of life's most inexpensive pleasures...Hot Wheels. For mere pocket change, the candy-colored, hopped-up, red-line tire-equipped racers had the magical ability to create a fantasy world where you actually felt like a part of your collection. For Al Uens of Napanee, Ontario, Canada, they were the perfect springboard launching him into the world of high performance. By the time he was 10 he was regularly attending local stock car races at Kingston Speedway watching Tony Blake run his 1930 Olds coupe hard through the turns with its raucous V-8 wailing through its headers. It wasn't till after seeing both The California Kid and American Graffiti on the big screen that his fate was sealed.
A Super Bell 4-inch dropped tube axle, ’37-41 Ford spindles accented by split ’bones, Posi
Growing up in his rural town however the chance of seeing actual hot rods running on the local streets was a rare occurrence. During this time the muscle car-era was in full swing so Al channeled his performance needs through a '70 Plymouth Duster, which he packed with all the latest go-fast goods from the local speed shop, giving it plenty of edge and attitude on the street. As the years passed he owned a number of other performance cars, including a Z28 and '64 Pontiac Grand Prix. Somehow he never forgot the adrenalin rush he experienced when visiting racetracks to watch old modified coupes run.
Now 30 years later, while visiting a local car show, he came across a 1934 Ford coupe packed with a dual-quad fed Nailhead that flicked a switch in his mind, urging him to get involved in the hobby at the level he longed for. With camera and notepad in hand to do research into what type of car he would like to build he attended the Syracuse Nationals, in Syracuse, New York. While canvassing the event's massive confines, he came across a vibrant red Deuce five-window packed with a blown 409ci mill that encompassed everything he had been searching for. It just so happened to be from his hometown, but he had never seen it before. A strange twist of fate would bring him to meet its builder years later as his project gained speed.
A pair of ’37 Ford taillights give warning of "hot rod ahead."
Once back home, he began a quest to locate a 1932 Ford body for the start of his project. While attending a local swap meet he picked up a flyer for Bird Bodies and followed up with a call to owner Al Bird. Bird offered only 1934 Ford coupe and '41 Willys bodies and welcomed Al to visit and check them out. Once he saw the Bird-built 1934 Ford body with its curvaceous lines and larger interior he knew it would be the perfect base to start with. He purchased the body and basic perimeter frame by Rob Metcalf, hauling it back to his home shop. In talking with friends on who to work with to build the coupe, all references pointed him to Neil Candy of Candy's Hot Rod Supply (also known as the Candy Factory) in nearby Kingston. Al contacted Candy and arranged a visit. In a simple twist of fate, when Al walked into the shop, parked before him was the same red Deuce he was overwhelmed with at the Syracuse Nationals years prior (owned by Candy himself). The pair shared many of the same ideas for the new build and without wasting any time the project was brought to the Candy Factory to get started.
To create a rock-solid base for the coupe to rise from Candy got busy starting out back by fitting a Chrysler 8-inch rearend with 3.55 gears. It was suspended in place by a combination of 42-inch Speedway Motors ladder bars combined with a Mr. Roadster Panhard bar, and QA1 adjustable coilover shocks. To give the coupe both stance and style up front, a Super Bell 4-inch dropped tube axle was deftly matched to 1937-41 Ford spindles accented by split 'bones, Posies Super Slide leaf spring, Pro Street tube shocks, and a Welder Series Panhard bar. When you've gotta whoa the go, an early Mustang master pushes fluid through steel lines to 10-inch Chrysler drums out back and 11 GM discs out front wearing two-piston calipers. For just the right amount of dazzle to hit the streets a set of 15-inch chrome reverse wheels were shod with classic big 'n' little Firestone/Coker wide whites.
For big power to deliver a knockout punch nothing says I'm ready to party like an early Chrysler Hemi. Having always lusted after Hemi engines as a youth, Al searched and came up with a '54 Chrysler 331ci V-8 to nail to the 'rails. Carl Spafford at TDC Engines in Kingston got the nod to take on the rebuild and massage the block and heads to perfection. The base was filled with a refreshed crank and rods linked to Ross forged 9:1 pistons while an Isky stick sets the beat. Deep breathing moves through a vintage Edmunds dual-quad intake wearing a pair of Edelbrock Performer Series 500-cfm carbs capped with helmet-style air cleaners. An MSD ignition lights the fire while custom-fabbed lake pipes by Matt Legare of Gear Drive dump the spent gases in high style. To move the power there's nothing like three pedals to do the deed. Al had Hector Pickering of Transmissions Unlimited in Kingston rebuild the original New Process A-833 four-speed from his '70 Duster matched to performance goods from McLeod Racing linked to a custom driveshaft.
When delivered, the Bird body already had a well-proportioned 3-1/2-inch chop in place so the focus was on adding a few details to separate the car from the rest. Since Al had a passion for early T-birds he worked with Bird to have him add a first-generation T-bird hood scoop, giving the car a very unique look. Candy continued by first adding deep-blue tinted glass, and then fabricating one-off front and rear spreader bars as well as working in a combination of 1937 Ford taillights and Guide headlights. With the details complete, everything was handed over to Brian Murdoch at Murdoch's Auto Body of Napanee to set the gaps, block everything to perfection, and lay down a lustrous coating of PPG-Omni Ice Blue metallic vibe with engine accents done in Acapulco Blue.
To bring life to the business office a pair of rarely seen Austin cab-over truck buckets were treated to classic pleated blue vinyl with white piping along with matching side panels and headliner by Ken Kellar at Interior Motive Upholstery in Napanee. The dash was wired and filled with an array of switches with Stewart-Warner dials to monitor the vitals while a '60s MG spoke wheel handles the navigation through a Speedway Motors column to a Vega box, all by Candy. The traditional style, which is a signature of The Candy Factory, shines loud and proud throughout the coupe and Al has already laid down thousands of miles tearing up the streets all over Ontario...bitchin!
Inside the coupe almost has a vintage sports car feel thanks to a rare pair of Austin cab-
For plenty of gusto, a ’54 Chrysler 331ci Hemi was hopped-up, giving it plenty of power th