By Ron Ceridono
Photography by Randy Lorentzen, Brian Brennan, & Daniel Ingham.
Mike Richards has been interested in cars for most of his life-it probably had something to do with a dad who dropped a Cad engine and Hydra-Matic in a '48 Frasier. But, regardless of the reason, Mike's passion ultimately resulted in the roadster you see here.
It started with a rather specific concept: What would a former lakes-racing, channeled '32 roadster look like if it had been updated in 1957 with an F-code super-charged T-bird engine? With the look of the roadster in his mind's eye, Mike went looking for someone who could see it just as clearly and build a contemporary version of his vision, and that someone turned out to be Randy Clark of Hot Rods & Custom Stuff. Known for turning out cars that are flawlessly detailed but can also be driven, HR&CS does everything but chrome in-house, and that includes upholstery and paint.
After considerable discussion, Mike and Randy decided to base the car on a new Dearborn Deuce convertible body for several reasons. First off, one had yet to be channeled, and Randy loves a challenge and to build cars that are unique; secondly, few things are handier in the Seattle area than an open car with a top that goes up quickly. To make sure everyone was on the same page, Jason Rushforth provided some drawings, and, with everyone agreeing on the design, Randy went to work.
Like everything else on this car, the chassis has to be looked at closely to grasp what has been done. Based on HR&CS' Deuce Steel 'rails, both ends were upswept to get the roadster on the ground, and the reveals were reshaped for a custom touch. The front suspension uses a Deuce Factory stainless axle with a Durant monoleaf, and it appears to have lever action shocks, but a peek under the nose reveals a pair of hidden Bilsteins. In the rear, a Winters quick-change is positioned by HR&CS four-bars and a Panhard bar, and a Gary Schroeder Enterprises antiroll bar is part of the package to make the car corner flat.
Under the custom cowl-hinged hood is another unique feature-a bored and stroked 340-inch McCulloch supercharged Y-block. Assembled by Cal Stewart and the owner, 7-lbs of boost and a host of hop-up parts from John Mummert make for a muscular Merc. Backing it up is a Tremec five-speed.
As far as modifications to the channeled body go, the list is almost endless and includes the obvious, such as the custom-fabricated nose and grille insert, hood, reshaped rear wheelwells, and the rear panel with recessed lights. Not so easy to see are the new floor boards, transmission tunnel, and bellypan.
The HR&CS tricks continue inside the convertible body. Access is gained via a Dakota Digital remote entry system. The seat frames were scratch-built from tubing, mounted to Wise Guys adjusters, and upholstered in-house. Under the Dearborn dash is a Kugel reverse-mount pedal assembly dressed up in Vintiques pads, and the spoon throttle is from Pete & Jake's.
It took 18 months for the Deuce to see daylight, but it was worth it by all accounts. Randy's happy, Mike's happy, the car has been well received when shown, and it goes down the road with the best of them. In short, this Deuce is a dream come true. SR
|Frame / Manufacturer||Deuce Steel|
|Modifications||Reshaped 'rails & custom crossmembers|
|Chassis plumbing||Stainless by Hot Rods & Custom Stuff (Escondido, CA)|
|Rear suspension||Bilstein coilover|
|Rear brakes||Ford drum / SO-CAL Speed Shop (Pomona, CA), finned covers|
|Front axle / Spindles||The Deuce Factory (Santa Ana, CA) stainless|
|Front brakes||Wilson Welding & Machine (Flower Mound, TX) Buick|
|Steering box||Vega / Flaming River (Berea, OH)|
|Steering U-joints||Flaming River|
|Front wheel make, size||Wheel Vintiques (Fresno, CA) wire, 15x5|
|Rear wheel make, size||Wheel Vintiques, wire, 15x7|
|Front tire make, size||Coker / Firestone bias-ply, 5.60-15|
|Rear tire make, size||Coker / Firestone bias-ply, 8.20-15|
|Gas tank||Custom, Rock Valley|
|Make||'56 Mercury Y-block|
|Machining / Assembly||Cal Stewart / owner|
|Pistons||Forged .060 flat top|
|Cooling fan||Cooling Components|
|Radiator||Mattson's (Stanton, CA)|
|Valves / Springs||John Mummert|
|Valve covers||B/C Equipment (New Zealand)|
|Manifold / Induction||Blue Thunder Holley carb / McCulloch supercharger|
|Headers||HR&CS / U-bends from Specialty Products Design|
|Driveshaft||Oceanside Driveline (Oceanside, CA)|
|Body style / Material||Convertible / steel|
|Body manufacturer||Dearborn Deuce|
|Body mods||Lower cowl, wheel wells & rear pan|
|Hood||Custom by HR&CS|
|Grille||Custom by HR&CS|
|Paint type / color||PPG (Pittsburgh, PA) / Superior blue|
|Headlights / taillights||Electroline 2200 / Bob Drake Reprodustions (Grants Pass, OR), 47-48 Ford parking lights w/red lenses|
|Outside mirror||Bob Drake|
|Insert / Guages||Knecht Equipment (Arlington, TX)/ Stewart Warner (Lancaster, PA)|
|Stereo / Speakers||Custom / Crutchfield|
|Heater||Vintage Air (San Antonio, TX), mini-heater|
|Wiring||Painless Performance (Fort Worth, TX)|
|Steering wheel||Limeworks Speedshop (Whittier, CA)|
|Steering column||Flaming River|
|Seats||Custom by HR&CS|
|Material / Color||Leather / Irish Crème|
|Carpet||Global Upholstery Supply (Santa Ana, CA)|
|Insulation||Dynamat (Hamilton, OH) & LizardSkin (Toledo, OH)|
|Mirror||Sacramento Vintage Ford (Rancho Cordova, CA)|