Street Rodder Magazine, December 2007.

Blown, Blue & Beautiful: what happens when dreams become reality.

Blown, Blue & Beautiful: what happens when dreams become reality.

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.

Much of the car's vintage look comes from channeling.  Note the frame rail protruding into the door opening.

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.

Although the body has been channeled, a new floor and custom seats allow the driver and passenger to sit well down in the car.  The Dearborn Deuce dash has been modified to accept a Knecht insert with Stewart Warner gauges.

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.

Clean and subtle from every angle, the top disappears from sight thanks to the clever, contemporary design of the Dearborn Deuce.  On the other hand, wire wheels and bias-ply tires are elements of the vintage styling.

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.

Vintage Motorola controls operate a modern sound system while the Vintage Air heater is hidden in a Tropic air cover. The trunk houses a custom stainless gas tank, and the fuse block for the Painless Performance wiring harness is behind the access door in the side panel.  Note the recesses in the rear panel for the taillights.

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.

While this looks like a vintage lever shock arm… it's actually a link that operates an inboard mounted Bilstein tube shock.

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.

No, Randy Clark isn't that tall--the Deuce is low.  Note the reshaped wheel wells.

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.

Along with the custom steel grille shell, the insert was fabricated from scratch. Under the custom hood is 340 inches of supercharged Y-block.  Note the firewall-mounted master cylinder; it's actually a reservoir for the under dash pedals.  A Wizard Fabrication Steer Clear unit was used to connect the '40 Ford wheel to the Vega gearbox.

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

The elaborate 2-1/2-inch stainless steel exhaust system includes electric cutouts that exit through the yet-to-be-louvered bellypan.

Facts & Figures:

Mike Richards, Maple Valley, Washington
1932 Dearborn Deuce Convertible


 Frame / Manufacturer  Deuce Steel
 Wheelbase  109"
 Modifications  Reshaped 'rails & custom crossmembers
 Chassis plumbing  Stainless by Hot Rods & Custom Stuff (Escondido, CA)
 Rearend  Winters quick-change
 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
 Spring  Durant monoleaf
 Front brakes  Wilson Welding & Machine (Flower Mound, TX) Buick
 Master cylinder  International
 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
 Displacement  340ci
 Machining / Assembly  Cal Stewart / owner
 Crankshaft  Stock, cast.
 Rods  Custom H-beam
 Pistons  Forged .060 flat top
 Camshaft  John Mummert
 Cooling fan  Cooling Components
 Radiator  Mattson's (Stanton, CA)
 Alternator  Powermaster
 Heads  Ford 471
 Valves / Springs  John Mummert
 Rockers  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
 Mufflers  Stainless Specialties


 Make  Tremec five-speed
 Clutch disc  McLeod
 Pressure plate  McLeod
 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
 Bodywork  HR&CS
 Paint type / color  PPG (Pittsburgh, PA) / Superior blue
 Painter  HR&CS
 Headlights / taillights  Electroline 2200 / Bob Drake Reprodustions (Grants Pass, OR), 47-48 Ford parking lights w/red lenses
 Outside mirror  Bob Drake


 Dashboard  Dearborn Deuce
 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
 Upholsterer  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)
 Seatbelts  HR&CS

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Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, 2324 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA., 1-800-HOT-ROD-5.

Hot Rods & Custom Stuff - builds, restores, paints, services and sells parts for classic autos, cars, trucks and street rods.