Andrew Schear photographing the Road Tour car.

Building the Most Desirable Street Rod-a Deuce Highboy Roadster

By Brian Brennan, brian.brennan@primedia.com

     If there ever was a subject controversial enough to bring one's personal "radiator" to a boil, it'd be that of which street rod is the best or most popular-one's definitive statement is another's anathema. All of us have our favorites, and rightly so. However, it can be said with reasonable security that Ford is the time-honored name badge in rodding. The popularity of the Blue Oval is without peer in eh rodding world. But, which Ford?

     For starters, what year Ford is most popular? Could it be the Model T from 1903-27 [1909-27], which was offered in any color as long as it was black? Or what about the Model A that was produced from 1928-31? Each had a turn in the spotlight, but most rodders would agree that they fall short of the esteem enjoyed by the Holy Trinity of rodding-the Deuce, the Model 40, and the much revered '40 Ford. (Many would include the '39 Ford along with the '40 and most of us would accept this grouping.)

     Here's where I get into trouble, but I believe the Deuce and the '40 Ford have withstood the test of time even more so than the Model 40. Each has had its supporters over the past decades and their status continues even as I write today. But for the past 20 years or so the '33-34 Ford (Model 40) has made tremendous inroads into the rodding elite. The Model 40 was given its due last year when we produced The Guide to Building a Street Rod and featured efforts that go into building a '33 Ford roadster. (In this case it was the 2003 PPG / SREET RODDER Road Tour roadster.) This newsstand magazine enjoyed such popularity along with the 1933-34 Ford manual (which was simultaneously produced) that we thought is best to try again, this time honoring the venerable '32 Ford-the Deuce.

     The theme of this year's Guide to Building a Street Rod follows the efforts put forth to build a Deuce highboy roadster. Although this will lead to great controversy, many rodders believe that the Deuce highboy roadster is the most unique, most desirable, and most identifiable street rod in our genre.

     The real "argument" starts when one tries to say, "The roadster is better than the coupe (three- or five-window), the sedan (either the tow- or four-door configuration-or how about the Vicky?), the phaeton, or even the truck." Of course, once that dispute is resolved, or the parties finally agree to disagree, then the fun really starts with the debate over open or closed versions built as full-fendered, highboy, or channeled configurations. It never ends, but therein lies the beauty of the Deuce. There is a passion shown by rodders from around the country.

     Rather than "fuel the fires" of dissent, let's all agree that the Deuce is a very popular starting point for a street rod. Taking satisfaction in this, sit back and enjoy this year's Guide to Building a Street Rod: 1932 Ford Roadster and take from it any number of tips that can be applied when building other Deuces- or for that matter any other year or name badge with which you choose to begin your journey into the world of rodding.

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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.