A Surprise Survivor

A Surprise Survivor

The year 2020 has left a lot of us hot rod deprived. Or at least for me it has. The lack of shows, road trips and swap meets has greatly limited our access to vintage tin. But not seeing these cars on the regular makes it even more special when you come across one in the wild. This week’s subject most certainly falls into that category.

Yesterday, I found myself in Whitter, California, following a lead on some parts from the H.A.M.B. Classifies. I stood in @kill bill’s yard as he ate oatmeal from a coffee mug, and we talked about a wide range of hot rod and motorcycle topics. A full-fendered Model A roadster sat on a trailer in the driveway and various windshield frames were neatly lined up on the lawn. “You gotta see what we’re working on back there,” he said, pointing towards the workshop behind the house.

And so, with that, I climbed over the trailer, past a stack of tires and a dropped I-beam on jack stands. There was a chassis with a supercharged V8-60 on the right. To the left I saw a Deuce grille shell and the snout of a supercharger hiding beneath a green plastic tarp.

“What’s that?” I asked, trying not to be too nosey.

“Pull the cover off!” Bill said without hesitation. I carefully peeled back the cover.

I couldn’t play it cool any longer. I gasped. “Whaaaaaaatt?!”

There, right in front of me, sat one of the most radical 1932 Ford survivors I had ever laid eyes on. Heavy channel, no chop, crazy molded rear fenders, cracking brown lacquer and a 4-71-blown smallblock between the rails. Nearly every detail was spot on, from the old chrome front suspension to the tuck-n-roll interior. And then there were the little things! Like the BorgWarner decal in the window, finned aluminum headlight stands and the homemade ladder bars.

Once I regained the ability to speak, I had to ask Bill what was going on. “It’s my son’s,” he said, “He’s 28, and it seems like you two are the only ones who like this thing.” I learned that the coupe—nicknamed “The Bruce Deuce”—was originally hot rodded on the East Coast, and they recently freshened it up with the period-perfect blown Chev. With a little more work, it’ll be ready for the street once again.

Bill said I could take all the photos I wanted—if I adhered to his two rules.

1) Don’t touch the rear fenders.

2) Send a picture to his son, Christian.

I reached out to Christian and, with any luck, you’ll be seeing more of this car sometime down the line. Although I sure-as-hell didn’t “find” this old hot rod, I still can’t believe I stumbled upon it in my travels. It’s hard to beat the surprise of a survivor.

Joey Ukrop

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