Register now to get rid of these ads!

Folks Of Interest The Deuce and the Telescope

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by vintagehotrods, Nov 4, 2021.

  1. [​IMG]
    I've been a Deuce guy a long time and I thought I'd seen everything until I saw this .............

    In the 1930's and 1940's, this Deuce roamed the streets of Los Angeles. The coupe, owned by Shelly Stoody, was typical for the time except for a huge 9 1/2 inch diameter, 12 foot long Zeiss refractor telescope mounted to the roof! It is unknown today how Shelly procured the 1920's era telescope but regardless, he would drive his showpiece to various amateur astronomy events and presumably share views of the sky. In 1955, Stoody sold the telescope to Griffith Observatory, where it remains to this day and is used in conjunction with the observatory's main 12 inch Zeiss refractor telescope. The Deuce telescope project cost approximately $7,000.00 when it was completed in 1933. This says a lot for the strength and sound engineering of Henry's Deuce three window body!

    In the picture above look at the stabilizers under the middle of the car and notice its still on factory wire wheels. The telescope is raised with a hand crank about three to four feet when it's in use. The telescope was equipped with a finder scope and a binocular turret that allowed observation with both eyes.

    I'd love to know if this coupe survived and is still with us today.
    In this picture, Shelley poses with his Deuce with it's telescope, notice that it is riding on what appears to be General Jumbos.


    Shelly Stoody, the man, was a fascinating character and a brilliant inventor and metallurgist. He was born March 20, 1899 in Union, Ohio, just northwest of Dayton, and his father Charles was a carpenter and then a machinist and blacksmith who specialized in repair work. By the time young Shelley registered for the draft in 1918 during the First World War, the Stoodys had relocated to Huntington, West Virginia, near the borders with Ohio and Kentucky, and Shelley and his older brother Winston worked as machinists for their father. In 1921, Shelley Stoody, recently relocated to Whittier, opened up a welding company called Stoody-Rice, but soon took in as partners his father and brother and renamed the firm the Stoody Welding Company to service the growing farm implement and tractor repair business. Right after opening their storefront, oil was discovered in nearby Santa Fe Springs, and soon a whole new business was born, repairing drill bits from the oil rigs. By 1926, the company was simply known as the Stoody Company, but Winston had become president, Charles served as vice-president and Shelley was the secretary and treasurer. The elder Stoody soon retired, but his sons continued to run the business with Shelley assuming the role of vice-president when his father stepped down.

    Initially, the business was built to supply farm and tractor repair services, but the developing oil boom in Whittier and surrounding areas led to a quick refocusing of the repair of drill bits for oil prospecting. The firm operated for decades on Slauson Avenue near Sorensen in the southwest part of town and Shelley lived in comfortable homes in northwest Whittier and then on a hillside behind Whittier College. By 1940, however, he had a $75,000 residence in the hills of what was then called North Whittier Heights, later Hacienda Heights. After World War II, he relocated to a Palos Verdes Estates hilltop home, built in 1931, of almost 8,000 square feet on an acre lot.

    But the Stoody brothers were not content to merely repair busted bits. They were convinced there could be a way to make the drill bits more durable, and to stay sharper longer. From their experiments that began in 1922, they developed a technique, called hardfacing, that would stay with the industry for many decades. Hardfacing is the overlaying of metal with a coating of abrasion-resistant alloys via a welding process. This overlay greatly extends the life of the equipment.

    Winston and Shelley began applying hardfacing to drill bits, at first called the "Stoody Rod," then later the "Stoody Self-Hardening Rod." They developed the first chromium-manganese alloy for this process. Two years later, they introduced the "Stoodite," a cast welding rod that would become the industry standard for the next 40 years. Their next breakthrough came in 1927, when they perfected the use of borium, a tungsten-carbide material that became one of the hardest commodities ever used, which came from their tungsten mine in the Mojave Desert, which they acquired in the late 1920's. Stoody was also a pioneer in the "submerged arc welding" process, in which the molten weld and arc zone are flooded with a compound of manganese oxide, silica, lime, calcium fluoride and other materials to protect the weld from contamination.

    In 1948, Stoody achieved some notoriety for buying a $25,000 helicopter for his commute from the peninsula to Whittier (cutting his travel time down from 1 1/2 hours by car to only 20 minutes by helicopter.) He was, in fact, a longtime pilot, having been an early aviator in Whittier, where he began his flying career in 1926, and he had a private plane at the airport in Torrance when he moved to the Palos Verde Estates. A Los Angeles Times article reported that he planned to build a helipad and hangar at his residence, as well as at his business.

    The financial windfall from his business allowed the entrepreneur to buy the 426-acre spread in Carbon Canyon that he called the "Double S" Ranch. Stoody created his "Double S" (Shelley Stoody, presumably) in the early 1950's to breed Hereford cattle and made it a success in short order. Stoody also owned a cattle ranch in Nevada which was successful and he was also a patent holder for inventions dealing with cattle and other animals. Stoody, it was noted, looked down upon his domain "from his house atop the summit", which might well mean the house that sits surrounded by a few dozen palm trees that is on the hill directly east of Western Hills. Stoody also was the founder of the Western Hi;;s Country Club. The "Double S" had a show ring, but also an air strip for his private plane.

    Unfortunately tragedy struck on an attempt to land his plane on the ranch on June 29, 1961 when he crashed his Beechcraft into a hillside a short distance from the strip, which was below his home. Stoody and two passengers died instantly and the third passenger died later in the hospital. His wife witnessed the tragedy from a window in their hillside ranch home. Evidently, the plane circled the private landing strip several times, and came in for a landing when a large wind gust caught the plane. Stoody abruptly tried to pull the plane up before nosing into the hillside. In addition to Stoody, who was then 61, the other passengers were Tom Leroy Brown, a 31-year old ranch employee who left behind seven children, 21-year old Arkansas cattle rancher John Starr, and 56-year old Melvin Kibbler of Norwalk, who died of his injuries several days after the accident. It was also reported that Stoody was drunk when he got into the pilot's seat and that, on that fateful day, he demanded those other men join him if they wanted to keep their jobs. It was a sad end to a brilliant career and life. He should have stuck to driving his Deuce coupe!

    Stoody left behind his wife, daughter and son, and it is assumed that they sold the ranch to the developers of Western Hills, a syndicate of physicians from Orange County, who paid $600,000 for the property and, in 1966, opened Western Hills.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2021
    boozoo, Deuces, Budget36 and 28 others like this.
  2. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,248

    jimmy six

    I bet it was a Bonanza.
    Tman likes this.
  3. They don't call it the "forked-tail doctor killer" for nothing!
    jimmy six and Tman like this.

  4. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,868


    With the class to have a 1932 3Window I'd guess he had a Staggerwing. What a sad ending to a very productive life.

    Bob 4338781360_723258ca50_b.jpg
  5. The Deuce has a 1933 license plate in early photo.
    It looks like the Google Street recording cars of today, with the big camera in the roof.
    Thanks for a great history story.
    seb fontana and 41 GMC K-18 like this.
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 2,355

    from IDAHO

    Excellent Photos And History....Appreciated..
  7. 210superair
    Joined: Jun 23, 2020
    Posts: 1,367

    from Michigan

    That's awesome. What a cool history and car.

    I used to have a huge rc staggerwing when I was a kid! Loved that rc plane! It's still around, but it's at the bottom of the lake somewhere, lol. Crashed it on a windy day. Probably disappeared by now, or home to a fish....
    41 GMC K-18 likes this.
  8. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,736


    Had to look it up... Interesting Guy/ Story, Thanx beech-bonanza-original.jpg
  9. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 6,361

    from Oregon

    Thanks for the history lesson.:cool:
  10. Very cool write-up.
  11. Some hot rodder was scratching his head trying to figure out why his 3w project had a hole in the roof and a lot of strange mounts and bracketry on the floor.
  12. He sold the telescope to the Griffith Observatory in 1955 so the coupe was probably sold then too. It's entirely possible someone here on the HAMB may know of that 3W coupe and will speak up! My '32 3W coupe came out of the LA Area in 1973 and was built by Kenny Walsh of Ft. Dodge, IA. Kenny told me when he bought the car it had roll bar mounts in it. Who know, maybe they were telescope mounts!

    These are the pics that Kenny took of the coupe when he bought it in 1973 somewhere in Los Angeles. He saw the coupe sitting in the garage of this house when he was out looking for a place to live upon arriving in town. Kenny is a real hot rodder because he bought the coupe even before he had a place to live! He said he saw some kids playing in the yard and asked if the coupe was for sale and they said it was because their parents were getting divorced. It looks like the coupe was also a homewrecker too! I'd love know more of the history of my coupe so if anyone remembers it please let me know. It definitely was a hot rod with the axle and suspension I can see from the pics. I may do a separate post here to see if anyone remembers it.

    Deuces, alfin32, bowie and 6 others like this.
  13. A great thread with a lot of interesting bits to the story.
  14. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 28,802

    Jalopy Joker

    Wow - sometimes you might think that you have really accomplished something - then you read about guys like this - my wife's Grand - Father was in the oil business, and lived in Whittier area - possible that they knew each other
  15. I'd bet he did. I found this ad while looking for more information on him. This is the description that was with the ad: It is for the Stoody Welding Company, formed a couple of years earlier in Whittier by a father and his two sons, who built their business making a variety of parts for oil field work including disc bits, bushings, sprockets, gear teeth, blades and others. Later, however, Shelley, one of the sons, patented a powerful alloy drill bit that allowed for far more durable drilling and which made him a fortune. He owned a large house in North Whittier (Hacienda) Heights and then one in Palos Verdes Estates, from which he commuted to Whittier by helicopter. Stoody also had a cattle ranch in Carbon Canyon in modern Chino Hills where he kept a small plane, but in 1961, he crashed trying to land on his ranch, killing himself and two passengers, with an investigation determining that Stoody was drunk.
  16. The V tail was later if that's whatcha talking A
  17. He crashed in 1961, so I think he was flying a Beechcraft of that era, which might have been a forked tail Bonanza. I've searched but I can't find any record of what he actually owned and was flying when he crashed. I'll bet there is a FFA Accident Report somewhere.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
  18. Michael Ottavi
    Joined: Dec 3, 2008
    Posts: 174

    Michael Ottavi

    What a story, he sure wasn't a slacker by any means!
  19. Phil Thomas
    Joined: Mar 23, 2022
    Posts: 2

    Phil Thomas

    Here is a photo of Shelley Stoody's plane in 1961. Shelley Stoody last plane April 1961.jpg
    Deuces, Hollywood-East, egads and 3 others like this.
  20. Impressive 1st post^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Phil Thomas likes this.
  21. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 20,405

    Staff Member

    OMG... I love this so much... Two of my favorite things.
    Deuces and Phil Thomas like this.
  22. Amazing picture with prized Herefords posing as if they were statues. I looked long and hard for a picture of his airplane and didn't find a thing! Great post!
    Hollywood-East and Phil Thomas like this.
  23. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 18,043


    Telescopes and cattle?
    NoSurf, Phil Thomas, The37Kid and 3 others like this.
  24. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,248

    jimmy six

    Don’t know the exact model but it looks like a Twin Bonanza. They made in the late 50’s and 60’s. Also could be Queen Air.

    If I insulted any Doctors who flew Bonanza 35’s I’m sorry. But your probably deceased.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2022
  25. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 3,233

    rusty valley

    The plane sorta looks like sky kings rig. What was that?
  26. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,463

    seb fontana
    from ct

  27. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,248

    jimmy six

    310 Cessna.. great fast airplane.
    rusty valley likes this.
  28. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 3,233

    rusty valley

  29. Phil Thomas
    Joined: Mar 23, 2022
    Posts: 2

    Phil Thomas

    Here is a report on the crash. Accident Beechcraft H50 Twin Bonanza N9700R, 26 Jun 1961 (

    I actually work for the company Shelley Stoody started 101 years ago. Stoody is now a brand within a larger welding corporation (ESAB) but still producing the hardfacing products that made he and his family very rich! He and Winston (brother) were very much inventors - and the company was known for using airplanes from the very beginning. Shelley also owned a helicopter several years after the company was founded so he could live in Palos Verdes without the lengthy commute. If you want read more about the airplanes, helicopters, telescope, and the Stoody-Nixon home, I have attached a more in-depth article which discusses all of that.

    Attached Files:

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.