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The Little Deuce Coupe

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,383


  2. honeyman
    Joined: May 24, 2010
    Posts: 330

    from Steiner

    Yep, that was the tits for me in the 5th grade!
  3. fuel pump
    Joined: Nov 4, 2001
    Posts: 3,620

    fuel pump
    from Caro,MI

    Ryan tweeted about it this morning.
  4. truckjim
    Joined: May 21, 2011
    Posts: 166


    Still got the vinyl and album cover. Listening to it brings back lots of good memories.....

  5. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,612

    from SUGAR CITY

    I love both the car and the song even though they really don't suit me. There is just something so damn cool about that car. Glad to see CHilli got it back....when does that ever happen???

    ALso, just when I am day dreaming about roadster and their open cockpit I'm slapped in the face with that ending shot of him inside the coupe with it's tank like proportions. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a coupe and forever. I think.
  6. I might take a hit on this one. I think the color combo is cool...the motor is way cool. But the custom body stuff is over the top, not in a good way either. I still give the builder and the coupe its due respect, its just not my style.
  7. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,612

    from SUGAR CITY

    Yeah it's one of those things like would I ever build a car like it? Nope. Would I give up every car I have to own it? You bet your ass!!!! The body stuff is crazy almost ALMOST to the point of silly but it's just awesome because it is as it was and at one point that thing ruled the earth!!!

    It's like canted quads on customs. They have never made a car look better from a design standpoint not once.....but they certainly make it look cooler in the right light!

    I think that thing would be bitchin to drive around in. Go pick up milk and eggs in that thing and tell me you don't feel like the coolest dude out there.
  8. qzjrd5
    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,299

    from Troy, MI

    Yep, you hit the nail on the head!

  9. Damn!....That's provenance
  10. slimpick
    Joined: Aug 4, 2008
    Posts: 97


    That was at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. They have exhibits come and go like that one all the time. The car section of the museum was just changed around this past winter and is now open. It is worth a visit.
  11. fuel pump
    Joined: Nov 4, 2001
    Posts: 3,620

    fuel pump
    from Caro,MI

  12. mrconcdid
    Joined: Aug 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,157

    from Florida

    Funny, I have that album , and that song is on my ipod too.
    Im thinking ENZO liked the side fins too.
  13. texdesoto
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 134


  14. Murphy32
    Joined: Oct 17, 2007
    Posts: 738

    from Minnesota

    I think it's like black licorice...either you really like it, or you can't stand it. I like black licorice.:cool:
  15. tedster
    Joined: Mar 20, 2005
    Posts: 519


    Cool, thanks for posting.
  16. I was fortunate to be a part of the very beginnings of this legendary coupe and here is the story of the early years of the car. Clarence "Chili" Catallo was a good friend during the fifties. His parents bought a grocery store from my parents and that is how we met. I went to work for a gas station next door to the grocery store and that is where the beginnings of the "Lil Deuce Coupe" began.

    This coupe sat for many years beside the house of a local customizer in Dearborn, Mich. His name was "Ziggy" and he did most of the local guys work in a little shed out behind his mom's house. Clarence and I drug that coupe out of the weeds and began the work of kids everywhere, turning a piece of junk into a "Hot Rod". We put an Olds engine into the coupe, hooked to the stock Ford transmission. I learned how to rebuild Ford transmissions that way, because we immediately blew five of them. It seemed whenever you gave the thing some gas, it scattered the tranny everywhere.

    We got it running and I can remember driving the car to high school because "Chili" wasn't old enough to get his license! I drove it to school using a coat hanger through the dash as a gas pedal. The lower part of the channeled body was quite rusty, so "Chili" took the car to Pete's custom collision and had the first stages of the body work done. Paul Hatton the famous Detroit striper, worked out of Pete custom collision and we all hung out there drinking coffee to keep from freezing to death.

    The coupe was first painted in white primer and I had watched Paul Hatton stripe, so I started my striping career by striping the trunk of the coupe.

    I remember one night that Don Vargo came by the gas station in his 34 Cabriolet and it was also painted in white primer and striped by a guy from Dearborn by the name of Pacetti. None of us in the group that night realized that these two hotrods would become two of the most famous showcars in history. The Vargo roadster clone was at the Autorama last month. What is amazing is that over a period of about 4 years, "Chili" would finish the car to show condition 4 different times!

    The next phase had the Alexander Bros. continuing the work on the coupe and placing that famous nose piece on it. The years had taken their toll on the lower body, so the famous fins were fitted and this was long before Ferrari came up with the styling trick. During this period the car was called the "Silver Sapphire".

    The scallops and striping was done by Paul Hatton of Detroit and the best striper I have ever seen, and the guy that got me into striping in my young days.

    I left Michigan about this time and moved to Florida and I lost touch with the car and "Chili".

    The famous phase was when the car was chopped and remodeled by George Barris in California, and sprayed a beautiful transluscent blue with white pearl scallops by Jr. Herschel. ( I hope that spelling is correct) This then became the famous Lil Deuce coupe that was on the cover of the Beach Boys Album and also on the cover of the July 1961 Hot Rod Magazine. "Chili" and Ed Roth himself took the car to the photo shoot and that became the cover shot for both Hot Rod and the Beach Boys cover.

    Shortly after, the car was sold to a car club. Ray Woloszak, then bought and owned it for 30 years and kept the car in show condition, but not exactly as it was in the sixties. He had a Chrysler engine and ran black walls. I ragged him for years that he needed to get those whitewalls back on.

    I got a call from "Chili" asking if I knew where the car was and I put him in contact with Ray. Ray had been going to The Turkey Rod Run in Daytona and always parked the car in front of the Old Farts Car Club tent, (see picture) where I was always on staff, and I knew exactly where the car was. Clarence " Chili" Catallo repurchased the "Lil Deuce coupe" from Ray Woloszak in July of 1997.

    Unfortunately Clarence passed away shortly after he repurchased the coupe. His son Curt and his family, as a tribute to their father, restored the coupe to the exact specifications of the car in it's glory days. This is one of the rare examples of the Hotrod that has graced to the grounds at Pebble Beach. It also was in the 50th anniversary Autorama as one of the feature cars. It was in a special presentation at the Petersen Museum as part of the Music and Rods display. Probably the most recognized Hotrod ever built and a great tribute to a nice guy. Clarence was my buddy in my teen years and I shall never forget the good times that we had.

    Attached Files:

  17. weez
    Joined: Dec 5, 2002
    Posts: 860


    Tee design I did for Kurt in '01 for the crew that restored it. I think there were only 12 made or close to that-

    Attached Files:

  18. Boy would I love to have one of those shirts. I used to hear from Curt occassionally, but haven't heard anything in a while. I would love to chronicle the restoration on my site for history if photos exist. Chili took a lot of photos and I bet Curt did too.
  19. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,612

    from SUGAR CITY

    That's awesome hotrod1940!!! I love when guys like you give us the first hand story on how things came to be. Really great to have you contribute to the thread.

    Do you still pinstripe?
  20. MrFalcon62
    Joined: Sep 9, 2010
    Posts: 249


    with as many times that i have seen pictures of this car, i have never noticed that there is a swastika on the supercharger pulley.

    why is it there?
  21. Thanks, JeffreyJames, those were great times and the amazing part is that Chili was a 15 year old kid when he got the car. He restyled it every year for the next 6 or 7 years. Still just a kid in his twenties. Amazing.
    Yes I still stripe and will post in another thread when a pinstriping post pops up.
  22. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,612

    from SUGAR CITY

    I knew this would come up at some point on this thread haha!!!

    I believe the reason was derived from 60's surf culture. The Surf Nazi's were dedicated and devoted to Surfing and to Mother Ocean.
  23. TERPU
    Joined: Jan 2, 2004
    Posts: 2,271


    Becaue back then it wasn't a "Bad" thing. It was kinda like the Maltese Cross on surf stuff in the day. Just a cool thing. The Nazi's gave the Swastika the reputation it has now. IT used to be sign of peace and prosperity waaay before Hitler. But that's all from my Dad. So if I'm wrong in my recollection please let me know. I love the car and it's definantly one solid Icon.

  24. Clark
    Joined: Jan 14, 2001
    Posts: 5,105


    I am lucky to have a little story about this car. I owned the front wheels off of the car for a short time.

    Last year at during the Detroit Autorama we made a side trip to check out a friend of a friends stash of parts. I bought a few things and while digging through a storage trailer I asked if a set of chrome reverse wheels in the back were for sale. he said sure. As I was pulling them out of the trailer he said by the way they are off of the Silver Saphire. I knew the name but just couldn't place it at the time....he then said the Chili Catallo coupe. My jaw dropped! He then showed me pics of him working on the car. I knew it wasn't BS then.

    I got 4 wheels but the rear wheels didn't look right. The fronts were dead on though.

    Fast forward to 2 weeks before Detroit this year. I get an email from Curt Catallo about the wheels. I didn't want to sell them but I knew they belonged with the car. he told me the story of getting the original rear wheels from the guy that had it for 30 years...with the slicks still on them. Best I can guess is a second set of wheels was bought for street tires and that is the rears I ended up with.

    Well I ened up bringing the wheels back to Detroit and sold them back to Curt. He's a really great guy and to hear him talk about his dad's car is sooo cool!! he even gave me one of the Franklin Mint models they made of the car.

    Even though it was hard letting go of something so cool....It makes you feel good knowing they are were they belong.
  25. bob t!
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 209

    bob t!

    A great car ,a hot rod icon and a Detroit legend,both to Chili but to the Alexander Bros. as well. Last time I saw it the swastika had been changed to a maltise cross.
  26. nugget32
    Joined: Aug 21, 2011
    Posts: 259


    Awsome story. I have my copy of Hot Rod with the car on cover. Had it all these years.
  27. Kettleman
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 149


    Great car and a great story!, Thanks for sharing the memories guys.
  28. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,180


    that car made a huge impression on me, my first hot rod although not a duece, no way I could afford one, I chopped, channeled and sectioned and put an early Olds in, always thinking of the Catallo coupe's style. that car is long gone but one of my current projects has a very similar power plant and will some day hopefully be just a little bit as cool as that one

    thanks for the stories
  29. Actually the coupe had several sets of wheels over the period of its construction. I remember that we started with 14 inch Chrysler wheels before the slicks. They had the same pattern as the Ford.
  30. I love the stories and history of this car. I love the styling, except for those side strakes. Too over the top for me.

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