Some of Our All-Time Favorite Highboy Deuce Coupes
By Chuck Vranas – Photography by the Author
Nothing gets your pulse racing more than a highboy Deuce coupe roaring by you with a heavy exhaust note flowing through its pipes. Regardless if it’s running a stock body or if it’s been treated to any combination of modifications like being chopped, channeled or sectioned, its guaranteed to make a statement. When cruising down the highway, stopping at the donut shop or rolling through an event it’s a perfect time to enjoy what your ride represents in our hobby. Enjoy the first trio of cars featured in our highboy Deuce coupe triple play where we showcase hop-ups in perfect ‘50s though ‘60s styling, each with a traditional engine combination. Know that there will be more to come as there are plenty of cool builds we have seen over the years.
Chassis: Solid Axle Halibrand V8 Quick-Change Rearend
Mike & Toni Mondrella nailed the traditional look with their perfectly-balanced Deuce from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mike Boerema at Gas Axe Garage boxed a set of new ‘rails from ASC, added custom crossmembers while also shortening the front 2 ½ inches and bobbing the rear. Out back a Halibrand V-8 quick-change packs 3.78 gears, suspended in place by modified 1940 Ford split ‘bones matched to a Posies Super Slide spring and Monroe tube shocks. Up front a 4-inch dropped Magnum axle meets 1940 Ford spindles perfectly matched to split stock ‘bones, Posies Super Slide spring and Monroe tube shocks. Added style comes from a set of original 16-inch Ford steelies with trim rings and spider caps wearing Firestone/Coker rubber.
Engine & Trans: Cadillac 331 & Stromberg 97 Carbs
Kenowa Auto Supply prepped a 1955 Cadillac 331ci block. From there Boerema packed it with a refreshed stock crank and rods wearing 9.7:1 cast aluminum slugs getting bumped by a stick from Isky. Warmed-over stock heads meet an Offenhauser intake wearing a sextet of Stromberg 97-Series carbs with classic scoops. A massaged Borg Warner T5 from Gas Axe meets a custom driveshaft.
Body & Interior: Nason Blue-Black & 1939 Ford Gauges
Starting with a clean original body, Boerema sliced the lid 4 inches in front tapering to 3 ½ inches out back as well as prepping it for a padded roof insert by removing a filled roof section. He also fabricated custom front a rear spreader bars. Ted Aguilar metal finished the body, set the gaps, and laid down a coating of Nason Blue Black Effect. A 1939 Ford dash packs restored factory dials while a Juliano’s 15-inch banjo-style wheel and Gas Axe shifter moves the goods. Top Stitch Upholstery added classic blue and white pleats to the stock bench along with loop carpet and pleated roof insert.
Chassis: Ford Axles with Winters Quick-Change
Jeff Norwell’s coupe is the perfect ‘60s-era hot rod wrapped in a root beer vibe from Ontario, Canada. Candy’s Hot Rod Supply started with an original spine, boxing it, C-notching the rear and adding custom crossmembers. To move the goods, 1940 Ford axles meet a Winters Performance quick-change packing 3.54 gears, hung in place by custom ladder bars by Richard Gray, reverse-eye Model A spring and Pete & Jakes tube shocks. In front a 4-inch dropped & drilled axle meets 1937 Ford spindles with 1940 Ford split ‘bones, reverse-eye Model A spring and Pete & Jakes tube shocks. To nail the stance, 1940 Ford 16-inch steelies with trim rings and spyder caps wear big ‘n’ little rubber from Firestone/Coker.
Engine & Trans: Dodge 270 Hemi & Rochester 2GC Carbs
Karl Spafford of TDC built an evil 270ci (bored) 1955 Dodge Red Ram Hemi. With the block machined, he filled it with a steel crank linked to matching rods capped with Ross Racing forged aluminum pistons getting bumped by a Clay Smith stick. Hopped-up stock heads meet a Don Hampton intake with a GMC 4-71 blower topped by twin Rochester 2GC carbs and Stelling & Hellings-style air cleaners. A reworked GM T5 trans matched to a Wilcap adapter meets a custom driveshaft.
Body & Interior: Root Beer & Classic Instruments
Candy’s replaced the bottom 5 inches of the original body along with subrails, interior and trunk floors with steel from Brookville Roadster. A 1961 Corvair roof section was used to fill the roof along with a custom copper cowl steering cover. The body was metal finished, gapped and coated in Planet Color Root Beer. A 1941 Ford dash is filled with original gauges restored by Classic Instruments while a 1940 Ford wheel meets a Schroeder steering box and gears pull a custom shift lever. A custom bench wears old gold and crème vinyl accented by black loop carpet.
Chassis: Solid Axle Halibrand Culver City Rearend
Rick Start’s Deuce from Grand Rapids, Michigan, delivers devilish good looks in a perfect ‘50s-era style. Gas Axe Garage started with original ‘rails which were boxed in front, treated to Model A front and rear crossmembers and custom center K-member. A Halibrand “Culver City” quick-change out back packs 3.55 gears and is suspended by a 1941 Ford wishbone, reverse-eye Model A spring and Monroe tube shocks. In front, a Deuce big-beam axle was dropped 3-inches and matched to 1946 Ford spindles, 1937 Ford split ‘bones, reverse-eye Model A spring and Monroe tube shocks. Classic 16-inch Ford steelies with trim rings and spyder caps wear big ‘n’ little Firestone/Coker wide whites.
Engine & Trans: 329-inch Olds & Stromberg 97-Series Carbs
D&T Performance machined a 1956 Olds block to 329ci. Gas Axe assembled it with a refreshed factory crank linked to stock rods wearing cast aluminum10:1pistons getting bumped by an Isky stick. Massaged factory heads meet an Edelbrock four-pot intake wearing Stromberg 97-series carbs and frog-mouth scoops. A 1939 Ford trans with Lincoln Zephyr gears meets a Wilcap adapter with final drive via torque tube.
Body & Interior: PPG Deep Burgundy Pearl & 1956 Olds Gauges
The original steel body already had a well-balanced 4-inch chop from its prior life. Gas Axe updated it with new inner fenders, repaired the subrails, added a working cowl vent and tilt windshield, replaced the firewall, metal finished the body and set the gaps. Those Guys Custom Paint and Fabrication laid down the PPG custom-blended deep burgundy pearl. A 1956 Olds dash features refreshed original gauges, 1961 Olds steering wheel on a custom column and gears running through a Gas Axe shifter. The bench seat wears oxblood and crème pleated leather by Top Stitch Upholstery accented by burgundy square weave carpeting. MR