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Barn-Find Deuce Roadster

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 2015-04-14 Wes Allison, Drew Hardin

Every time we read about some jewel of a car coming out of a barn, dusty but otherwise a perfectly preserved time capsule, we think, how many more can there be?

To get the top to look just right, Bobby chopped the original bows, then got a hold of a vintage top—probably from a ’36 Ford—from his friend Mike Hodis. Sean at Fat Lucky’s Upholstery cut it down and made it fit. “So everything on the car is old or original,” Bobby says.© Provided by Hotrod To get the top to look just right, Bobby chopped the original bows, then got a hold of a vintage top—probably from a ’36 Ford—from his friend Mike Hodis. Sean at Fat Lucky’s Upholstery cut it down and made it fit. “So everything on the car is old or original,” Bobby says.

Well, apparently, there are more. Bobby Green found one.

Or, more accurately, he found one that had already been found. But found it was. Tucked inside a barn in Ohio, where it had been parked since 1962, was this ’32 roadster.

That’s a Zephyr intake mounting the Stromberg 81 carbs. Something exotic? No, says Bobby, most likely a generic intake sold by a parts catalog company like Honest Charlie’s. Distributor is a Roto-Faze unit.© Provided by Hotrod That’s a Zephyr intake mounting the Stromberg 81 carbs. Something exotic? No, says Bobby, most likely a generic intake sold by a parts catalog company like Honest Charlie’s. Distributor is a Roto-Faze unit.

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Though the roadster had a flathead in it when Bobby got it, he replaced the 8BA motor with this Model B banger with a Miller overhead-valve conversion. H&H Flatheads built the motor; Bobby fashioned the exhaust, which leads to a single glasspack under the car.© Provided by Hotrod Though the roadster had a flathead in it when Bobby got it, he replaced the 8BA motor with this Model B banger with a Miller overhead-valve conversion. H&H Flatheads built the motor; Bobby fashioned the exhaust, which leads to a single glasspack under the car. Carl Temple gets credit for the discovery and for dragging it out into the daylight. According to Bobby, he wasn’t all that impressed with the find at first. It was basically a body sitting on a rolling chassis, all covered in some sort of water-based latex primer. Whoever put the car away brushed the primer on as a means of preserving the car.

And it worked. Once Carl stripped the plasticky goo off the car, he discovered the roadster was still wearing its original Washington Blue paint. “If it hadn’t been protected like that, I’m sure it would have rusted through,” Bobby says.

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The weathered Washington Blue paint on the grille shell matched the body so well we assumed it came with the car, but it didn’t. Bobby had it hanging on the shop wall for years. He added the BLC headlights; made his own light bar.© Provided by Hotrod The weathered Washington Blue paint on the grille shell matched the body so well we assumed it came with the car, but it didn’t. Bobby had it hanging on the shop wall for years. He added the BLC headlights; made his own light bar.

The bent-spoke Kelseys are hidden behind these Lyons caps. The 16-inchers in front are rare pieces, Bobby said, and the 17s in back are rarer still. He’s seen only two sets of the 17s, one of which is on his car. The 16s were made primarily for ’35 Fords, the 17s for ’34s, to give the wire wheels the look of the ’40 Ford’s disc wheel. They were a popular add-on among pre-war lakes racers.© Provided by Hotrod The bent-spoke Kelseys are hidden behind these Lyons caps. The 16-inchers in front are rare pieces, Bobby said, and the 17s in back are rarer still. He’s seen only two sets of the 17s, one of which is on his car. The 16s were made primarily for ’35 Fords, the 17s for ’34s, to give the wire wheels the look of the ’40 Ford’s disc wheel. They were a popular add-on among pre-war lakes racers. What’s more, the car had been upholstered sometime in the ’40s or ’50s with beautiful leather that was not only intact, but still supple. Even the rumble seat was still under the decklid and also wearing the rich leather hides.

Carl put an 8BA flathead in the car and got it running—“sort of,” says Bobby—and it was at this point that Bobby’s friend Wil Sakowski got wind of the car. He bought it, with the intent to flip it, and told Bobby about it.

If you’re not familiar with Bobby Green, he’s the man behind the Old Crow Speed Shop and a number of very cool, very authentic hot rods. Bobby thrives on the vintage aesthetic, and Wil knew an original Deuce like this would trip Bobby’s trigger big time.

Which it did. “I was blown away, not only by the car itself but the fact that it was a body still in its original paint. It really got to me. But I didn’t have the money to buy it at the time, so I asked Wil if I could trade some stuff for it.” Wil got a ’35 three-window coupe, a P-38 belly tank, “and a couple other things,” and Bobby got the roadster.

Framerails and wishbones are original to the car. Front suspension hangs a heavy axle from a reverse-eye spring pack; lever action shocks are back in action after Bobby discarded the tube shocks that were on the car when he got it. Juice brakes are from a ’39 Ford.© Provided by Hotrod Framerails and wishbones are original to the car. Front suspension hangs a heavy axle from a reverse-eye spring pack; lever action shocks are back in action after Bobby discarded the tube shocks that were on the car when he got it. Juice brakes are from a ’39 Ford.

That’s when the work began. Not on the body, or that beautiful upholstery. Those are still in as-found condition. But mechanically, the car needed work. “The car had a lot of stuff wrong with it, and stuff I didn’t like, so I went through it, every single piece, replaced every single nut and bolt,” Bobby says. The aftermarket headlight buckets were tossed for BLC headlamps. Tube shocks were pulled off; original friction shocks went on. The grille shell is an original ’32 piece Bobby had hanging on the wall of his Old Crow shop for years, its worn Washington Blue paint a perfect match for the rest of the car.

Bobby updated the instrument panel with a set of Stewart-Warner duplex gauges.© Provided by Hotrod Bobby updated the instrument panel with a set of Stewart-Warner duplex gauges.

“Nothing on this car is aftermarket. Everything is original. Well, except for vintage speed parts,” he says. “Everything had to be fitting to the body, worthy of the body.” Like the shocks, for example. “Yes, the tube shocks work better,” he admits, “but the aesthetic is more important.” And yes, original friction shocks can be finicky. “Any time I find a ’32 shock that isn’t frozen, I buy it.”

Bobby figures the car’s leather upholstery was done in the ’40s or early ’50s. It has held up remarkably well. It’s still supple and free of tears. Apparently, that Ohio barn was fairly weatherproof, as cold weather and any moisture would have wreaked havoc on the hides.© Provided by Hotrod Bobby figures the car’s leather upholstery was done in the ’40s or early ’50s. It has held up remarkably well. It’s still supple and free of tears. Apparently, that Ohio barn was fairly weatherproof, as cold weather and any moisture would have wreaked havoc on the hides.

The flathead Carl put in the car had some issues, including a cracked cylinder sleeve, so Bobby replaced it with a Model B four-cylinder with a Miller overhead conversion that was built at H&H Flatheads. “The motor was built for a guy in Kansas who never used it,” Bobby explains. “Logan Davis did the engine swap and mated it to a ’32 transmission with ’36 gears machined to fit. Pretty cool stuff.”

Bobby is a big-time banger fan. His well-known belly tanker runs a banger, as does his new Bonneville car, a Vintage Oval Track entry with a Model B engine sporting a Winfield four-port head.

Steering wheel, dash, and shift lever are original to the car. The floor mat is an aftermarket piece, but probably put there in the ’50s, Bobby says.© Provided by Hotrod Steering wheel, dash, and shift lever are original to the car. The floor mat is an aftermarket piece, but probably put there in the ’50s, Bobby says.

“Driving a banger is definitely different than driving a flathead,” he says. “The sound is extremely different, and the banger engines like to vibrate. Power-wise, with the overhead conversion this engine is probably comparable to the power of a stock flathead V-8. And it’s super reliable. I’m a big champion of the four-cylinders. I’d rather have one in my car than a V-8.” While Bobby admits some of that preference is based on style, this car isn’t just shop art. He keeps it at his house and drives it on the weekends.

How often do you see an intact rumble seat in a hot rod? The back seat was upholstered in the same leather as the cockpit. Note the Indian blanket that was used to cover the back of the front seats. It was preserved even better than the upholstery.© Provided by Hotrod How often do you see an intact rumble seat in a hot rod? The back seat was upholstered in the same leather as the cockpit. Note the Indian blanket that was used to cover the back of the front seats. It was preserved even better than the upholstery.

So keep your eyes peeled, guys and gals. Barn-find cars aren’t just urban legend. They are still out there, waiting to find new homes. 

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1932 deuce roadster three quarter© Provided by Hotrod 1932 deuce roadster three quarter

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