An Honest Customer and His Trio of Deuces

Chad Adams runs a small hot rod shop in north Georgia that specializes in building and selling ’32 Fords. He always has a few projects in the works, and he always comes to us for parts. He’s a regular customer of Honest Charley, and we were able to grab a few shots of three of his latest creations back in the summer. Check ’em out!


An Update from Will Davenport…

If you keep track of the blog, then you’ve seen us talk about Will Davenport and his 1932 Ford roadster, which is being built from Honest Charley Speed Shop parts. Will is also using a bunch of cool components from the 1950’s to make his Deuce a period-correct hot rod. He contributes to the Dixie Vintage Antique Automobile Club Newsletter, and the February issue has another installment of Will’s journey to build a traditionally-styled Flathead-powered Deuce. Check it out!

***Click on the image of the newsletter page to see a larger version–it’s easier to read!!!

World of Wheels–A Winter Wonderland of Hot Rods

It’s that time again! Every winter, the World of Wheels comes to Chattanooga, inside the Chattanooga Convention Center, which is right around the corner from our headquarters on Chestnut Street. It’s an indoor car show that always draws a big crowd because of its attractions, and of course the great collection of cars being displayed! This year, our neighbors at Honest Charley Garage are showcasing a few buildups at the show, including the famous Double Exposure Deuce roadster, which was built in 30 days from Honest Charley Speed Shop parts!

You’ll also see the Honesty Charley rat rod pickup, the GR3 Deuce roadster pickup, the Marmon Wasp replica (pictured below) and a ’52 MG TD, all of which were built right here in Chattanooga. All of these vehicles will be on hand to showcase the quality workmanship from our buddies at Honest Charley Garage as well as the vast parts availability from Honest Charley Speed Shop.

If you’re tired of waiting for warm weather to make its return, check out the World of Wheels this weekend. It’s open Friday January 7th from 5pm to 10pm, Saturday the 8th from 10am to 10pm and Sunday the 9th from Noon to 7pm. For more information on the show, visit and click the 2011 Chattanooga Show link on the lefthand menu. Come check out the cool hot rods and attractions and be sure to stop by the Honest Charley booth and say hello!

Merry Christmas…Honest Charley Style!!!

Well, it’s that time of year again! The Christmas season is upon us, but we didn’t expect to see something like this come by the shop! If you watch our Facebook page regularly, then you’ve seen this ’37 Ford humpback sedan in front of the shop. It belongs to Jonathan Myren of Cherokee Village, Arkansas, and it’s regularly driven on long trips. The car is Flathead powered, but he swapped to a T-5 manual transmission to take advantage of overdrive for those long trips.

Last weekend, Jonathan’s hometown had a Christmas parade, so he outfitted the car with a Christmas tree, a grille-mounted wreath, as well as garland wrapped around the bumpers. Not wanting to remove the decorations, he hopped in the old Ford and headed east to Tennessee. He decided to pay us a visit, so we couldn’t resist grabbing a few shots of it.

From all of us at Honest Charley Speed Shop, have a very merry Christmas! And if you’ve been good this year, maybe you’ll find some hot rod parts under the tree!

Lightweight Flathead?

There’s no doubt we love our Flatheads here at Honest Charley, and we had a visitor this morning that loves his, too. He loves Flatheads so much that he created his own and cast it out of aluminum! The block, heads, intake manifold and water pumps are made out of aluminum, making this a very light alternative to its cast iron brethren. The sight of this engine certainly drew a crowd when Mark Kirby opened the hood of his full fendered ’34 Ford five-window coupe.

The block is cast from aluminum and features a great number of changes from the original cast iron design. There are several reasons for developing a new aluminum block for the Flathead. The new block is capable of much more horsepower because of additional webbing and four-bolt mains. The block also has a number of upgrade internally, in terms of its intake and exhaust ports, as well as its valve guides.

The man behind it all is Mark Kirby of Motor City Speed Equipment, out of Dundee, Michigan. He decided to drive the coupe down to Daytona Beach, Florida for the Turkey Rod Run, and enlisted Phil Goller of Goller’s Hot Rods to ride shotgun. After getting a good dose of sunshine and warm temperatures, they decided to pay us a visit on the way back home.

Motor City also manufactures aluminum cylinder heads for Flatheads, and plans to build these all aluminum Flatheads in crate engine form. The Flathead in the five-window coupe is the test mule, and Motor City plans to begin production soon. It was great to meet Mark and Phil, and we hope they have a safe trip back to the cold and snowy territory called Michigan.

‘Shine Haulin’ Survivor

We hear stories about running Moonshine all the time. We’re based in the Southeast and it was a big deal back in the ’40s and ’50s. However, we rarely run across the real deal, but the car that rolled up at the shop is just that. It has tons of history and the current and previous owners were here to tell us all about it.

Larry Ashford is the current owner of the car, and he bought it in the fall of 2008 from Ralph Condra, the man who’d owned the car in the late ’40s. Ralph is 84 years old, and spent lots of time behind the wheel of this ’47 Ford Business Coupe. He’s not proud of being a moonshine runner, and he’s since changed his ways, but all of the neat tricks still remain on the old coupe. Lots of folks used the original Flathead engines in moonshine haulers, and Ralph ran an aluminum-headed Flattie in this coupe up until 1957.

He stopped by Honest Charley Speed Shop and picked up a set of Hurst engine and transmission mount adapters, in order to swap in a brand new Pontiac 347 engine, which was the next best thing to a Cadillac mill. The Pontiac engine made close to 300hp from the factory, while it would take a full race Flathead to make that kind of power in 1957. Rather than making the mounts himself, Ralph wanted the option to put the car back to stock, so he bought the bolt-in mounts and dropped in the new engine. Even though over 50 years have passed since he swapped power plants, the 347ci Pontiac still ride between the frame rails.

The suspension looks to be stock, but it’s not…Lincoln brakes ride up front, and are assisted by a Hydra Vac power unit. Additional leafs were added to the spring packs on the front and rear, and an extra set of shocks were added to the rear of the car to stiffen the suspension and keep the car stable when it has a full load. Normally if you carried a load of ‘shine in a totally stock vehicle, the back end would squat under the weight, but the stiffer springs and additional shocks kept it level at all times. Another ‘shine runner trick is the brake light cutout switch, which is still intact.

This car, with Ralph behind the wheel, made many trips across Suck Creek Mountain in the ’50s, and Larry makes it a point to take Ralph for a drive in his old car from time to time. While Ralph doesn’t brag about his ‘shine running days, he still enjoys hitting the backroads in the old coupe. Ralph says he couldn’t have picked a better guy to end up with this car, and he’s glad to be friends with him. Larry intends to restore the car someday, but said that someday will be a long time from now, as he plans to keep the survivor look for quite some time.

Larry and Ralph have become great friends, and it’s good to know this car, and it’s history, will live on in the hands of a hot rodder that truly appreciates it. The car is a big hit at local car shows, including the Moonshine Festival held each fall in Dawsonville, Georgia. We love it too, and can’t believe that it’s stayed the same all these years!

Mike Goodman Reports from Day Two of the Driven Dirty Tour

Mike Goodman and Wayne Pugh are on the road with the Driven Dirty Tour, and Mike is never at a loss for words, so here’s his review of the tour so far!

Posies’ 3-W passenger side door has come open three times now. You’d think he’d catch on! First time on “on ramp”-no damage. Second time on X-way at speed–HUGE damage to door and quarter panel, but the door will close if you slam it brutally. Third time- (yesterday) on way to breakfast–so much previous damage it’s like what the hell.

Scott Whitaker…he owns Dynamat. Driving a “new” older custom 3-W with his son…. his driver door came open and tore the side sheetmetal where the 3-hinges where forced to the rear. Simple fix, just repair the door, door jam, repair the whole side of the car, and re-paint everything in sight.

Danny Mink (Danny’s Rod Shop) is now in this THIRD car. The first two crapped out before we linked up with them. Danny’s truly a great guy and loves this stuff. Nothin to it.

Gary Case fell out and went home after repairs @ Alloways Rod Shop. Trans problems and he said Moser put their rear axle seals in backwards so the rear brakes oiled down.

Kenny and the Brookville crew didn’t come this year. I spoke with Kenny and Chuck and we’ll see them @ SEMA. I don’t know if they didn’t get their new 3-W finished or it had to do with Ray’s passing away. Either way we miss them and him.

“Red Sled”. Wade’s Impala gets lots of looks. Seems everybody’s seen it on TV. At almost every gas stop somebody recognizes it and can’t believe it. Wade and his son Tim have had fun, the Impala’s preformed flawless and looks absolutely great @ speed. Front tire wear looks normal so it’s thumbs up for the Ride Tech air suspension i guess. Sounds bitchin’ too.

GR-3: Flawless runner. No problems. Corky and Cameron are continually smiling and laughing. We’re running both our Flatheads a little easier this year (60-65 mph) so the drive’s a little easier and seems like the engine temp is staying a little cooler.

Final note for the day–Weather’s perfect. Wish y’all were with us.

Click HERE for our Facebook gallery with all of the photos from the Driven Dirty Tour!

Driven Dirty Tour 2010–DAY ONE

It’s that time of year again! With cooler temperatures and fall foliage comes the SEMA show, which generally falls in late October/early November. Honest Mike Goodman hopped in his ’32 Ford five-window with his good pal (and Honest Charley customer) Wayne Pugh alongside.

This long haul is called the Driven Dirty Tour, and it will consist of a dozen or so hot rods driving to the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s a pretty cool deal, and we’ll keep you up to date on their progress. Check out the Facebook page for a full gallery of photos from the Driven Dirty Tour–here’s the link:

Here’s some highlights from the boys’ departure from Chattanooga.

The Joys of Building a Hot Rod Part 2

The last time we heard from Will Davenport, he was working on the chassis for his ’32 Ford project car, and now, he’s knee deep in Deuce parts, all of which came from Honest Charley. We want to sincerely thank Will for his business and we hope he keeps up a good pace on the build. For his personal account of the buildup, read further:

“It’s been a while since the last post, and I now understand why folks say it takes years to build or restore a car. I’m 8 months in and have a rolling body and lots of miscellaneous parts. But who’s complaining – this is the most fun I’ve ever had messing with a car, and when you’ve only got weekends around family stuff, it’s not too shabby a schedule.

Any rate, before the body showed up, a ’56 Caddy had to go, so a guy in Tennessee is cruising in style and I’ve got an awesome Brookville Roadster steel shell. Not a bad trade, and my new best friend Mike Goodman of Honest Charley brought it down in a van (yes, it fit in a van) along with lots of other miscellaneous parts, and viola – three friends and 10 minutes, and the body’s on. If only life were that simple. A handful of shims and a bag of bolts, and everything is nice and tight with clean door gaps. What you do learn is when you tighten the firewall, it moves the body, so you tighten, loosen, shim. Loosen, tighten, shim. And so on.

Thanks to Ebay, I have a chromed ’40 Ford column with 3-on-the-tree (I had to scavenge the shift rods off another column as this one had been welded to use with an auto tranny. Please, who would put an auto tranny in a hotrod.)
It came with a ratty black ’40 steering wheel that at first look I was tempted to toss. Now you can find repro wheels all day long, but who can pass up the chance to try restoring one? A POR-15 restoration kit (throw away the file and saw they send unless you have just a few hairline cracks or about a year to restore your wheel) and my Dremel tool did the trick, and if you ever wanted to play dentist, this is your chance. It looked like Swiss cheese after cutting out the cracks, and all the ground plastic made a royal mess, but man does that epoxy work wonders. A trip to Advance Auto for Duplicolor enamel and clear coat and it’s a thing of beauty. In case you haven’t caught on, there’s a red theme here for the interior and wheels.

I dropped in a set of Classic Instrument gauges (with Honest Charley logos – kind of a historic tribute since those guys opened shop in ’48) and a Glide seat. Now my kids can sit in the car and go “vroom, vroom”. So do I, but only when no one else is around. One thing I’ve learned in messing with all this metal – keep plenty of Band-Aids at hand. I’m starting to think this thing has teeth, as I’ve got new scars and perpetually cut fingers. This must be what they mean in talking about “blood, sweat & tears.”

And to tease you with the next piece on the build, I have a beautifully reworked ’52 flathead block thanks to PSI in Fultondale, and a ground and balanced 4” Merc crank. Add to that every other part to build the engine (thanks again to Honest Charley) so not too much longer and the Deuce can go “vroom, vroom” by itself….”

The Joys of Building a Hot Rod…

Check out one man’s story about building a hot rod. His name is Will Davenport and he’s from Birmingham, Alabama. He’s building a killer Deuce roadster and he’s using Honest Charley parts to do it! Check out his adventures so far…we can’t wait to hear more about the buildup and see pictures of it!

“A couple of years ago I got a harebrained idea that I wanted to build a hotrod in the style of the 1950’s. This naturally leads to thinking of the ’32 roadster (unless you’re an American Graffiti fan, and then it’s a coupe), so I started buying magazines and “how-to” books to get an idea where to start. The heart of the ‘50s rod was a flathead engine, and I was fortunate in having a friend who gave me a ’52 flatty and transmission that had been in his father’s car. Mind you, they had sat in a barn since Vietnam, and I never would have thought you’d use a sledgehammer to disassemble an engine – the pistons were that frozen.

From that point, a road trip to Honest Charley’s in Chattanooga yielded a Pete & Jake’s ’32 frame, dropped front I-beam suspension, and a narrowed 9 inch rear. This next bit isn’t a marketing plug, but an honest statement – you will not find finer people on the planet to deal with than the guys at Honest Charley’s. Plus, if you go, it’s like the pilgrimage to Mecca for a car guy – parts, cars, car guys, and Corky Coker’s car collection. Anyway, when the suspension parts came in, I got the frame and 9 boxes on a pallet and thought “is that it”? It was, and I’m not kidding to say if you’ve got a set of socket wrenches, screwdrivers and a hammer, you can build a rolling ’32 chassis from Pete & Jake’s. Coker Tire supplied the ’40 style front wheels and rear Gennies, all wrapped in bias ply Firestone rubber. Running the big & little combo gave me a 5° rake – perfect for my plans.

I took the engine block to PSI in Fultondale, and if you’ve never been – GO. These are three retired guys who’ve been drag racing forever, and they have fun toys in that shop. Laying around were a built 409, 389 with 3 deuces, piles of small and big blocks, and more engine parts than you can shake a stick at. Plus lots of greasy old machining tools. Cool. And the guys are great just to hang out with. They’ve vatted the block, and fortunately everything was copacetic, so the boring and align honing have begun. They’re also replacing the ring gear on my flywheel, and polishing the holy grail of the engine – a ’50 Merc crank with a 4” stroke (yes, I’m building a stroker flatty). That part came from a great guy in California who’s built hotrods since the ‘50s. Once PSI is done, the block is coming home and I and the fellow who “donated” it will build the engine.

My thought is to get the frame and driveline buttoned up, and then head back to Chattanooga and drag home a Brookville Roadster steel body. I’ve already come up with a ’40 Ford column with the shifter, ’49 Merc gauges, bomber-style lap belts (I’m not using bomber seats – those look ridiculously uncomfortable), and a bunch of other small parts to make the car period-correct. The overall goal is to build a car that looks like what a guy would have done in his garage in 1952 – not a ratrod, just a cool old school hotrod. I’ve learned one thing about the dangers of hotrodding. Not long ago, I was standing in the barn with the ’56 Caddy on one side, and the ’29 Model A roadster on the other and thinking, ‘wonder how hard it would be to drop the Caddy engine in that thing….’” –-Will Davenport