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….”

Leave a Comment