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Classic styling and period parts combine for a timeless highboy

Classic styling and period parts combine for a timeless highboy
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Pleasanton, Calif.--Art Engle said he loved 32 coupes growing up. After building a couple of muscle cars he said he knew it was time to pursue his dream. Art’s creation was influenced by the hot rod styles of his childhood; mag wheels, high boys, dual four barrels, and white sidewalls.

Simple was the name of the game in the 1950s-fenders gone, hood gone, running boards gone! Less weight meant faster cars and styling was form following function. Engle knew what he wanted and carried it out perfectly. Close your eyes and you can envision the bright red Deuce pulling up to stage at Half Moon Bay, Vacaville, or the dry lakes during the 1950s.

After three years of sourcing parts and working in his garage, his dream became reality. Engle’s work was rewarded at his very first show receiving the “One Fine Deuce” award at Goodguys All American Get Together in 2011.

The Deuce continues to take home honors receiving the “Hot High Boy” award at Goodguys Autumn Get together and most recently the Timeless Traditional award at the 30th annual All American Get Together. Engle’s Deuce has also received awards at the 2011 Long Beach Motorama and the 2012 Sacramento Autorama.

The “Timeless Traditional” award is presented to a car that would be at home in any era of hot rodding; yesterday, today, and in the future, said Goodguys Communications director John Drummond. “It’s a car that is fad proof.”

Starting with an aftermarket chassis and a three window chop top body, Engle went to work. The frame is based on 32 rails with a tubular sub structure. Art ordered up a Pete & Jakes suicide front axle assembly with a Superbell 4” drop I-beam axle, Ford Econoline spindles, and traditional hairpin style radius rods.

Engle opted for So-Cal Speed Shop’s Hot Rod Front Brakes. The kit emulates front drums found on early hot rods making it the perfect choice for Engle’s ride. Hidden inside the So-Cal drums are a set of Wildwood disc brakes to bring Engle’s bad deuce to a halt.

Out back finds a Ford nine inch housing that is hung via a Pete & Jakes triangular 4-bar set up. Inside the pumpkin is a set of 3:50 gears and a posi unit to get her rolling. Alden coil over shocks help smooth the bumps and a set of Ford drum brakes handle the braking chores out back. The Deuce rides on a set of Firestone “wide whites” mounted to US Wheel chrome Supreme wheels.

Power is handled by a thirty over 327 long block complete with fuelie heads built by Victory Machine in San Jose CA. Engle added an original Winters aluminum twin four barrel intake and a pair of Edelbrock 500CFM carbs to mix the air and fuel. Spent gasses pass through a set of lake style headers from Patriot on their way to a pair of Magnaflow mufflers. Keeping with the vintage theme, power passes through a Saginaw four speed with reverse lock out. 

The 32 body is from Downs, Engle said. “It has the best quality and strength of any I’ve seen.” One of the few areas outsourced by Engle was paint and upholstery. RJ’s Paint Shop in Pleasanton handled the chore of prepping the body and squirting the 2006 Mercedes “Mars Red”.

Simplicity meant shaving the handles and style required suicide doors. Doors and deck lid are operated remotely with the push of a button. Inside the deuce is covered with red and bone tuck and roll by Tri Valley Upholstery also in Pleasanton. Engle keeps track of his horsepower through as set of gauges from Classic Instruments.

Other details include a mirror polished and machine turned firewall with a matching instrument cluster inside the coupe. A Walker radiator keeps things cool on hot days and a set of 1934 Ford commercial headlights keep things lit at night.

Truly a timeless classic, Engle’s Deuce has succeeded in bringing memories to life. The use of vintage parts and classic styling has created a rod of today with a direct link to yesterday to the benefit of us all.