The Deuce - Ford remembers the glory
The 1932 Ford.
At the time, it didn’t seem so special. It was what Ford had to do, when the Model A petered out.
But, there was something very special about the Deuce.
The flathead V-8.
It wasn’t a perfect V-8. The first cars delivered had oiling problems and Ford had to do some serious work after the car was introduced. But the Deuce was Henry Ford’s idea. Until then, the V-8 was the province of the rich. Ford brought it to the low-priced market.
To do that, he had to invent an entirely new way of casting engine blocks.
And he did. They still do it that way. Were it not for Ford’s genius, there would never have been a small block Chevy. Or a Corvette – Zora Arkus-Duntov made his first mark by manufacturing aftermarket cylinder heads for the flathead Ford.
Those first blocks were a bit porous, and the cooling passages in the flathead were always a bit on the inadequate side. The engine always had hot spots. But the 1932 Ford V-8 was the first truly modern automobile engine available to the guy that worked a day job.
And it was the core of the first hot rods, because it was so understressed.
Seen American Graffiti? The “piss yellow” Deuce that beats the ’55 Chevy driven by none other than Harrison Ford? And, at the end of the race, Paul LeMatt, the driver of that Ford, explains that he was outclassed, that it’s over, that he just got lucky. The flathead was ultimately displaced by the small block Chevy, in life as in the movie.
But not this month.
Beginning August 9th, the Ford Motor Company will attempt to discover its roots by remembering the Deuce Ford.
More than six hundred 1932 Fords are expected in Dearborn, Michigan for the 75th anniversary celebration of the ’32 Ford. There will be a concours – an event singularly alien to the breed – and a gathering at Greenfield Village, and visits to the homes of both Henry and Edsel Ford. All of which will be fun.
But pale in comparison to the real thrill. There will be 600 Deuces, maybe more. When one thinks of America, the ’32 Ford is part of the legacy that has made America great. The Beach Boys: “Lil Deuce Coupe.”
That ‘piss yellow” Deuce in George Lucas’s first real movie hit.
And all of those hot rods.
Today, there are companies that attempt to recreate the 1932 Ford, for the benefit of those who would build hot rods that they couldn’t possess in their impoverished youth.
Lexus created a show car designed to be a better ’32 Ford Deuce hot rod than a Ford. As did some idiot with more money than brains from a Ferrari.
But the real thing is legend.
The 1932 Ford is the only automobile that has ever achieved the status of timeless.
And, like all Fords, it could carry two milk cans in the trunk.
If you want to be there, check www.duece75.com.
If you can’t be there, check it anyway.
We can all dream, can’t we?