Maranello Mashup: The Ferrari-powered Deuce that became '70s hot rod royalty
There's a certain stigma that often comes with show-winning hot rods. Contrarians will use the term "trailer queen" to dismiss builds that they assume are too nicely finished to actually rack up miles. The Deucari, a Ferrari-powered 1932 Ford roadster and winner of 1979's America's Most Beautiful Roadster, may look like a pampered show car, but it has the odometer-and paint chips-to prove otherwise. https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/deucari-ferrari-v-12-1932-ford-hot-rod/
I recall seeing a very similar car in the Bay Area some years ago. Also a red Deuce roadster with a Ferrari V-12 (which they said came from a Daytona) and a 5-speed (which I thought was also Ferrari but I am not sure). I don't think it had a split windshield. But what distinguishes that car from this one is the license plate: FORDARI. It was period colors: blue plate with yellow lettering. I wonder, did this car ever wear that plate? Do the owners and builders of this car also know the other one?
I think its a great idea to put that motor in a 32 duce. Finding a V12 Ferrari engine and not putting it in something you would expect is refreshing. That said, the body and suspension seems a little lacking. Its kinda like the teenager with the $10,000 stereo in the $500 car. But different than the rat rod that looks like junk but isn't. Just seems like it should be "wow, look at that 32 duce... AND its got a Ferrari engine!"
I also saw that car years ago, and thought it a neat idea. A friend had a 250GT cabrio with a cracked block. He found another 128F short block, and we did the switch. He said I could have the bad block, which it turned out also had a broken rear main cap. But stuff I could fix. I had the idea of completing the engine and putting it in a T-bucket roadster, if for no other reason than to piss-off my Ferrari friends. But the idea of having that engine, with red cam covers and six DCNFs in full view, was really enticing. Just one of those things I wish I had done, but other projects kept me from attempting.
That underbody shot of the gas tank, axle, suspension, and exhaust is what I imagine is a car's version of a pin-up girl photo. Man that rear-end was packaged beautifully! Kudos to the team that built it, no surprise it was a show winner.
Many years ago, I was at El Mirage for an SCTA monthly meet. A car very similar to this with "Ferrari Of Los Gatos" lettered on the side was in the staging lanes. I had never heard a Ferrari before (they were in short supply in the desert), and had been told that unmuffled they sounded like "ripping canvas." I was standing at the half-mile marker when the '32 went screaming by. The sound of that thing..it sounded like... ripping canvas! I don't remember how fast it went, but it was a moment I'll always cherish!
Several years ago at Pomona I saw a '32 Roadster that, from a few feet away, just didn't look right. When I got next to it I saw that it had V-12 Jaguar engine. I asked the owner why a V-12 Jaguar, he said he owned a Jaguar repair shop, makes since now.
Really enjoyed this article! What a nice break from traditional American V-8 to a high revving Ferrari engine. I do love American V8's placed into every imaginable care out there. this reverses the Hot Rod theme a bit and take the European engine into a great American hot rod! Ingenuity atits best here.
One of the many benefits (and there are many!) of living in Louisville (KY) is the annual National Street Rod show in August. I never cease to be amazed at the engineering and quality of mechanical, painting and upholstery skill that goes into building these cars. I’ve seen Jaguar engines, Maserati suspensions, and countless other examples of creative builds in these street rods. Most are driven here and it’s common to see these cars nightly on our streets as the “rodders" go out to see our town. Even folks who aren’t car people love these great visitors. I especially enjoy hanging around as one guy sells his car to another in the parking lot(s). It’s always a cash deal (lot’s of cash!) and bills of sale that don’t reflect the actual price! It’s high on my list of things to do in August!!
I was lucky enough to work for Wescott's around 78-80. my main job was to crate up the bodies and fenders, etc and ship them. Wild to think that I could have crated this body and now I have my own Ferrari. Too cool. And by the way, Dee Wescott was one of the best men I've ever known.
Hey wait a second - a hot rod...with a STICK SHIFT?? All these years I've been squawking that I've got the only one and now I have to admit there is another. I capitalize what 911CarCab wrote: BRAVISIMO!
Saw this car at Bonneville with the well used interior in 1990. I believe it had around 100,000 miles on it then. As the owner of Dick’s personal highboy, ( built at the same time, also with over 100K ) I can testify to the drivability of these cars.