It's hard to live life if you keep thinking about all the "What ifs" and second guessing everything you want to do. In fact people that think too much about the negative "what ifs" are usually destined to fail because they'll talk themselves out of the things that might lead them to success.
On the other hand, when it comes to building hot rods and customs we wouldn't be here if we didn't constantly ask "What if." When Sam Barris saw the 1949 Mercury for the first time you know he immediately asked himself, "What if I chopped that top?" Racers work the same way. "What if we lose some of the excess weight and drop in the bigger engine? What if we mixed a little nitro into the fuel? What if we mixed a LOT in?"
Steve Kormondy is no stranger to traditional hot rods. He formed a relationship with Jason and Jim Smith at the Hot Rod Garage in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, several years ago and worked together with them to restore the Rollin' Stone drag/street '32 Ford roadster. Over the years, Steve had also owned an Ardun-powered roadster that he sold not too long ago. He liked the Ardun so much that he knew he had to have another one. When he heard about the new aluminum blocks Don Ferguson was introducing, he decided he wanted to go a little overboard and assemble the ultimate Ardun. He gathered all the pieces and had the 296ci aluminum engine assembled by Chas Rose. Once he had the engine complete he had a problem. He didn't have a hot rod to showcase it in.
This is where he got together with Jim and Jason again and they came up with their own "What if." The group started brainstorming and kept coming back to the glory days of the dual-purpose drag race/show car days of the late-Fifties and early-Sixties. Images of the Orange Crate, Scotty's Muffler T and others kept coming up. So it was thrown out: what if John Mazmanian had built a Deuce? The Mazmanian '61 Corvette and '41 Willys not only tore up the track but could hold their own (and did) at an indoor car show. Mazmanian's cars were always covered in his signature Candy Apple Red so the color was a no-brainer. The rest of the details now needed sorting out.
With the idea born it was presented to artist and designer Jimmy Smith who took the idea and put pen to paper and soon had a concept ready to go (in case you don't remember you can check out our Dream Car of the Month in the March '09 issue to see the results). Over the next 15 months the Hot Rod Garage crew took Steve's inspiration and Jimmy Smith's vision and built an over-the-top Deuce to showcase an equally over-the-top engine.