Deluxe Speed Shop is a Colorado family conglomeration comprised of Bryan McCann, his father Scott, and his uncle, Mark. Along with some help from an outside source or two-namely Ted Bowen-the McCann clan put together a trio of tasteful, true-to-tradition hot rods; not merely interpretations of an era gone by, rather, more like pages right out of a Don Montgomery book. As a matter of fact, they credit Montgomery's historic pictorials as providing not only inspiration, but reference material, as so many of today's hot rodders have. Here are their stories.-Rob Fortier
('28 A-V8 Roadster)
I bought the '28 Ford roadster body on the Mexican border of Arizona from a produce importer. My dad, Scott, Ted Bowen, and I drove the 1,000 miles from Colorado to Rio Rico, Arizona. We get to the address, and this maid answers the door, speaking Spanish. We can't understand her, and she can't understand us. We leave, thinking that we had the wrong address. But we end up right back at the same address. We go talk to her again, this time showing her pictures of the car, but she still has no idea why we are there. Sitting in the truck, we all thought we'd been had, that we were part of a scam. We were so discouraged that we almost turned around and headed back.
We decided to look around the place, and through one of the windows of the garage door, we could just barely see the top of a '28 roadster. I was so relieved. We rang the doorbell again, but this time a guy in a robe answers the door saying, "Sorry, I was in the shower!" We loaded the roadster in the back of the truck, threw the fenders and the top on the floorboards, shook hands, and headed back to Denver.
I found the frame at one of the few swap meets that we have during the winter. I got a straight Model A frame, complete rearend, and a good steering box for $300. Bowen had a '32 frame that had been boxed and cut up, from which he said I could have the K-member ... as long as I took it out. It took me three weeks to build the missing center trans mount, build the driver side leg, and graft it into the A frame. I had to move the stock steering box down an inch and back 2 1/2 inches to clear the head on the Flatty. I also had to move the radiator forward 1/4 of an inch for the fan. My dad's friend was selling the drivetrain out of an old '34 Ford hot rod-I got the complete frontend and rearend with '40 Ford brakes, motor, and '39 trans, all for a $1,000. The best way to describe building an A-V8 is "tight"!
It took me about a year to build the car, though most of that time was spent with my dad on his '32 three-window. We had a blast building these two cars together. I don't know what was more fun: building the cars or doing the research to find the correct parts for the period. I have had the car done for about six weeks (that was as of July 2010), and since have put 1,500 miles on it. I drive it as much as I can.
I have known about this car for over 20 years. I told the guy who owned it I'd be interested in buying the car if it was ever for sale. He'd got it as a running '60s-70s-style hot rod, drove it one summer, and then disassembled it completely. He had a couple different guys work on it trying to get it put back together with no success. So, after five years, he threw in the towel. I got a call one Sunday morning-went straight over and had it home within hours. I finally had the car I'd been thinking about for years.
My first plans for the coupe were to build a modern street rod (thankfully, I didn't get going on it like that). The car got pushed into the corner of the shop for 15 years while I did other things. My appreciation for period-correct/traditional hot rods was growing more and more, and when I finally got to the '32, I was sure about the type of car I wanted-a real hot rod.
I studied a lot about '40s hot rods using the great books from Don Montgomery and reference from the American Hot Rod Foundation site, as well as talking to as many older guys who were there in the beginning. One big help to the build was Bowen from Kittridge Company. He assisted with his knowledge and sold me some of the parts I needed. He has a great collection of old hot rod parts and pieces, but he normally doesn't sell anything. Once he saw the old coupe with the old chop (still with the early lead work) and could see I was building a '40s-era hot rod, he offered many of the hard-to-find pieces that are now on the car.
I'm thankful I didn't build the car 15 years ago for two reasons: one, I would not have had a period car, and secondly, my son, Bryan, was only 5 years old then (now he's 20). It was so much fun to build together-we really bonded in that year and a half. Also, he's now become an excellent TIG welder and fabricator. Without his help, I couldn't have done this.
It was fun learning about the hot rod history of the '40s-and finding all the right parts was a real challenge. Even the nuts and bolts on the coupe are old Ford stuff; they give the car that old feel. This one's a keeper, and someday I'll pass it down to my son.
('28 Model A Roadster)
I've wanted a traditional hot rod for quite a long time. I started by looking for a Model A Ford. A roadster was my first choice, but I was open to a roadster pickup. I found this particular car on craigslist in Oklahoma City. It had been restored about 30 years ago, I'm told. Once I got it home, I immediately tore the fenders off-who needs fenders? I wanted to do a pre-war-style hot rod, something that a guy would have done before 1942.
I decided to keep the banger motor and put a few speed parts on it to help the performance. Also, to stay with the early hot rod-style, I opted to keep the mechanical brakes and the running board aprons. The motor has dual Stromberg 81s on a Zephyr intake manifold along with a Winfield high-compression head. In addition to adding '35 Ford wire wheels, the steering column was modified to accept a '38 V-8 banjo wheel. My nephew, Bryan, helped with changing the windshield to a deluxe folding type.
I looked at lots and lots of old pictures to see just what a young guy would have done to a car like this before going off to the war. I am very lucky to have a good source for Model A parts here in Denver. Many thanks to Steve and Phil at Bert's Model A-they have just about anything you would need ... and lots of good information too.
A good description of this car would be: A simple, stripped-down roadster to reflect the very first hot rod.