Doug Grande
Edmonds, Washington
1930 Ford Roadster

Chances are you can’t remember specifically meeting even your closest acquaintances. I certainly don’t; I’m blessed to know some of the neatest people but cursed with the inability to remember how and where, much less why we met.

But I remember meeting Doug Grande. The occasion was the 2003 Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals in Puyallup, Washington. What made him stand out wasn’t that he was an important builder with a legacy of significant cars to his credit. In fact, it was quite the opposite, really.

He’d just finished one of the neatest track-nosed Ts that I’ve ever seen. For all intents and purposes it looked to have driven right off the pages of a Don Montgomery book. I was sufficiently impressed even before he told me it was the first hot rod he’d ever built.

To be honest he wasn’t entirely new to cars. He’d owned a number of neat ones before—an Austin Healey comes to mind—but that was sometime in the ’60s. And he also had the advantage of a few friends’ insight and instructions to guide him. But nothing quite explained how he did something that eludes some of the most seasoned builders: he made the car not only comfortable—a feat considering the body’s size—but fun to drive, despite its modest Pinto power.

OK, so even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then but a few years later Doug followed up with another outstanding car, a Flathead-powered, four-speed Deuce five-window. To say the project had humble beginnings is an understatement; he literally pieced its body together from random, rusty, bullet-riddled panels. In fact, he left the weld seams visible to show contemptuous restorers that he didn’t so much “tear up a perfectly good car” but built one from the parts they deemed unworthy of their own effort. It’s quite amusing to see him set them straight.

Recently, Doug undertook another project, a late Model A roadster. Though nobody knows the particulars, the car has a history: It came with chopped top irons and someone had started to channel the body. Doug restored the subfloors and dropped the body on a Deuce chassis he built.

We’ll use the photos to tell the rest of the story. In fact we should probably cut it short; in the two months since these photos were taken he’s not just driven the car but flogged it hard enough to report that it’s particularly fierce. By the time you read this it’ll practically be old news!