“She’s ported and relieved and she’s stroked and bored, she’ll do a hundred and forty with the top end floored”! There’s a reason the Beach Boys wrote about this iconic Ford hot-rodding variant. The Deuce coupe became a staple of mid-century youth culture, with its popularity warrants not only a hit song, but also a famous racing scene in American Graffiti.
A hot rod refers to a classic, older car whose motor is modified in order to maximize the speed. These were popular among young people given the low cost of the older models and the thrill of “building” your own ride (as exemplified in movies such as Grease and the aforementioned American Gravity).
The 1932 Ford was a favorite among these hot-rodding youth subcultures, not only because of its low cost a decade after its release, but also thanks to its abundance. These modified models became known as the Deuce Coupe, with the customized cars becoming so popular that it is now rare to find one that wasn’t tampered with.
These anachronistic Frankenstein cars are a wonderful vestige of the youthful ingenuity and ambition of mid-century Americana. They remain, across the decades, a nostalgic reminder of the role cars have played (and will continue to play) in our culture.