Gary Corkell’s ’32 Ford Proves the Devil is in the Details
Gary Corkell’s ’32 Ford roadster
When laying out plans to build a hot rod there are plenty of things to take into consideration. If you’re a hard-core enthusiast and plan on putting down plenty of miles it had better have a rock-solid driveline and cooling system to support those demands. Want it to look great on the show field as well then there’s a lot of work to focus on, including endless attention to detail to make it a standout.
Melding the best of both worlds creates a fusion of performance and visual vibe, giving the car owner the ultimate package. For Gary Corkell of Middletown, Delaware, creating his definitive Deuce meant designing a car with equal amounts of decadence and ferocity wrapped in a package capable of smoking the tires for an entire city block. Which he does, a lot!
There are plenty of ways to be influenced into rodding and for Gary it all started with visits to his grandfather’s farm in the late ’70s. Always willing to lend a hand, he learned plenty by working to maintain equipment as well and handle basic everyday tasks. The fuse wasn’t lit, however, till he discovered a closet housing a pile of cast-off toys desperately needing attention. With the twist of a crystal doorknob he rummaged through the stack
’til he found Ken’s Hot Rod. Introduced in 1963 by Irwin Corp. for the Mattel toy company it gave Barbie’s pal his own ride, complete with a hopped-up V-8, custom body, rollbar, and chrome wheels. Even though he claimed it as his, it would remain in the closet when he left ’til his next visit . . . perfect motivation to keep him thinking of the car all week long.
As the years passed his passion evolved into working in a local body shop to hone his skills, eventually moving on to open his own custom motorcycle shop during the resurgence of choppers. It was there his custom fabrication skills and custom painting grew to new levels. He eventually became owner of One-Off Rod & Custom in Middletown to focus his craft on hot rods, customs, and muscle cars. Throughout the years he never forgot the secret behind the crystal doorknob, often reminiscing about it with his lovely wife, Kristina, motivating him to take on the build of his own traditional-styled Deuce with a twist. It would need to have equal parts show and go as well as being built on a tight schedule of 10 weeks with his team at the shop.
To get the project rolling he contacted Chad Adams at Adams Hot Rod Shop in Rydal, Georgia, for one of his signature Deuce body and chassis combinations. The Adams chassis was delivered complete, loaded with all the right bits, starting with a custom-designed frame featuring their exclusive crossmembers tying the ’rails together. To put down the goods out back a Ford 8-inch rear spins Quick Performance 31-spline axles through 3.55 gears. It’s suspended in place by SO-CAL Speed Shop’s GT2 triangulated four-link combined with a matching Panhard bar and RideTech coilover shocks. Burying the nose, a SO-CAL 4-inch dropped and drilled axle was deftly matched to matching forged steel spindles with traditional GT2 hairpins and batwings supported by a GT2 front transverse spring and tube shocks to soak up the bumps. It was all dumped in the chrome vat for added glamour. When it comes time to pull back the reigns a Ford dual master pushes juice though NiCopp lines to 11-inch Ford drums out back and SO-CAL front discs with finned aluminum drum covers. Nailing it to the street nothing says bitchin better than a set of Coker 15-inch front and 16-inch back steelies wrapped with big ’n’ little Coker/Firestone wide whites.
Gary wanted to make sure he could make a statement when it came time to burying the throttle so he called on team member Donnie Reeder to build a fire-breathing small-block Chevy to handle the task. To start, a 350ci block was massaged to 357 ci and filled with an Eagle crank linked to matching I-beam rods wearing Wiseco hypereutectic pistons all urged by a COMP Cams Xtreme Energy stick for a heavy thump. Up top a set of Pro-Filer aluminum heads make plenty of power while an Edelbrock six-deuce intake breathes deep through a squadron of Speedway Motors 9Super7 carbs wearing polished velocity stacks. It all sparks to life through an MSD ignition and dumps its gases through custom lake pipes by One-Off. Loads of cool details separate the engine from the pack, including a custom cog pulley and belt setup, modified
Olds valve covers with polished NiCopp plug wire looms, and a splash of color. To get the goods to the street, a Chevy TH350 trans by Donnie was tweaked with a special shift kit and linked to a custom driveshaft.
To bring a special allure to the car, Gary laid out plans to get the fresh ’glass body from Adams Hot Rod Shop ready. For just the right amount of edginess a windshield from Dick Rodwell was fitted featuring a 2-inch chop and 37-degree layback. From there the team updated the firewall with a diamond-patterned, bead-rolled insert, along with matching panels for the inner trunk sides.
The body was then massaged to perfection by the team, making every panel razor sharp and setting all the gaps. To add just enough subtle elegance, Gary mixed a custom PPG color he likes to call Blue Sugar, which he laid down on the body and all related parts along with Kevin Bluzard. Neat details include dazzle by Advanced Plating and classic pinstriping from the brushes of Jerry Campbell to complete the look.
Inside it’s all class, starting with a Deuce dash filled with dials from Stewart-Warner housed in an Auburnstyled, engine-turned dash panel while a steering wheel from CON2R mounted to a LimeWorks Speed
Shop column carves a course. Remember the crystal doorknob that opened the door of hot rodding for Gary at his grandfather’s house? Well it’s properly showcased perched atop a stylish shifter from Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop. When it came time to designing the interior Gary wanted to incorporate the diamond pattern used on the firewall and trunk inside as well. He worked with Brad Wurzbacher and the team at Lucky 7 Rod Shop to bring it all to life with plenty of vanilla leather from Relicate, diamond stitched and piped, with a perfect blue accent to cover the custom seat and side panels. A perfect complement was incorporating solid bamboo hardwood floors tinted in a vintage pearl. The chopped custom top adds an extra air of mystery to the car when called into use. The final gift came from Kristina in the form of a customized version of Ken’s hot rod to match his own, bringing the build full circle. This is one Deuce that’s been tearing up the streets from coast to coast since being completed, and to us that’s the real deal.
For the digital experience: https://bit.ly/2I6AdjO