Dou­ble-Duty Deuce

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.

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