The Thrill of the Build ... or the Thrive of the Drive?
THE HAYES DEUCE FORDOR SATISFIES BOTH
Flip Hayes’ ’32 Ford Deuce
Some people build them to drive; some may build them to sell. Others, well, they forgo the build process altogether and just drive them (more often than not, they’re the smart ones!). When it comes to the hot rod process, we each have our own niche we prefer— whether it’s hammering metal or hammering the throttle pedal. But there are some like Flip Hayes who have no preference whatsoever … they dig the entire process.
From the initial hunt and subsequent acquisition to the construction and subsequent first opportunity to be driven, Flip’s what you might call an adventure seeker when it comes to hot rods—and the adventures aren’t always part
of his master plan. I met the Santa Cruz/Watsonville tattoo artist back in the ’90s under the fluorescent lights of the now-defunct A&W in Paso Robles; at the time, he’d just completed a channeled Model A roadster that knocked my (then non-existent) socks off. Of all the tattooists I knew, he was really the only one solely into early hot rods … as well as a fellow connoisseur of bottled iced tea. Very little has changed over the past 20-some years.
Flip’s latest conquest, a chopped ’n’ channeled ’32 Fordor sedan, was at first meant to be a companion to his Deuce three-window for his life companion, his wife Tricia (hence the “MSTRIXY” plates) … “something my wife could haul her friends around in,” he admits. But it wasn’t about the end game,
rather, it was about everything in-between—including that initial hunt. As he recalls it in a nutshell:
“My buddy Jay Diola and I decided to make a mad dash to Canada to pick up the body I’d located via the HAMB. On the map it didn’t look so bad and we figured we could do it nonstop if we took shifts driving. I picked Jay up at San Jose airport armed with a case of TeJava and a flat of sweet rolls from Costco and off we went. We made it to Canada in about two days. We get to the border above Wyoming and we looked like two dudes who hadn’t slept or showered in as many days. For some reason the Canadians took one look at us and we had to do the whole vehicle/body search. Post prison pat down (minus the cavity search), they hesitantly let us in. We booked across Canada to where the body was above North Dakota, loaded up as the sun was going down, and we were at the U.S. border by midnight. It was another day and a half to get back to Watsonville but if it weren’t for that adventure I wouldn’t have seen snow for the first time let alone gotten to have this crazy stinky adventure with one of my best friends (as it is we’ve already been in three car accidents together, one put me in a coma for a week and the other totaled my ’33, so who would’ve said no to the trip?!).
“Though the beginning of the build was quite an adventure, the completion of it was just as much so with really great friends. Keith Tardel (Rex Rods) built the chassis and chopped the body. Clay Slaughter (Clayton’s Hot Rods) did a lot of the finish work and had their painter David Perales paint the car. Grant Peause (GMP) built my motor and helped with the mechanicals. Keith and Grant were the best men in my wedding, Clay I’ve known since my early twenties, and they are all still big parts of my life; life’s always better with great friends!!
“After the car was finished we drove it down to Ventura with Clay, Tim Edwards, and a few other pals troublefree and had a superfun weekend. Unfortunately, when we went down to Pismo for The Race Of Gentlemen, we didn’t have the same luck ... an ignition module let go and we couldn’t get it sorted before the rain showed up and we ended up with a very expensive tow bill home. But this was just another chance to have a great adventure with friends who are there for you more than family!”
Ten years in the adventure making, the Hayes Fordor is an embodiment of (mostly) prewar hot rod rightness (in both original and repop form), starting with that aforementioned Deuce chassis constructed by
Keith prior to his relocating Rex
Rods Chassis to Austin, Texas. In the process, Tardel facilitated an un-boxed ’39 Ford X-member, ’46 banjo rear with a Halibrand quick- change and an un-split wishbone, dropped heavy Deuce axle with a split wishbone and ’34 cross-steer box, Posies Model A springs, and new-old Lincoln self-energizing drum brakes. The pre-’40 exceptions include the ’49 Cadillac 331 built by Peause accompanied by an S-10 five-speed modified to accept the early Ford closed driveline.
As Flip mentioned, Tardel was also responsible for reconfiguring the roofline profile—a perfectly executed 4-inch chop that complements the now un-channeled body (it was a mess of a channeled rat rod when first acquired, as Flip puts it), just as the mustard-tinged PPG paint by Perales does in relation to the satin-black painted chassis and various drivetrain components. A black vinyl upholstery job by Rivera’s in Flip’s hometown of Watsonville wraps things up accordingly—but the adventures of the Fordor are far from over … at least as long Flip’s able to keep the rubber side down!