It's been quite a year for hot rodder Doug Cooper of Oyster Bay Cove, New York. Cooper's prized '32 Ford B-400 sedan "Deucenberg" has taken home hot rodding's two signature awards this season beginning with the Don Ridler Memorial at the Detroit Autorama before being named the Goodguys/Classic Instruments 2009 Street Rod of the Year at the Goodguys 12th PPG Nationals in Columbus, OH.
The story of Cooper's stunner is a tale of perseverance and pride. Built by the team at Johnson's Hot Rod Shop in Gadsden, Alabama the project took four years to complete under the watchful eye of team leader Alan Johnson. Every panel, line and seam on the car has been meticulously reworked and hand crafted in true coach-built fashion. To accentuate the superior metal work on the car, the Rodder's Journal recently published an entire layout of the car last year in bare metal.
The all-steel convertible sedan body features a stylized roofline (with an aluminum lift-off roof & cloth top) countless subtle body mods including suicide doors, a narrowed grille and cowls, angled A and B-pillars and even one-off bolts for the bumpers. It's all covered in custom mixed BASF Glasurit "Bordeaux" that appears to be a foot deep. Jon Wright Custom Chrome supplied the heavy load of plating while Paul Atkins Interiors stitched the tasteful leather upholstery. The chassis is traditional in layout with a beam axle in front and a live axle with coilovers at the rear - all flawlessly executed. "Deucenberg" rolls on the Dayton Triple Cross wire wheels with rims and hubs painted to match the car with polished stainless spokes. Under the hood lies a plated and polished 405-hp LS6 engine.
Longtime client and friend Bob Johnson, who won the 2007 Street Machine of the Year crown with his Johnson's-built "G-Force" 'Cuda gets credit for the cars moniker which cleverly blends the hot rod connotation of the "Deuce" (a common reference to 1932 hot-rodded Fords) and the early 1900's Deusenberg's from which the team took a lot of styling cues.
For Cooper, the entire four year ride of "Deucenberg" has been a life changer. "I'm so proud of the team that made this car happen," he said. "Alan's family and the team are truly incredible. They worked a minimum of 16 hour days, sometimes even 18 or even 20 towards the end to finish the car. Alan's wife Angie, his mother and the wives of the crew would bring us dinner while we all worked together. It was an amazing team effort."
This marked the second Goodguys/Classic Instruments Street Rod of the Year title for Johnson's Hot Rod Shop. The shop also built the 2007 Goodguys/Air Ride Technologies Street Machine of the Year.
The five finalist's for this year's Street Rod of the Year competition included Marvin Bok, Auburn, IN 1939 Ford Convertible, Chris Conly, Milan, MI 1933 Ford Convertible, Don Smith, Mansfield, TX 1932 Ford Sedan, Doug Cooper, Oyster Bay Cove, NY 1932 Ford B 400 Sedan and Frank Tetro, Melbourne, FL 1932 Ford