A Little Deuce Coupe and the Beach Boys
Clarence Catallo's 1932 Ford 3-window coupe.
There's a lot of '32 Ford Hot Rods in this world. In fact, with the amount of reproduction fiberglass and steel bodies that have been made, there may even be more of them now than in 1932! The popularity of these cars will never waver. I won't go so far as to say that the last Hot Rod on earth will probably be a Deuce Coupe, but one of the last two will be! The other Hot Rod will probably be a '40 Ford Coupe.
Very few of those other cars will be able to tell a story half as good as that of Clarence Catallo's Rod. You see, his is THE DEUCE COUPE. The one from the cover of the Beach Boys album by the same name.
The cover of the 1963 Album by the Beach Boys. Photo courtesy of: customrodder.com
Clarence bought the car from a gas station across the street from his parents grocery store in Allen Park, MI circa 1956. The car had already been a successful drag racer. As a result of that career, it was sectioned and channeled.
In 1959 Clarence would take the car to the Alexander brothers in Detroit, MI to be reworked. The car made a full appearance in the November 1962 issue of Popular Rodding magazine. (images in the gallery below. Courtesy of the Custom & Hot Rod Life vast historical archives:)
In 1960 Clarence moved to Long Beach, CA to go to college. As you would expect any Rodder to do, he got a job sweeping the floor at Barris Kustoms. He was talked into chopping the top on the car by Junior Conway. In exchange for having the work done to his car, Clearance did small jobs at the shop. Ironically, the chopped version of the car would make an appearance on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine in July of 1961. That's over a year before the pictures of the unchopped car appeared in Popular Hot Rodding.
Cover of the July '61 issue of Hot Rod magazine. Photo courtesy of: customrodder.com
George Barris, of Barris Kustoms, had just finished painting a group of 20 dune buggies for Capital Records around the time the Beach Boys were going to release a new album. In a great example of, "it's who you know" Capitol Records knew about Clarence's car and wanted to use it as the cover art for the album. A low angle shot from the Hot Rod magazine shoot would end up being picked, but Clarence was cropped out.
Interior shot. Photo from: customrodder.com
After moving back to Detroit and then graduating from college, Clarence sold the Deuce, in 1965, so he could buy a Porsche. Luckily Clarence's son, Curt, talked his father into tracking the car down and in 1998 they were able to purchase it. The owner they bought it from had even kept a lot of the old parts that had been changed around on the car.
at the Meadow Brook Concours in 2000. Photo from: customrodder.com
Unfortunately, Clarence passed away later on in 1998. His son and daughter we able to get the car restored, with the help of many that had worked on it in the past, just in time for the 2000 Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance. The car would win the People's Choice Award.
You'd be hard pressed to find a more famous '32 Ford Coupe! While the crazy custom type touches to this car aren't really traditional, it is a fabulous looking ride. The car is still in the Catallo family and the most recent information I can find on it says it was shown at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corner, MI in 2013. It was part of a year long display about the 1950s and 1960s.
Keep on Cruisin', everyone!
That was one wild ride! Love it? Hate it? Confused on how you got here and need
some directions on how to get back to the main road? Ask in the COMMENTS below!
And don't forget...
Art by: Chris Breeden