If you’re even remotely into cars and you own a TV, there’s not a night of the week that you can’t find some absolutely ridiculous reality show to waste your time on. Bad taste, botched custom jobs, painful banter, fake obstacles to overcome…it’s all bad and the worst of it seems to be coming out of Texas (look, Texas; seriously, if you want to secede from the Union that badly, we give in. Just do it, already. But, do yourself a favor and go international for a new flag designer. There are some great ones in California and New York, for instance).
But one show that has always got us glued to the toob is “American Pickers.” Dammit if Mike and Frank don’t make us want to drop everything on a Monday night, grab the truck keys and a pair of gloves and just go pickin’ for a living.
Now, one thing that fascinates us about the show is Frank’s undying love of cars and his consistent inability to make a good deal on one. Yeah, we know: it’s still a show and a good edit can turn “Pass the butter” into “I fucking hate you,” but we’re totally buying into the idea that the boys know more about antique Ford dealership signage than antique Fords. And we love that about them.
But did you see that episode a week ago? It was titled “Deuce Digging” and when we saw the teaser spots for it and glimpsed a roadster body being hauled out of some shed, we were all over that shit. OK, so we all know the deal, right? Mike and Frank go galavanting around the country, looking for “rusty gold,” dig it out, buy it low, sell it high. Got it. Good business model and we dig them for it. But we find ourselves literally yelling at the screen when they pass over real gold to get to some goofy papier machet mask that looks like Frank/Oliver Hardy.
So, let’s go through it, shall we? We shall…
This was a hot rod-themed episode, but we get the feeling the boys didn’t realize how deep that went. When they started digging through Ray’s outbuildings in southern Illinois, Mike spies an old longboard. In southern Illinois. But, OK – stranger things, right? But when he yanks the thing from its tomb and looks it over, our jaws dropped on the close-up shot of the brand…
A Dale Velzy. HOLY SHIT. And for $150.00? Dale Velzy was not only one of the great surfers and shapers of mid-century America, he was also a well-known hotrodder and all-around car guy. The Hawk was one of the firsts to fuse surf culture and car culture together and paved the way for much of what we love about both. Even with a snapped-off D-fin, this Velzy looked to be in great shape. Unbelievable.
Hey, boys…neat board, but it’s got a busted fin. We’ll do you a solid and take it off your hands for $225. Howzat sound?
And then, they find a tidy little pile of gold bricks in another shed. OLD CARS. And old Fords, at that. Now, remember what we said: these guys have admitted over the seasons that they know enough about vintage tin to be dangerous. But Mike sees that roadster body leaned up against a wall and he did well to realize it was worth something.
And, turns out ol’ Ray was a hotrodder from way back. Who paints Yogi and Boo Boo on the door of a ’40 Ford pickup? Bitchin! So, he knew what he had, but he also had this stuff stashed for a long fucking time, judging by the dust strata. The stars are lining up…
Mike, don’t let Frank look at this thing too closely. Remember the yellow Model A with the ’80s-era resto? Yeah. Keep the Bearded Charmer away from this one.
And then, we stop cold once more when we see a corner of what Mike has to crawl over to get back to the sunlight: is that a molded-in visor on a…
…again, we say “HOLY SHIT.” Frank, don’t even look at it. Just keep hauling that other junk out into the yard. That’s a
’32 Model A Ford Victoria you’re amblin’ past. And, what is that – a ’32 or ’33 Ford pickup? Just keep walking toward the light…
Yep. If you two don’t make an offer on at least that Vicky, we’re gonna call you out on some other shit we noticed.
Wait – you’re not gonna make a move on the go-kart, either? OK, THAT’S IT. You two have left us with no choice…
Mike, you can’t go off using phrases you’ve heard around hotrodders that just sound cool, while you don’t have a firm grasp on the context, buddy. ‘Specially on national TV. You can’t go spouting off shit like “three-quarter cam” and “gotta go through the motor” and, in this case, “chopped and channeled” when it comes to this obviously-yet-mysteriously-modified roadster body.
We’re actually surprised that ‘ol Ray didn’t correct you on it. On the other hand, you’re buying a bunch of stuff, so what might he care, right? So, we’ll take the opportunity to do exactly that. Because, well, we’re hotrodders. And hotrodders never miss a chance to correct somebody on something. Now, “chopped” usually refers to a coupe or some other roofed car body that’s had a few inches liberated from the height between the top of the door sill and the top of the roof. But that has nothing to do with a hot rod roadster built in the Fifties. Why? Well, because there is no roof to chop. Hence, no such thing as a “chopped roadster.” You could get technical on that shit and say that the windshield’s been chopped (which this one is definitely sportin’), but we don’t think you knew that. And that’s OK. And by the way, we totally dig the placement of what we’re guessing is a pair of ’50 Buick taillights or something similar. NEAT.
And, about that “channeled” thing: Channeling is the process of lowering a body down over its frame rails in an effort to lower the height and overall profile of the car. You can’t talk about channeling a car when only talking about the body – a roadster body, in this case – without talking about the frame and usually the entire car, but we noticed that the firewall’s been cut at the bottom and the shortened grille would lead us to believe that it was definitely a channeled car. We’re gonna let you slide on this, Mike.
SO COOL. We just dig the hell outta this roadster. The boys got the “deuce” thing right: it’s a slang term for a 1932 Ford – a one-year-only body style that was commonly used to build hot rods because they were plentiful and cheap in post-WWII America. And the fact that this one has the doors leaded-in makes it that much bitchiner. That old lead – and we do mean the lead that’s been outlawed in just about everything these days – is clearly visible in the bodywork on this thing. In the days when this roadster was modified into a hot rod, lead was the body filler of choice to make changes or repairs to original sheetmetal contours. We’ll say it again: SO COOL.
Mike, don’t let Frank get too close to it. Remember what happened with that Plymouth coupe he found in Maryland? Yeah, exactly.
Overall, the boys did well: picked up the roadster body with molded-in doors and decklid, firewall, windshield and grille with grille shell for $2000. Mike snapped up that Velzy board, too. But they crawled all over that Vicky and the pickup to get to that roadster with nary a squint. WTF, you guys?!? That Vicky looked like a complete car and that molded-in visor is something we’d want to find out more about, too. Mike, your producers got it right when they fed you the production numbers for the Deuce roadster: there were only a few more than 12,000 built. Which makes a gennie-steel one rare. But there were less than 7,000 ’30 Model A Vickies ever built! Damn, dude! The kind of profit they’da made from flipping the Vicky and the truck woulda paid for the hot rod build.
Strategery, boys: don’t drop the ball when you come across a honey-hole like this
triple double threat of Deuces. Matter of fact, just bring us along and we’ll take care of you. We work for burgers and decent bourbon…