There’s no such thing as a production line hotrod. Every one of these unique machines has been built by someone, be it a solo effort in a garage over many weekends or by a team of professionals in a purpose built premises. But don’t always assume the person behind the wheel is the builder, some rod owners prefer to appreciate the machine that has been built by others. This by no means takes anything away from the rod owner as they themselves still love the hot rodding scene, know their way around these unique cars of craft and simply prefer to spend their time enjoying the hot rodding scene in a machine that just ticked all the right boxes for them. If the glove fits, wear it!
Lee’s Volkswagen red 1932 coupe ticked all the boxes for him! “Basically my wife and I were looking to buy a car , I like the muscle cars, 69 Camaros, that sort of thing but Marie’s not a fan so we started looking around at rods located in Queensland but saw this one advertised locally. My wife wanted a convertible and I’m like this is Melbourne not Queensland, when would we use it plus most roadsters don’t have much in the way of windows. Phil Peiper was really good, He said come and have a look and a drive and even if you don’t buy it, you’ll have more info for when you go to Queensland. He was a really good guy! I rang him the next day to tell him I’d take it and he was very subdued on the phone. I asked him if he was ok and he said, “after you left, I thought why I even am selling it and then you ring back the next day to say you’d take it.”
Lee’s no stranger when it comes to the automotive scene. A diesel mechanic by trade, he cut his teeth as a teenager working on everything from dirt bikes through to his first wild ride at 15 in 1979, an EH Holden with a blown up SBC and Muncie box. “My mate was in the Bay Rodders and we used to do our own head work so we rebuilt the 327 in it and used to sneak out at night and go drag racing in it out the back of Rye. But i sold that when I was 17 and 9 months because I was hanging for a license so i sold it to pay for a bike license. After that, I had 3 GTs plus a bunch of other Fords and Holdens. Then I got into drag racing with a big block injected altered running a best of 8.2 secs.” Lee’s other interest is guitars as he finds them to be a great stress relief when he’s not building Harley motors for himself and his mates.
This Deuce custom body on a Rod City chassis was first conceived 13 years ago by Phil, a rod builder from way back. A metal fabricator by trade, all Peiper’s rods are built with a huge huffer on top and his current creation is a cool, old school roadster with numerous custom made aluminium accessories bolted to the black 34 body looking like a salt flats racing machine but let’s get back to Lee and wife, Marie’s new acquisition!
Running a strong Dougans built 350 Chevy filled with all the good gear including a solid cam, Dart alloy heads, Bob Fisher blower and twin custom modified 600 Holleys, this coupe has more than enough power available to ensure it can get up and go but has been sensibly turned down for road use with the blower running a conservative 13% underdrive. “It’s just the right package for this car without being too mental” says Lee who’s messed around with his fair share of engines throughout his life.
The T400 and 3’500 stall converter work well with the nine inch rear end but Lee has plans in the near future to swap out the Detroit locker with a more road friendly diff center. Holding the diff in place is a four link with adjustable coil overs while up front is a polished I beam axle held in place with hair pin and a single elliptic leaf spring. “It handles quite well on the country roads with this setup” quips Lee. Running only 13 psi in the rear street/ strip rubber on the 10 X 15 inch Convo Pros helps hold the fully fendered rod on the black top while discs up front and GT drums on the rear bring the whole show to a timely stop.
An old school style fuel tank mounted at the rear assisted by an electric fuel pump housed in the boot along with the battery feeds the monster motor its pump fuel while an Aussie Desert Cooler radiator helps maintain the correct engine temp. “She’s a thirsty motor” exclaims Lee, “it takes me two tanks of fuel to travel to Melbourne and back and that’s just cruisin!”
The red on red interior was stitched up by an upholsterer in Melton with the tough but accessible amenities complimenting the tough twin carb view through the chopped screen. The Ididit chrome column and wheel maintain road direction while a full set of gauges, mostly Chevy emblazoned except one, the Ford emblazoned tacho(“my mates give me shit about that!”) help Lee keep an eye on the essentials. There’s a Smiths heater box but it’s not hooked up and for good reason too! “”When I saw it, I said to Phil, oh cool, it’s got a heater which he responded with “take it from me mate, the last thing you’re gonna need in this car is a heater and he’s right!” thanks to the 3 inch twin exhaust system.
The plans for this red rocket is to keep it and use it! “”It’s a good thing for me and Marie. She loves it. The whole family loved the drag racing but that was hard work whereas with the rod, we can go cruisin, and I’ve met so many people that I haven’t seen in years since the drag racing days.” And as for buying a ready built ride? “Phil’s done really well with this rod. It looks tough, goes good and you can drive it all day without a worry.” One man’s pride can always be another man’s treasure!