THE CAR AND ITS OWNER: 1932 Ford B400 "Deucenberg" hot rod owned by Doug Cooper

WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: For over seven decades, American hot rodders have coveted the '32 Ford as the basis for some exceptional custom rides, from scruffy "rat rods" all the way up to finely crafted, unique, award-winning street rods, such as Cooper's "Deucenberg."  The name combines "deuce" -- the hot-rodder's term for the '32s -- with Duesenberg, considered the finest American car of the last century.  Cooper's Ford blends the same power and elegance, uniting a 405-horsepower Chevrolet LS6 V-8 engine and hand-built mechanicals with an unusually high level of craftsmanship and fine design throughout.  "This car is unique from bumper to bumper," says Cooper.  "It is like a '32 Ford, but nothing is the same.  It's a 100-percent, handmade, one-off designed car."  

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HOW LONG HE'S OWNED IT: "The build started in 2005 and was completed in February 2009," Cooper says. 

WHERE HE FOUND IT: "This project started with a very nice '32 Ford Tudor (two-door) sedan" found in Alabama, he says.  It was handed over to noted Alabama hot rod builder Alan Johnson, who retained very little of the original body.  Johnson redesigned the upper section to closely resemble the most valuable and rare original '32, known as the B400 convertible sedan.

CONDITION: "There are literally thousands of handmade parts," says Cooper.  "The body panels, tail lights, running boards, roof moldings, interior, suspension, engine parts, differential - almost every single part has been made, modified or improved in fit, finish or other detail."  There's a lift-off aluminum top covered in cloth and a rich leather interior done by another Alabama craftsman.  The custom front beam axle was machined on Long Island.  Cooper has retained the blueprints to show the complex major changes made to the body and highlight the "tremendous undertaking this project presented."

VALUE: The "Deucenberg" is insured for seven figures, he says.

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THE BOTTOM LINE: "I love '32 Fords," says Cooper.  "Currently, I own nine.  Our goal was to create the most elegant street rod ever constructed."  Top hot rod experts apparently agreed.  In 2009, Cooper's car received their highest and most prestigious honor, the Detroit Autorama Ridler Award.  He recently curated a special American hot rod exhibit that is now open for viewing through Oct. 31 at the Collector Car Showcase, 85 Pine Hollow Rd., Oyster Bay.