Book Review: ‘Deuce: The Original Hot Rod: 32 X 32’ By Mike Chase
It has been 85 years since Ford introduced the 1932 Ford to replace the Model A, and 54 years since The Beach Boys turned its name into something that would get stuck in your head at the slightest provocation. However, despite the car’s age, the Deuce Coupe still manages to capture the imagination and admiration of drivers today.
Enter, Deuce: The Original Hot Rod: 32 X 32, an unfortunately-titled but loving look at a wide variety of models of the car that made hot rodding the way it is.
Deuce: The Original Hot Rod: 32 X 32
By Mike Chase
Product Details: Hardcover, 224 pages, 9.75 x 12 inches
Publication Date: November 2016
Publisher: Motorbooks/Quarto Publishing
Deuce isn’t, as the cover might suggest, a history of the iconic 1932 Ford. Rather, it is a collection of images and descriptions of 32 deuce coupes that are being driven and restored today.
The author, Mike Chase, acknowledges that the body style and aesthetic appeal of each car is unique to the owner, and so the book covers four broad categories of car: Open Cars, Closed Cars, Racecars, and Commercial Vehicles.
Deuce is a hardback book with a dust jacket, with a front cover that pleasantly can open almost 180 degrees without appearing to stress the binding. Inside, each page is thick, gloss paper, which is fantastic for showing off the images but unfortunately causes a very minor problem turning the page if you have really dry skin (which, unfortunately, I do). If you are sitting directly under a light the glossy finish can cause a slight glare as well that makes reading a game of tilting the book back and forth, but since the text is hardly the point, it isn’t really a problem.
Deuce starts talking about each car with a two-page spread photo along with a very eye-catching title, and a column of text that runs next to the pictures for a page or two, followed by two pages or so of large pictures of the car.
While each component of that is amazing, with the text explaining the unique history of each interesting car and the photos pointing out the features that make each model special, I wish that instead of dumping all of the text in a thick column on the first two pages, it had been woven throughout the images to the end of the section. In that way, I would be able to better appreciate the care and personalization that went into each one, going from the text to the image and then back again.
Also, I really think that Mike Chase should have thought for a little while longer about his title. It is an unfortunate fact that anyone looking at that book that isn’t a superfan of the ’32 Ford is going to immediately think “hehe, deuce,” followed by it being dropped on someone’s desk with the joke “Don’t drop it in public!” or it being picked up with the joke “Hey look, I’m taking a Deuce!”
People are funny that way.
Those gripes aside, the photography is phenomenal. The photographer managed to get capture Ford against the same perfectly clean, white background, so each photo feels like it is being captured for display in a museum somewhere, and you can tell that each car was meticulously polished and made camera-ready before shooting.
The writing is also very good, in a conversational style that lets the author touch on technical details in such a way that will make sense to engineers and less-professional wrenchers out there, but that doesn’t turn overwhelming for readers that don’t know the terms. Really, the focus for each of these cars generally is the stories behind them, and those give the individual models even more personality.
All in all, despite my annoyance about the wall of text and the unfortunate title (honestly, you could have called it “Coupe” or even just “32”), if I knew someone who loved the Deuce Coupe, I would definitely get them this book, if only to drop in on their lap and crack an inappropriate joke.
Deuce is available through the publisher’s website, Amazon, and other retailers.
Product provided for review by the publisher.