Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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MYSTERY VICKY – MICHAEL DESKINS 1931 FORD VICTORIA

Sometimes when growing up in the shadow of passionate parents who have pursued their own dreams with success, offspring can go one of two ways; follow in their footsteps or vamoose in the opposite direction. Luckily Michael Deskins chose to embrace his father’s hobby come profession and excel in his chosen vocation. 

By his own admission Michael was a ‘Valla baby’! For those of you that don’t get the gist, the Valla Park Rod Run has become like rodding folklore to many Australian likeminded families. For nearly four decades it has been the premier pre-’49 event in NSW and the place to debut your new rod or just catch up with old mates. It has also been responsible for many second and third generation relationships that have progressed into the commitment of marriage. Stepping back for a moment Michael says; “Hot rods are all that I know! Dad was a spray painter and beater by trade and was happy to pass on the torch. He didn’t try and sway me in any way,” he concludes.

After finishing year 10 Michael left school, had a week’s holiday and started his apprenticeship as a spray painter. Unfortunately for his son, Wally had changed gears in his own employment status and had sold his shop to become the proud owner of a wrecking yard. To achieve a well-balanced grasp on the trade, Michael spent his first two years in one shop and completed his remaining tour of duty in another.  Back at the wrecking yard, Wally used his down time building hot rod chassis’s in one of the back sheds to keep his mind and hands occupied, which would become the catalyst for C&W Components in later years. 

“My first car started out as a Model A stretched limo,” Michael casually tells me, like that’s normal. “It was ordered for Crown Casino from one of the last bodies that dad brought in from the States. It was almost completed before they canned the order. It sat in etch primer for about 10 years, but he kept it for me until I was keen enough. I was 15 when we started to put it back to factory length, chopped the top and filled the roof. It ran a 350 small block, turbo 400, Borg Warner diff, and I had it finished when I was 18. I remember the thrill of taking it to Valla for the first time with a mate riding shotgun. We got there on Tuesday and sold it on Wednesday. I had to hitch a lift back home but the offer was too good to refuse.” 

With a pocket full of folding cash Michael started putting together a pretty nice ‘32 roadster before marriage and all those other distractions took hold. After meeting his wife Danielle at the 2002 Yamba Rod Run and life taking on a new direction, the roadster was sold in 2005 after two years on the road. Plans were set in place to build a family hot rod for daughters Ava and Emme.

Growing up with Wally’s two Ford Victoria’s the uncommon Ford body style was well engrained into Michael’s thought patterns. Michael studied old photographs of his dad’s previous rare steel rods which fuelled his head with plenty of ideas and he took the best of both to create his own version of the handsome Ford. 

By this time Wally had already established C&W Components and the decision to produce their own new body design wasn’t such a daunting task. Starting with an existing body shell, Michael proceeded to re-invent the wheel, so to speak, and channel the fibreglass ’31 Model A shell over a chassis designed for a ’32. The body itself was recipient to a host of modifications including a ’32 firewall, XF Falcon ribbed roof insert that correctly matches the original crown and is now 1” lower than stock, and raised rear wheels arches. A ’32 sedan windscreen lets occupants observe the 3” stretched hood over a raised cowl that fits neatly around a 2” chopped deuce grill. Michael didn’t stop with just the body in his pursuit of individual refinements, taking the knife to all four corners of the fenders. The re-contoured ‘32 guards play visual tricks to make the casual observer think that the Audi Red rocket is closer to the pavement than it actually is. “Most people think that it’s air bagged but it’s not,” Michael says with pride, “I didn’t want a low car that had to pick its skirt up whenever you wanted to actually drive it!”

One of the defining elements of this car is that Michael made it his objective to use only parts produced by C&W and their affiliated suppliers as a testament to their workmanship and capabilities, and this starts from the ground up. The young protégé was certainly an astute student when looking over dad’s shoulder for all those years and now brings his own style and skills to the table. The frame that resides under the well balanced Vicky started life as a pair of deuce rails that seamlessly envelope all the traditional top shelf hardware one has come to expect in the modern era of car craft. Fully supported in the C&W jig, the rails were boxed before the 4” dropped I beam was added to the transverse front spring and So-Cal Speed Shop shocks. Locating the Ford tank Fairlane diff is a stainless triangulated four bar that is fully adjustable with Aldan coil over shocks ultimately kept in check with an anti roll bar from TCI. At all four corners of the superb frame you will find disc binders that are activated by a boosted Corvette master cylinder for peace of mind when you stomp on the slow pedal.

Attached to the go pedal is an ultra reliable Ford 302 Windsor that was treated to a few goodies from Holley and a rebuilt C4 auto. A Gennie shifter makes good use of the stage 2 shift kit and high stall converter. Although the small block Ford was put together for many trouble free miles its also easy on the eyes with minimalistic dress up gear and a neat set of headers that exit through 2 ½” mandrel bends that have been ceramic coated and muzzled by a pair of stainless mufflers. 

Inside the modified Vicky, Sid Jameson was let loose with Millennium Coal leather from Italy which he massaged and stitched over a pair of Glide bucket front seats and handmade rear. The timeless wide pleats extend into the door trims and the neat inner firewall cover. Premier plush charcoal carpet ticks the box for practicality underfoot while the suede headliner above offers a different contrast in texture. A complement of Lokar door handles and window cranks add highlights to the monotone interior while the exterior colour matched ’32 three window dash is a welcome splash of colour. Billet Specialties were selected for the stylish steering column and Outlaw tiller while Dolphin got the nod for engine management duties. Long time family friend Fred Porada routed the Ez Wire loom throughout the Vicky connecting juice to 7” headlights placed on ’34 stanchions that are incorporated into the fenders and a pair of ’32 taillights that have also seen their fair share of reconfiguring.

Bringing the entire package together are the large diameter Legacy wheels from Billet Specialties that fit snuggly under the fenders. Federal Supersteel 17” and 18” hoops keep the bling bits off the tarmac as the 16 gallon ’32 fuel tank is drained regularly. 

“We stand by our product and there is no better way to show it than drive your own,” reasons Michael. Taking home “Pro’s Pick” from the 2013 ASRF Nationals doesn’t hurt either.

Just after we wound up our photo shoot I was informed that Michael had received another offer he couldn’t refuse, and now the Vicky is parked in a new garage. I really look forward to what’s next out of the C&W workshop, as I will bet my bottom dollar that it’s another knockout from this innovative father and son team. 

Certified vacuum infused technician, certified welder, trade qualified spray painter and now just about to be credited with a ticket in fibre glassing manufacture; Michael is well armed with an abundance of skills, talent and passion to tackle any project he puts his mind to.

BY DALE HABERFIELD, PHOTOS MILLBROOK STUDIO, FULL FEATURE CRUZIN #162.

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