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Model of Excellence

The Fuller “Double Down” might not be the first all-wheel-drive ’32 Ford Roadster in existence, but with an 850 horsepower, 576-cubic-inch motor and Indycar suspension, it’s certainly the meanest.

1932 All-Wheel-Drive Ford Roadster

Even by one-off build standards, the Fuller hot rod looks more a work of art than the work done by a custom motorcycle builder and his posse. The craftsmanship offers a glimpse into the OCD build process that took thousands upon thousands of man-hours to create the “Double Down” hot rod.

 

Bryan Fuller is no stranger to the custom automotive scene. Currently on Velocity with “Naked Speed” and formally working alongside Chip Foose—among other TV spots—Fuller pushes innovation and style to the max with his motorcycles and, occasionally, his car builds. His animation is contagious, even over the phone, where you get a sense of his excitement reverberating through the speaker when he’s talking about dialing in a fully custom build. Fuller explains, “[The] nice thing about hot rods is they’re about as close to a motorcycle build as you can get. You get to see the mechanicals.” He continues, “That’s what really draws me to hot rods. Same with motos, you know: The motor is part of the visual identity of the vehicle.”

Exterior Exterior Exterior Exterior

Exterior

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“It’s not exactly a car that you go and tinker around in,” Fuller excitedly points out. He continues, “It’s a racecar. It was built as a racecar. You get it out on the street and it’s no different than taking a Formula 1 car or a dragster on the street. It will do the street, and it’s probably fine, but you have 900 horsepower and big tires and you’re like “let’s do this!”

 

At 850 horsepower, it’s a wicked little ’32. Initial estimates put it at 2,500 pounds wet, and when combined with all-wheel drive you don’t need to use your imagination much to get an idea of the potential.

 

 

In the 90s, Car & Driver tested a similarly setup ’32 Ford Roadster nicknamed the Quadradeuce and the acceleration results were on par with the McLaren F1. Though the Double Down has no official numbers yet, Fuller suggests that’s about to change in the near future.

Powertrain Powertrain Powertrain

Powertrain

Hidden behind the formed sheet metal of the hood lurks a massive 576-cubic-inch Jon Kaase Boss 9 engine. For all intents and purposes, this is a racing engine. The Boss 9 is an homage to the legendary Boss 429 homologated for NASCAR use back in the late ’60s. This updated block utilizes a 4340 steel crankshaft, 4340 forged connecting rods and diamond-forged pistons. “We thought originally it would get around 1,000 horsepower, but we went for a milder cam to make it more streetable,” Fuller admits. “The intake valves on that thing are like two inches!”

 

Completing the powertrain is a G-Force GF-2000 clutchless five-speed. This thing is overkill for a street car, and in the “Double Down,” it’s no exception. There’s no easing into gear; instead, as Fuller explains, it’s an old-school drag-racing transmission, and it wants to pull itself into gear. As animated as ever during our interview, he goes on: “It’s not like a little Honda, like ‘ding, ding, ding,’ going into gear. When you drive it, it’s like ‘wraaaaappppppp, wraaapppppppp, wommmmmmpppp!’”

 

“I’m worried to take it out…I’m afraid I’ll never come home!”

Suspension Suspension Suspension Suspension Suspension

Suspension

Packaging became the biggest hurdle of the time spent manipulating the sheet metal during the project. Fuller didn’t want to compromise the design of the ’32, so instead he flew in friend Nick Garfias who is currently a designer at Oakley and formerly of Mercedes-Benz. Over the course of a two-day design sweat session using tape, markers and whiteboards, they nailed down a design that would keep the ’32 true to its roots but would furtively house the massive big-block.

 

“The ’32 Ford is one of the best designs ever, and to mess with that was a real struggle—it weighed on me a lot,” Fuller acknowledges. “[Nick] helped me get through some hurdles, because when you look at them for a couple years, it gets tough. At the end of the time spent together, we were like ‘Yeahhh, oh yeahhh!’”

Interior Interior Interior Interior

Interior

Having friends in the industry leads to some benefits that money can’t buy. The reason the “Double Down” is so visually appealing can be traced back to that front end. The Indycar-style pushrod suspension almost looks normal, like it belongs there in the first place. This is the result of not just packaging but the ability to make sure the scrub radius would work properly with the AWD and massive 14.5-inch Goodyear Eagle race slicks all around. Similar to Ken Block’s Hoonicorn, getting the scrub radius correct wasn’t easy.

Details Details Details Details

Details

Once again, Fuller reached out to friend Kyle Tucker at Detroit Speed and an industry colleague over at Ford Motor Company who is an advanced powertrain engineer and could help guide the hot rod in the right direction. “Against the wishes of a couple people in the shop, I was intent on getting the A-arm of the suspension, ARP bolts and the coilovers inside of the hood,” Fuller recollects.

 

The project originally called for 15-inch magnesium sprint-car wheels; however, in order to fit brake components, hubs, drive axles and the other suspension components, they turned to Speedway Engineering hubs and 16-inch Real Racing Aluminum Wide 5 wheels to fit everything inside. “The way they attach [in the front] isn’t the same as it is on the rear,” Fuller explains. “The way they use it on a full floater for circle track and sprint works, but when you use it for the front, the attachment points, they just aren’t the same that you’re looking for.” He continues, “So we had to make our own hubs and half shafts.”

Extras Extras Extras Extras

Extras

Inside the beautifully minimalistic tub lies the basic instruments, a steering wheel and shaft ensconced inside a column emulating a machine gun, Spartan bucket seats, and switchgear reminiscent of early WWII fighter planes. It’s simple with finessed, hand-painted accents offering the only color splash inside.

 

Hot rods offer the builder and customer a window into the past. Their bare-bones approach to motoring leaves nothing to the imagination (with the exception of a 576-cubic-inch motor under the hood) and instead gives relatively straight information to observers. Hot rods give you a chance to experience the mechanical artistry that’s apparent at the surface of the build, all while giving you the chance to draw inspiration from their model of building.

 

1932 Ford Roaster Fuller 'Double Down' Hotrod Specs:

Design: Bryan Fuller and Nick Grafias

Engine: 576 cu. in. Kurt Urban Prepped Jon Kaase Boss 9

Power: 850 HP

Wilson Manifold & throttle body

Transmission: G-Force GF-2000 clutchless 5-speed

Radiator:  Griffin Radiator

Fasteners: ARP Bolts

Transfer Case: GM NP149 Magnesium Case rated 1000 ft. lbs.

Rear End: Winter’s Quickchange with 4 Link

Front Drive: Winter’s Independent Quickchange

Wiring: American Autowire

Interior: Custom Fuller Buckets with John Whitaker Leather

Wheels: 16” X 10” Real Racing Aluminum

Front Susp: Custom A-Arms & Hubs with RideTech Coilers

Rear Susp: Custom 4 Link, Torsion Bars and RideTech Shocks

Paint: Chastin Brand, Tim Garner, and Bryan Fuller

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