To see slide show, click on image.
Photos by Peter Linney
The fiberglass bodied DECO RIDES Boattail Speedster is a true roadster with a bolt on windshield, no roll up side windows, and no top. We can custom build you a soft folding top or a lift off hardtop on special order. The Speedster is offered as a highboy (no fenders) or with your choice of two different full-fendered variations.
The Boattail Speedster body comes including a metal interior support structure in the cowl area and front door posts, in the rear door posts, and across the body behind the seat. The Speedster Kit bodies come with hung and latching doors, a hinged trunk, and includes firewall and floorboard bonded in position. The kit does not include fender metal braces, which are suggested and should be installed by the builder. Because not everyone uses the FATMAN FABRICATIONS frame, we do not offer standard fender braces.
You can order it as a kit car and build it yourself, or have it built at the shop of your choice. We can also build you a complete finished driving “turnkey” using a proven shop of our choice. Kit car bodies are available on short notice (30 to 60 days). FAT MAN FABRICATIONS has designed and builds a rolling chassis specifically for these bodies. His waiting list is approximately 60 days. Turnkeys require at least a nine-month time period, as they are built to your custom order and are built on a pay-as-you-go basis. Kit cars require a 50% deposit at the time the order is placed, and the 50% balance just before the finished body is ready for delivery.
In February 2009, we moved our fiberglass Boattail production to Webster, IN. The result is a higher quality product and far better customer service! It also offers lower prices than our previous fiberglass fabricator. Henceforth, DECO RIDES Boattail bodies will be constructed of hand laid fiberglass. This lay up will consist of 28 mils of gel coat followed by four layers of 1.5 oz cloth and 2 mm Coremat in areas that require it. No “chopper gun” fiberglass is used. Metal interior reinforcement built into the cowl and A-pillar area, the B-pillar area, and area across the rear of the passenger’s compartment is included. The doors come “hung” (hinged) with door latches and strikers installed. The decklid is hinged but not latched.
Carbon Fiber Boattail bodies are an option at a substantially higher price (available on request). These bodies will be built with a core throughout the entire body. All steel interior reinforcement will be replaced with structural composite panels and aluminum, including the hinges. The Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo, and Porche Carrera GT are built this way.
TURNKEYS: This involves the use a rod building shop of our choosing and can take in excess of 9 months to build, with pricing starting at an estimated $80,000 and up, depending on options. All Turnkeys are custom built to order with your choice of engine. Occasionally we sell one of our own turnkeys, often at selected collector car auctions. To give you an idea of the sale price of our finished Boattails, despite a weak economy, our most recent car (BUGNOTTI) sold for $203,500 at the Gooding and Co. Auction in Scottsdale, AZ in January 2009. Because of our experience in building turnkey Boattails, and because we use reasonably priced labor rates with experienced, honest builders, we feel we can build quality turnkeys at a lower cost than many rod shops.
HISTORY: Smitten by the incredible styling of Auburn Boattail Speedsters (1927-1936) in 1998, Terry Cook of DECO RIDES, saw a sketch in RODDERS JOURNAL by the industry’s top rod designer, and embarked on a six-year quest to build molds and manufacture the DECO RIDES BOATTAIL fiberglass bodies. The majority of the buck and mold building was accomplished by Mike Ball of northern Indiana. This is the same man who now builds our fiberglass Boattail bodies.
The sketch Terry Cook saw in RODDER’S JOURNAL that inspired him to tackle the boattail project.
HIGH RESALE VALUE
Using a Fat Man Fabrications chassis with a V-10 Viper engine, the first Gen One orange and white "Creamsickle" DECO RIDES Boattail Speedster (click to see slide show at top of page) was completed in July 2004. It sold for $137,500 at the RM Auction in Monterey, CA during Pebble Beach week to a Texas collector.
A second Gen One black and silver Boattail with enclosed pontoon rear fenders, powered by a Maserati V-8, was completed in June of 2005, and likewise sold at Pebble Beach in August 2005 for $121,000 to a different Texas collector.
A third fenderless Boattail (C5 Corvette based) was built as a Highboy, complete with real wood laminated on the top body surface to make it look like an old Chris Craft or Riva speedboat. Fully enclosed Gen Two pontoon fenders were added to that car in late 2006 and it sold at the Seabrook, TX John Kruse Auction in 2007 at the Keels & Wheels Concours for $117,000 to an Arizona collector.
The fourth DECO RIDES “BUGNOTTI” Boattail, a Gen Two model with Type 57 Bugatti grille, was sold Jan. 17, 2009 at the Gooding and Company auction in Scottsdale for $203,500 despite the weak economic climate. DECO has two other turnkey Boattail Speedsters currently under construction for future sale.
There’s an important message to be learned here. Today, 1932 and 1934 Ford roadsters rarely ever sell for $100,000 or more. Despite how much you pour into them financially when building them, because they are so “common” and so plentiful, anyone who can sell one for more than $40,000 is lucky. It’s a simple example of the law of Supply and Demand. Our DECO Boatails, because they are unique, have never sold at auction for less than $100,000. And if you spend a few more dollars for the Delahaye or Bugatti style grille shell, you increase the value and raise the selling price!
There is an important lesson to be learned in the above paragraph. The prices the above cars sold for at collector car auctions were all greater than $100,000 because the DECO RIDES Boattail is not just another ’32 or ’37 Ford. Common kit cars fetch “common” resale prices. The DECO Boattail has truly beautiful styling inspired by some of history’s best looking classics.
In addition to the roadster body, this includes a pair of enclosed “pontoon” style rear fenders. You have an option of leaving them enclosed or cutting a wheel well opening in the rear fenders to expose the rear tire if you so desire (See orange and white "Creamsickle" car in slide show at top of page). If using the enclosed rear “pontoon,” the fenders need to be removed in order to change rear tires, or you can build your car so they flip up and forward. Hardware for this flip rear fender trick is not included and is a do-it-yourself installation.
The Gen One rear fenders are different from the Gen Two fenders. By observing the photos you can see that the leading portion of the rear fender drops perpendicular to the ground, where the Gen Two fenders tuck and continue to roll under. The Gen One kit includes a one-piece "tilt type" front end with hood, side panels, grille shell with two open front fenders all bonded into one piece. The grille shell and grille for the Gen One car is a chopped and severely modified Auburn nose, and a bolt-in aluminum aftermarket grille is available as an extra cost option.
GENERATION TWO BOATTAIL SPEEDSTER KIT CAR
In addition to the roadster body, this includes four fully enclosed separate “pontoon” style fenders. They are distinguished by the fact that the leading edge of all fenders rolls under with a “pumpkin seed” or almond shape when viewed in profile. With the exception of the “muffin line” raised accent on the outside of all four fenders, the Gen Two fenders are copies of the classic Figoni & Falaschi Type 135 1937 Delahaye.
Gen One Boattail
Gen Two Boattail
The differences between Gen One and Gen Two Boattails are shown above: Gen One (top) comes with one piece tilt front end with open wheelwells. Leading edge of rear fender of Gen One comes down almost perpendicular to the ground while leading edge of Gen Two (bottom) rear fender rolls under with “almond” shape. Gen One car above (left) also has rear wheelwell cut to open position to show the tire (optional), but also can be delivered with no wheelwell opening. Gen Two front fender is fully enclosed pontoon hiding the tire.
The Gen Two Boattail can be purchased with a variety of noses. Where the severely chopped and trimmed down 1935-’36 Auburn nose is standard for the Gen One, the Delahaye style fiberglass grille shell is standard and comes with the Gen Two at no extra cost. The Gen Two Delahaye nose comes with a fiberglass hood, side panels, and grille shell that match up to the Gen Two pontoon style front fenders. Presently (April 2009) we are beginning the task of manufacturing grilles for the Delahaye nose, but they may not be available until Fall 2009. These will be hand made and are expensive, or we can suggest a metal shaper to make a replica Delahaye grille for you.
BUGATTI GRILLE SHELLS: Two optional replica Bugatti grille shells can also be used with the Gen Two Boattail. We manufacture a beautiful replica Type 57 Bugatti shell (in brass) and grille (in steel), but these are hand made and are expensive ($8,000 +, unplated). We are also working on a replica Type 57S Bugatti grille shell and grille, which will be far more reasonably priced. (Price of Type 57S shell and grille to come.) Both Bugatti shells require a custom made steel or aluminum hood top and side panels, which are not included with the kit. Either significantly increases the resale value of the car.
Fenderless Highboy Boattail Body with your choice of Gen One 1-piece chopped Auburn nose
or Gen Two 4-piece Delahaye nose.
No fenders included with Highboy ……$8,000 fob Webster, IN
Full fendered Generation One Boattail Speedster Kit……$10,500 fob Webster, IN
Full fendered Generation Two Boattail Speedster Kit……$10,500 fob Webster, IN
Note: Rolling chassis, windshield, grille, trunk latch, hood and hood side panel hardware and
fender braces are NOT included in Boattail Speedster kits.
WINDSHIELDS: Two different windshield frame options are available. The first is a cast brass Duvall-style V-d frame ($1,050 unplated, without flat glass) as shown on the orange car at top of this page.
The second, as shown on www.decorides.com/carsforsale_highbouy.htm can either be severely laid back as shown on the car with the wood deck, or can stand more upright as seen on the Bugnotti www.decorides.com/bugnotti.htm. It is a slightly curved windshield ($1,700 for a complete chrome plated frame and posts, with curved glass installed). An additional fiberglass piece ($125) that the builder needs to bond onto the DECO Boattail cowl to make this windshield fit is also suggested.
GRILLE: For Gen One Boattails, an aluminum aftermarket grille with polished face side, designed to fit the original style Auburn-style nose, is available for $720.
Price on the Bugatti Type 57 and 57S grilles and shells to come (inquire). The Bugatti grille shells require custom made aluminum hood and side panels (inquire for price).
ROLLING CHASSIS: Fat Man Fabrications of Charlotte, NC, is a respected manufacturer that has built thousands of chassis over the past 30 years. They offer a rear wheel drive rolling chassis (no wheels or tires) specifically made for the DECO RIDES rear wheel drive Gen One and Gen Two Boattail Speedster. The price is $9,015 f.o.b. Charlotte, NC.
It features 2 x 4 mandrel bent frame rails, 1 x 2 x .120 rectangular tube center supports/cross member assembly, front cross member of 3 x 4 x .310 tubing. The frame comes standard with Fat Man's Stage III coil over front end with polished stainless steel control arms, narrowed manual rack and pinion steering box, 11" Ford bolt pattern disc brakes, and 2" dropped spindles or your choice of standard height spindles. It includes the engine and transmission mounts for any popular Ford or Chevy combination (you specify). It has a triangulated 4-link rear suspension with coil over shocks supporting a new 9 x 63 inch Ford rear end with 28 spline axles. The gear set is optional. A set of ECI disc brakes for the rear are included. Other chassis upgrades are also available (brakes, air ride suspension, etc.) at additional cost. We recommend the power steering rack. Normal waiting time for a chassis is 60-90 days from the date your 50% deposit is received.
We’ve had a variety of engines in the Boattail, including a Maserati V8, a Chevy,
a BMW V-12 and a Viper V-10.