Cars and Car Songs... It's been 57 years!

Some of the more mature members/gear heads of Car Talk can remember when this song made its debut. We know all the lyrics and the meaning of all the lyrics, too.
Take a walk down memory lane and review the lyrics.

For the younger Cart Talk enthusiasts, review the music and lyrics and see if you know the meaning to the lyrics.

Let us know how you did.

Here’s the 1964 video link …
Little Deuce Coupe by the Beach Boys(LIVE) - Bing video

And here’s the song lyrics…
:notes: "Little deuce Coupe
You don’t know what I got

Well, I’m not braggin’, babe, so don’t put me down
But I’ve got the fastest set of wheels in town
When something comes up to me, he don’t even try
'Cause if I had a set of wings, man, I know she could fly
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got

Just a little deuce coupe with a flat head mill
But she’ll walk a Thunderbird like she’s standin’ still
She’s ported and relieved, and she’s stroked and bored
She’ll do a hundred and forty in the top end floored
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got

She’s got a competition clutch with the four on the floor
And she purrs like a kitten till the lake pipes roar
And if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid
There’s one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy

And comin’ off the line when the light turns green
Well, she blows 'em outta the water like you never seen
I get pushed out of shape, and it’s hard to steer
When I get rubber in all four gears

She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got
She’s my little deuce coupe
You don’t know what I got" :notes:

My understanding, as far as it goes:
deuce (2) coupe = 1932 Chevrolet coupe
flat head mill = the engine, but I don’t know what makes it a flat
head vs. ? Aren’t all cylinder heads flat on the bottom?
Thunderbird = Ford’s answer to the Corvette, 2 seater sports car
ported = material ground off around the valve seats to improve flow
relieved = ?
stroked = longer connecting rods for more stroke/displacement
bored = enlarged cylinder bore and bigger diameter pistons
lake pipes = a brand of exhaust header?
pink slip = ? (I don’t think he’s proud of being laid off.)

Deuce ciuoe-32 FORD
Flathead- valve in block, no valves in the head, no rocker arms or rocker arm shaft or valve covers so the head is flat on top.

Pink Slip- California registration, IN CA the plates stayed with the car, .Hot rodders used to street race for " pinks" the loser signed his registration and handed it and his keys to the new owner.

This song was obsolete when the beach boys sang it. It appealed to the hot rodders who were nostalgic for the days when the flatties ruled the strip and the street.
That era started to end in 49 when the Olds and Caddy overhead valve V8s came out and the 55 Chevy was the final nail in the coffin.

After that, flatties were only competitive in classes that banned overhead valve V8s.

The “Race of Gentlemen” is a race for flathead 4 and 8 cylinder engines. They will not let 6 cylinder engines in. I think they are afrair of losing to a 6 cylinder Plymouth Or worse yet having someone show up with a Hudson Hornet engine. :grinning:


Yeah I know what all that means and all my stuff was stock. The part about blowing the T Bird though, I dunno. In this months issue of Hemmings Classic Cars, there is an article on a guy restoring a 57 T Bird. Claims one of a few made with the race engine. Supposed to hit 160 mph but he’s only had it up to 140 himself. I remember our 57 Fairlane had the 120 MPH speedometer and asking dad if it would go that fast when I was 10. He said he didn’t know but thought it could. I remember him spinning the wheels if you hit the gas too much from a dead stop.

When they “walk a Thunderbird like it’s standing still”, I’m pretty sure they are talking about drag racing and specifically the hole shot. A deuce coupe could be made pretty light and a stroked and bored flathead could make up to 150 HP, or pretty close to that, so with 4.11 gears, it could be pretty quick. I don’t think that no matter what you did to a flathead, if you 4.11 gears, you were never going to hit 140, and with the solid front axle, leaf springs in front and kingpin steering, you probably would not want to either.

There was an option for a supercharger on the 312 engine in 57. I don’t know if it was available on the T-bird but I did drive a 57 Fairlane with the supercharger. It was a dog. You could get the dual quads on the T-bird though IIRC, but they drank a lot of gas.

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Here’s a simple drawing of a “flathead” engine, courtesy of Wikipedia:
My first car was a 1963 Rambler American with a flathead six. As you might expect it was never a performance machine, LOL. Water would sometimes accumulate in the recesses around the spark plugs and short them.

The now shuttered World of Speed museum in Portland Oregon had a flathead Ford V8 along with a 426 Hemi displayed on stands so you could see how they got their names. Didn’t survive the long shutdown but the collection is being distributed to other museums and schools.

Deuce coupe = 1932 Ford. Was that basically a Model A, or was it a newer design? If so, how was it different/improved?

Considered a new design instead of a update to the model A

Flathead means the valves are in the engine block as opposed to OHV (overhead valve) where the valve are in the head. Johnny Cash and the 49 Ford had flat heads.

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When I was a kid (ca.1960) I used to walk past a downtown Buick dealer that had been there forever. Their sign said Buick in the center and around the perimeter it said Valve In Head. So that was an innovation at some point, that Buick highlighted?

Yep, Buick was one of the earlier companies to use OHV, in their straight 8 in 1931:
Buick Straight-8 engine - Wikipedia

Model As ended in '31. The 32 Ford was a model B. Refined and redesigned but not revolutionary from the A.

Stroked, by the way, means the throw on the crank was longer. The rods needed to be shorter, or the pistons needed their pins raised. It made the engine larger, as does boring the cylinders.

As for top speeds… takes a ton of hp to get a Deuce to 140. Lots aero drag. A flatty won’t get it there unless the car gets severely streamlined.

Most cars speedos were pretty optimistic back in the day. Big blunt American cars need well over 450 net hp to even approach 140.

Just in case you have not heard this car song NRPS Hear tell some grateful dead members might be involved… Fifteen Days Under the Hood - YouTube

Original members of the grateful dead were also part of this band, including Jerry Garcia.
Another video from a concert in 1977

I knew the album version as posted, so memories make it better for me. Seems tighter and better.

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California vehicle titles were printed with pink ink, it was the vehicle title that they raced for, not the registration. In the movies they mix up registration with ownership titles. The registration is only good for one year, after expiration, how could it be renewed if the vehicle was titled to someone else?

I have heard California people from that era refer to blue Nevada titles as the “pink slip”, they don’t understand their own slang.

While we’re off track a little, the flat head reminded me of my neighbor’s 49 Ford flat head. He came home one night with a welder mounted under the hood that he had bought from a guy. Looked like just a big generator and had a second fan belt and a hand crank to tighten the belt. All of us kids went over there while he did a fast idle on the flat head and tried the welder out. Seemed to work.

Lake pipes - Exhaust pipes mounted under/by the rocker panels terminating by the front of the rear tires. Generally oversized pipes, with no muffler and perfectly positioned to leave a burn scar about 12" above your ankle if you’re careless getting out of the car.

And yeah, 140 mph sounds shall we say “optimistic” but running a what was even then mostly an antique, no mufflers, bias ply tires and no safety equipment sure sounded and felt like a rocket.
My older self still cringes at all the overtime we put our guardian angels through.

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Sorry for my confusion between California registration and titles. I lived in Western NY my whole life and NY did not issue titles back then. I don’t think we got titles until 1972. So in NY uf you raced where the loser lost the car, it would have been the registration.

I never raced for the car, only money. The races were usually point to point, not drag races. The longest one I was ever involved in was am a witness. A friend with a 56 Ford with 2 4 barrels,a hot cam and 2.72 rear end that he thought had a lot of top speed.
From Buffalo to NY city via the Thruway. He made the mistake of taking on a 57 Chrysler New Yorker. Once we left the toll booth, the Chrysler just disappeared in the distance. WE did not attempt to finish the race, just turned around in Batavia.