Thursday Trivia

Thirsday Trivia

Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars! 

This week’s question: What were all the performance features touted in the Beach Boys’ song Little Deuce Coupe?

If you think you know the answer, hum your way over the jump and see if you’re right.

LittleDeuceCoverThere are few musical groups more closely associated with Southern California’s Surf and Hot Rod scene than were the Torrance-bred Beach Boys.  The funny thing was, while their songs about riding the waves seemed to express an innate knowledge of the sport, only one member – drummer Dennis Wilson – had actually ever really been a surfer.

When it came to car songs, the other forte of the Beach Boys’ early work, they were also steeped in the right lingo, and at least if you go by this ad they did have some bona fides in the ownership department. One of their big hits that has since become a staple of Oldies radio was Little Deuce Coupe, a homage to a 32 Ford Model B with lyrics that read like a compendium of hotroddery.

It was co-written by Brian Wilson and radio DJ Roger Christian and dropped as the B-side of the group’s Surfer Girl single. According to Christian, who grew up in Buffalo New York, the ‘Deuce’ was the car to own when you were in high school back in the fifties, and the lyrics are like a wet dream of Deuce-dos.

Those included in the song are:

  • A flathead mill – 1932 (hence the ‘deuce’) was the first year of Ford’s V8
  • Ported and relieved – Intake and exhaust ports have been ground out and the space in the block between the valves and the cylinder has been opened up
  • Stroked and bored – Longer crack throws and bigger piston/cylinder diameters 
  • Competition clutch – Stronger springs or sometimes muti-plate
  • Four on the floor – Considered easier to shift in a drag than a column-mounted lever 
  • Lake pipes – side pipes, typically glass packs or open pipes

Also, while not a performance enhancement, the kicker is the lyric, and one more thing I got the pink slip, daddy. As we all know back in the day street racing was often a winner take all affair, the victor taking the loser’s pink slip (title) and hence their car. This lyric notes that the eponymous Deuce truly is the fastest set of wheel around.

From Lyric Freak (minor edits for correctness)

Little deuce coupe 
You don’t know what I got 
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 
(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. 
Shell do a hundred and forty with the top end floored 
She’s my little deuce coupe 
You don’t know what I got 
(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 aint 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 
(My little deuce coupe) 
(You don’t know what I got) 
She’s my little deuce coupe 
You don’t know what I got 
(My little deuce coupe) 
(You don’t know what I got) 
She’s my little deuce coupe 
You don’t know what I got

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