Doane Spencer was one of those rare talents whose contributions to the car culture were of a truly pioneering nature. The Southern California native was a giant in the postwar SoCal Rodding scene, building, racing and constantly developing the 1932 Ford Roadster he bought as a teenager before the war and that has long been recognized as an all-time classic. The story of Spencer’s famed ’32 Hi-Boy leads directly to another Hot Rodding legend, Pete Chapouris of Pete and Jake’s Hot Rod Parts and SoCal Speed Shop fame, who was asked to restore the car in the mid-1990s shortly before Spencer’s passing. Chapouris completed this bittersweet task—he and Spencer had become friends over the years—in time for the car to win the Class R Historic Hot Rods class at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. In the early 1990s, Spencer had begun work for his friend, Darrell Brunn, on an updated version of his famous roadster, one that would follow in the first car’s footsteps while benefiting from the more than four decades of experience, innovation and design Spencer had amassed since those early days.
Spencer had already designed the car and begun building it when he passed away in 1995, and Brunn then put it under wraps for the next 10 years before selling it to Kirk White. It was then acquired by Florida collector Dennis Higginbotham, who delivered it to Pete Chapouris at SoCal to once again uphold Spencer’s legacy. This was no casual decision; Higginbotham’s personal investment in completing Spencer’s master work finally totaled a cool $1.3 million.
The Spencer II was also a labor of love for Chapouris, who spent countless hours poring over the unfinished details of the car as it slowly took form, trying to “feel” his way into communing with his departed friend’s spirit with the aim of finishing it as Spencer would have had he lived long enough. In fact, it took a dedicated three-man team working full time for 15 months to achieve their goal of realizing Spencer’s vision.
The result is virtual perfection, a piece of automotive art that serves as a window on a Hot Rodder’s heart. Eschewing the chrome and sparkle typical of the breed, the Spencer II uses an original all-steel body and is loaded with touches that point to its creator’s true calling as a racer and engineer. The stainless-steel headers sprouting from the dyno-tested Roush 289/405 HP engine still bear their welding seams; the hand-forged steering links and independent front suspension are mounted out in front of the radiator for minimal polar moment, and custom scoops direct cool air to the rear hub bearings—the many race-oriented details invite hours of contemplation. Even the car’s rear axle housing and 4-speed manual transmission are one-off Doane Spencer creations.
The quality of materials and finish that surround the Spencer II’s lucky occupants would make any artisan smile with admiration. The smell of private-aircraft-quality Saddle leather fills the cockpit. Details are subtle and clean: flawless stitching, taut surfaces on upholstery and metal alike; a 4-spoke steering wheel beautifully rendered in aluminum and exotic Bubinga and Ebony woods; and an engine-turned dash that is home to an impossibly rare set of Stewart Warner gauges of a type originally used in 1930s Brockway trucks.
Doane Spencer’s creation may have been left to others to complete, but it has nonetheless taken its rightful place at the top of Rodding’s hierarchy, amassing multiple magazine features and covers, prizes and media appearances, and twice winning its class at the Grand National Roadster Show, the 2007 and 2008 AMBR Outstanding Class Award, and the 2008 AMBR Outstanding Engineering Award.
Arrangements to purchase this vehicle can be made directly by contacting Mecum representative Rob Williams by phone or text at (262) 236-7705 or by email at email@example.com.