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Digging up the Dough

Digging up the Dough


The hot rod that Deaner Probst calls “Little Dough” is a Rip Van Winkle car that was built over a half century ago and taken out of mothballs just a few years ago. Probst found the 1933 Ford cabriolet in 1957. Deaner recalls, “The body was all screwed up.” He dragged it home and worked on it through that winter. By 1958, Deaner and his wife were driving it as their second car.

In 1959 that Deaner took the ‘33 to a show, where it took first place. He was then invited to other events and that started a series of trips to other car shows. Eventually, the Ford wound up at the National Hot Rod Assoc. (NHRA) nationals where it won a second in class. In 1962, Deaner took it back to the nationals and won first place in his class.

 In 1963, Deaner and the car appeared on the cover of one of Petersen Publishing Co.’s Spotlite Books called Custom Hot Rods, which was put together by the editors of Rod & Custom magazine. The Ford also made the cover of an issue of Rod & Custom. After Little Dough won at the nationals, Midwest kustom kar show promoter Ray Farhner rented it for a year to display at his shows. By the time the car was given back to Deaner, it had noticeably deteriorated. He still drove it a few more years, then put it away in a shed for the next 30 years.

About 10 years ago, Rod & Custom ran a picture of the old cover showing the ’33 Ford. Deaner’s friends in Florida saw it and told him to write in to say he still had the car. The editors ran his letter with a memo saying, “You should quit watching the Green Bay Packers and make the car look like it did years ago.”

Deaner had been through some heart-related medical problems and thought that fixing the car up would be good therapy. Since then, it has been shown alongside Barris and Starbird creations and driven to local cruises. “I show it basically as a feature cars,” notes Deaner. “At 77, I’m getting a little too old to drive it too far.” He says that wherever he goes, the car is well received.

The ’33 Ford cabriolet is powered by a ’51 Chrysler 331-cid “Firepower” Hemi fitted with four Stromberg 97 carbs and hooked to a ’39 Ford three-speed gearbox with a truck adapter on back for an open drive shaft. Deaner built the intake manifold, the exhaust manifold and the exhaust system. He “zeed” the frame, channeled the body and upholstered the car. The full wheel discs are a Pontiac item with spinners added. The car is built like a ‘50s hot rod.

The front grille is fabricated of expanded metal with dresser drawer pulls on it. The rear end styling came about as the result of an accident in which Deaner bumped into something while backing the car off a trailer. He and his friend Vern Cletes, who owned a body shop, worked day and night to make the oval rear grille out of a Pontiac bumper valance that’s turned around.

 “Vern cut things apart and I tried to weld them back together,” Deaner explained. “Because every time I’d make a mistake, he’d smash it apart and make me start over again.”


Who says “old school” hot rods didn’t have lots of chrome?


“Little Dough” gets admiring looks at every car show it’s entered in.


Deaner Probst is in the upholstery business and trimmed the car himself.


The rear end styling was prompted by an accident.


The engine is an “Firepower” Chrysler Hemi with lots of chrome goodies.