CHASSIS NO: 182885920
• Beautiful one-off Art Deco-style custom with modern day conveniences
• Built by Terry Cook of Deco Rides and DELAHAYE USA
• 19 year-long-project from conception
• 502-cubic-inch Chevrolet V-8; automatic transmission
• Equipped with air-conditioning, power steering and power disc brakes
502 cid ‘Big Block’ Chevrolet V-8 engine, four-speed Chevy turbo 400 automatic transmission, Fat Man Fabrications custom steel chassis, power steering , 9-inch Ford rear end, power-assisted disc brakes; wheelbase: 135”
Known as the Art Deco era, the 1920s and ‘30s are responsible for producing some of the finest works of art on wheels, automobiles that near perfection but are only missing one common thing. That common missing factor are the creature comforts and performance of the modern day. Looking to bridge the gap between the two, automotive stylist Terry Cook founded Deco Rides, as well as DELAHAYE USA. Originally starting his professional career as a successful automotive journalist by day and hot rodder at night, Cook eventually began manufacturing his own car designs in the early 1990s. His first of many successes to come started with his 1939 Scrape Zephyr, a unique twist to the Lincoln Zephyr that also had all the modern-day conveniences. He would go on to sell that car for an astounding $275,000 at auction, and thus, Terry Cook and Deco Rides instantly became world-renowned.
In 1999, Cook was at the Louis Vuitton event in New York City displaying one of his own creations when he first saw the Maharaja Duesenberg being displayed at the same event. He was instantly captivated by its long swooping, yet striking lines which inspired Cook to create this extremely unique one-off custom known today as the “Maharaja Special”.
Wanting to make sure he built it exactly like he envisioned, this project took 19 long carefully planned out years from start to finish. His nearly two-decade long quest started by looking for a body man for the job; fitting the part was talented hot rod builder and fiberglass whiz Ed Flanagan of Mendham, New Jersey. A rectangular steel chassis from Fat Man Fabrications, nine-inch Ford rear axle, and independent front suspension were used as the base of the build. Flanagan used one of Cook’s Zephyr’s fiberglass convertible bodies as a basis but, looking to fit Cooks’ vision, he had to remove the hood, fenders, and firewall forward. Next up was Brent “Fat Man” VanDervort tasked to come up with the rest of the body. The outcome was building fiberglass fenders and hanging them directly over the front axle, as well as fabricating a steel hood and side panels for the body. Between the two, the outcome was a bespoke custom with beautiful lines and proportions all around. A truly elegant and show-stopping body.
The final assembly went to Junior Kelly and his team at Bad Donkee Hot Rods of Hanover, Pennsylvania. The team there did everything from wiring, prepping the bodywork for paint, installing headlights and taillights and instrument panels, fabricating a defroster from the Vintage Air system, and even finding a period-correct Rolls-Royce steering wheel to fit the part. Because the car was built to be driven, precautionary steps were taken by spraying pickup bed liner undercoating on the fenders and body to reduce the chance of rust and corrosion.
The “Maharaja Special” is powered by a 502-cubic-inch ‘Big Block’ Chevrolet V-8 engine that is backed by a Chevy turbo 400 automatic transmission. The two components combine to create quite the punch when desired. All the modern-day creature comforts one would want can be found, including power steering, air-conditioning, power disc brakes, power windows, and even cruise control.
The interior features stunning leather cowhide, that was dyed to match the orange of the exterior paint, done by Leather Finishers of Newark, New Jersey. The trunk contains an elegant set of matching, handcrafted, custom fitted luggage, complete with picnic silverware and glasses, a nice touch for any and all car shows it attends. Licensed and registered for street use, this one-off custom would be idolized for touring and cruising from town to town with a modern-day twist.
Terry Cook’s passion to blend hot rods and prewar European classics into unique creations that emulate the flair of the mid to late ‘30s coachbuilt cars; modern conveniences and amenities are on full display with this one. A one-off creation that commands respect and attention at every car show and tour it attends.