“Lil Dough,” Original Hot Rod Going to Auction

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“Lil Dough,” Original Hot Rod Going to Auction

This Ford custom rod was a trophy-magnet on the show circuit until it vanished for 30 years. Now it’s a star car at Mecum’s Indy auction.

one of the coolest custom rods from the ’50s, spent 30 years out of sight before it was resurrected and returned to the show circuit 20 years ago. This historic Hemi-powered 1933 Ford’s next appearance will be the upcoming Mecum Auctions event in Indianapolis, Indiana, in May. After that, it will have a new home.

In the late ’50s and early ’60s, this screaming red ragtop was collecting show trophies, gracing the pages of automotive magazines, and setting a standard for custom rod styling. But according to the articles in those mags, owner/builder Deaner Probst’s original intent was just to build a cool rod to drive on the streets of Jefferson, Wisconsin.

Over the years, it was featured in many magazines and as the car attended more events over the decades, people flocked to look at the car that ‘started the Hot Rod hobby.’

Probst bought the 1933 Ford Cabriolet that would become Lil Dough in 1957. He had it on the road within a few months, but tweaks and modifications continued for several years. The framerails were Z’d to lower the car and the original steel body was channeled six inches over the frame. Four headlights (“quad lights”), nerf bar bumpers in the front and rear, bobbed front fenders, Ford Model A rear fenders, and a 1932 Ford grille shell with a custom grille and more than 100 dresser drawer knobs (a popular custom style 60 years ago) are a few of the exterior custom details.002 1933 ford hot rod mecum auctions indy profile top up

Although a show car, this car had the beans to back up its image. For power, Probst transplanted a 1951 Chrysler Firepower Hemi engine between the front ‘rails. The bored, stroked, polished, and ported Hemi runs an Isky camshaft and is fed by four Stromberg 97 carbs on an owner-built log manifold. The exhaust manifold was also home built. The Chrysler is backed up by a 1939 Ford truck transmission. We especially like the Smoothie style wheels.

After taking the First Place trophy at a car show in 1959, Probst started making the rounds with Lil Dough, bringing home trophies almost everywhere he displayed his incredible custom rod. By the time it won First Place at the 1962 NHRA Nationals, the car had collected 14 trophies from 15 shows. Then it disappeared for 30 years.

The interior was stitched in classic Eisenhower-era custom rod style. Diamond-tufted Naugahyde covers the seats, door panels, floor mats, trans hump, and inner decklid. All that red and white upholstery competes for attention with a copious quantity of chrome plating. Chrome is all over the Hemi, as well as the firewall, grille shell, front fenders, suspension parts, and dash.

The interior looks a bit over the top today, but we have to remember that there was a time when high/low shag carpeting was in style. Regardless, there’s a butt for every seat and we’re sure the bidding will be competitive. We can only hope that the car will continue to make the rounds at car shows show others can enjoy it.

Bid for Lil Dough at Mecum May 21-23

In 1999, Probst began a three-year rebuild on his long-ignored Ford. Since its completion, the car and its owner/builder have been enjoying time back on the hot rod show circuit. Now it’s somebody else’s chance to own one of the nicest custom rod survivors. Lil Dough will cross the block at the 2022 Mecum Auctions event in Indy, taking place May 13-21.