Little Deuce Coupe

Album: Surfer Girl (1963)
Charted: 15
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  • Sometimes referred to as the "Baby Lincoln," the 1932 Ford was widely accepted and sold well, helping to establish Ford as providing reliable and affordable luxury.

    Among hot rodders, the popularity of the 1932 Ford has always remained strong. In the '40s, a Deuce roadster was easy to find and inexpensive. Literally hundreds of Deuces were recruited for racing on dirt oval tracks and dry lakes. Being simple cars made them easy to strip down and modify.

    John Milner drove a yellow 32 Ford Deuce Coupe in 1973 film American Graffiti.

Comments: 46

  • Et from VirginiaI believe the comment about the pink slip refers to the car being registered since it was new and not made up from junk yard parts.
  • Bill from OzI read with amusement the Ford/Chevy controversy! The little deuce coupe was definitely a '32 Ford, and the deuce refers to the 2 in 32. The particular configuration of carburetors is irrelevant. I think the same car was manufactured in '33 and '34, as well. So I suppose if you hot rodded a '33 Ford coupe, you might refer to that as a "deuce coupe" as well. By the way, the little deuce coupe on the album cover is not the one described in the song. The one on the album cover is definitely NOT powered by a flat-head V8. I read in another forum that the engine on the cover is an Olds.

    Someone remarked that the Chevy II (Nova) looked tame. Maybe so. That was part of the attraction. They could come from the factory with a 4 bbl carburetor version of the 327 'Vette engine developing well over 300hp. They were pretty fast cars. HOWEVER they were NOT deuce coupes. Where I grew up a Chevy II was sometimes referred to as a "Chevy deuce", but NEVER as a "deuce coup".

    I do not know if T-birds really were fast, but I am pretty sure the early ones were meant to be performance cars. I have never driven one. They were certainly meant to look fast. Another song from the Beach Boys, Fun, Fun, Fun, is about a girl with her father's T-bird. I always pictured her as cruising fast. I always thought it was a metaphor for her being hard to catch. But I am not sure. I am pretty sure that "walk[ing] a Thunderbird" means "leaving it in the dust", though. A hot rodded deuce with the hood intact would have been a "sleeper" that would have looked a lot slower than a T-bird.

    I came here looking for the meaning of the "pink slip". I always thought that the lyric was "big slip", and referred to a limited slip diff. But when I listened to the song carefully, I am pretty sure they say "pink slip". I do not know what to make by the poster who claims to have taught someone the lyrics. In that part of the song there is a break from the listing of the cars performance features. I think at this point in the song it does make sense to brag that you own the car outright.

    I look forward to the debate continuing!
  • Jr from Fn22I always felt there was something unnatural about the “pink slip” line in a chorus bragging about the car’s hardware. I always suspected the original writer, understanding racing gear, wrote about the “fixed slip Daddy” (Longlegs), presumably a popular racing differential among dragsters. But I will never know, will I.
  • Porkupine from TxBig slip can refer to slip clutch used in drag racing. More RPM less wheel spin off the line.
  • Anonymousyou put a Hemi in that deuce and she will go 140 mph
  • Richard Hinely from SavannahI always thought the pink slip was the paper receipt from the drag strip showing your ET (elapsed time). Proof of speed.
  • Jennifur Sunalways wondered about the line Walk a thunderbird like she's standing still. I assume it meant the car could out race one? or does that mean something else. never knew T_Birds were that big of a race car.
  • Haggie from The PitsHaving the pink slip (title certificate) doesn't necessarily mean that you won a race, just that you own the car. "Racing for pinks" (or "for pink slips") does mean putting your car up against the other car as a stake (the winner would own both cars), but for obvious reasons races were usually for smaller stakes. The point of "I got the pink slip, Daddy" is that he owns the car outright. If he were making payments on a loan, the lender would be holding the pink slip as collateral. So, not only is his car incredibly fast, etc., but it is all his. Having the pink slip has nothing to do with who owned it in the past, let alone in 1932. Pink slips are transferable, via a little form printed on the back usually. (Note: sadly, California stopped printing pink slips on pink paper decades ago.) "Getting a pink slip" or being "pink slipped" means being fired or laid off, because employers sometimes used to do it by putting a notice in your pay envelope on pink paper so that you wouldn't miss it.

    As to whether the 32 Ford Coupe (not a model A) had too much drag to hit 140, the stock version in 1932 had a max speed of 76 mph with a 65 HorsePower V8, but the central point of hot rodding was to modify the car to reduce drag and weight but produce far more power. I don't know what the top speed on the streets of California was in the early 1960s, but Chet Thomas got a 32 Ford with a 1050 HP engine to do 211.7 MPH on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2015. So, tops in 1962 would have been somewhere in between 76 and 212 mph.
  • Wizweird from The Top Of The RockiesThe reference to the thunderbird, was more true with the original t-birds. They were small two door cars with removable tops. With the right engine, they were fast. And some folks loved those old flatheads. There are plenty of reference to speed parts in the car. Stroked meant increasing the distance the pistons traveled up and down, effectively giving more torque and cubic inches. As did boring the engine, to put bigger diameter pistons in. Comp clutch grabbed better, lake pipes for more power, I'll still sing it big slip daddy, like I have since 1960's lol btw, the chevy nova, or chevy 2, was called a deuce, also. If you wanted the "big boy" model, chevy had a 327 that put out 370 hp. Fifteen less than a 440- 6 bbl or 6 pak depending on what company it came from. ( Dodge6-pak plymouth 6bbl) got them listed in my 1970 motors repair manual, that we used to repair them
  • Richard Mohr from Fountain Valley, CaEvery car is supposed to carry the "registration." The "pink slip" shows who is the legal owner. They are two different things.
    The driver saying he has the pink slip means that he owns the car - he's not making payments to someone else. I was a high
    school senior when this record came out. I never understood it to be "big slip." It's more interesting with an emphatic
    statement of ownership. If performance parts were a big deal, a small block Chevrolet would have made more sense. The light
    flathead became a great engine because of the speed parts designed for it but when 1955 rolled around and you could have
    a Chevy V8 that wouldn't overheat like a flathead . . . Now can someone tell me what "walk a Thunderbird" means? Thunderbirds
    weren't considered hot cars, so what's the reference for? I saw the Beach Boys three times at the Hollywood Bowl. I really liked
    their harmonies. Someone said David Marks lived in Inglewood. He was a neighbor of the Wilson family in Hawthorne, wasn't he?
  • C F V from Maryland“I got the pink slip daddy” I thought meant he’s never lost a race
  • Rich D. from NyTo me as a kid listening to the Beach Boys, Pink Slip Daddy meant he had a 30+ year old car with original registration-meaning he had it in it's family since new 1932. Very rare. In the 60's street Rodders here in Long Island in the 60's/70's would brag about their "Pink Slips" No used cars for me Buddy- I bought this new!

    Most cars if not all changed hands several times from 1932 to 1965. Also these lyrics whatever they may be is the pinnacle of the song-meaning the high point of the song-So my opinion- Pink Slip is a more powerful OOMPH than Big Slip. But after reading comments. I am leaning towards Big Slip. But I still will sing with the song " I GOT THE PINK SLIP DADDY !!!"
  • Dakeb from Fairfax, VaIf you listen to the lyrics closely and see the Beach Boys perform in concert or on BR / DVD, will will hear and see that the lyrics being sung are “Big Slip, Daddy”, referring to rear-axle slip-differential ... as pointed out in detail by another reviewer. The lyrics are NOT, “Pink Slip, Daddy”, referring to winning the race and the loser’s vehicle’s papers.
  • Anonymous from AnonymousThe credits to Hal Blaine are incorrect. Dennis Wilson is playing drums on this track, and there are no studio musicians on this track at all. Everyone has been manipulated into thinking that the Wrecking Crew was on all Beach Boys 1963-1967. That's not the case most of the time. The only tracks on the Surfer Girl that don't have Dennis on drums are "Surfer Moon" and "Our Car Club" (and that goes for the Little Deuce Coupe album, for that matter, other than the single version of "Be True To Your School", as well as the adding "Our Car Club" again on the LP), the only track on Shut Down Vol. 2 that doesn't have Dennis on drums is "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", and the only track on All Summer Long that doesn't have Dennis on drums is "Drive-In". If you don't believe me, you can take it up with Craig Slowinski, Andrew G. Doe and Jon Stebbins on smileysmile.net

    That website is everything related to Beach Boys (albums, solo careers, etc.) Ask them these questions. They have access to the session tapes as well as the AFM contract sheets, while the rest of us don't (other than the Unsurpassed Masters).

    Thank you for reading this comment. I wish that the credits towards who played what be more clear and that no false misconceptions be made related to these recordings.
  • Toocule from Savannah, GaUniversal Music Publishing Group holds the copyright to "Little Deuce Coupe". The copyrighted lyric is "pink slip".
  • Mo K from TampaThe line is “big slip daddy” a limited slip differential that affected the rear wheel traction.
  • Doug from South WestI can see where "Big SLIP daddy" might be a reference for limited slip differential, though I'm not familiar "Big SLIP daddy" ever being used....that's why the "pink slip" reference might make more sense, as in racing for titles/registrations. Here's another one "she blows 'em outta the water like you never seen" At first I thought it might refer to the "water box" where the driver does their initial burnout to get some heat in the tires for better traction, but that wouldn't fit the staging sequence if they were at a drag strip (you don't stage/take the green light in the water box. If these guys are street racing then I guess I'd have to harken back to the slang "blew 'em outta the water" meaning similar to "blew the doors off of 'em" or soundly defeating your opponent? Regardless a "Deuce Coupe" is a '32 Ford without exception. Great tune, good discussion....now on to "Shutdown"!!!
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaHave only seen one of these in person at the Reno Car Museum. And I always thought the lyric was Led Pipe, thanks for setting it straight.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 11th 1963, "Little Deuce Coupe"" by the Beach Boys entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #80; and on September 22nd, 1963 it peaked at #15 {for 1 week} and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...The week it peaked at #15 the record's A-side, "Surfer Girl", was at #11, and a week earlier it had peaked at #7 on the Top 100...The boys had four other songs make the Top 100 in 1963; "Ten Little Indians" {peaked at #49}, "Surfin' U.S.A." {reached #3}, "Shut Down" {at #23}, and "Be True to Your School" {topped out at #6}...R.I.P. Dennis Wilson {1944-1983} and Carl Wilson {1946-1998}.
  • 00spy from Calgary, Ab"Big Slip Daddy” - lol . Classic song about a souped up 32 Ford Model B” and better yet he has the “Pink Slip, Daddy”!
  • Kimo from Kaunakakai Hawaii, Ca"Pink slip" versus "The Big Slip Daddy" - Hate to burst your collective bubbles, but I was a neighborhood friend of Dave Marks in Inglewood, CA and I helped him learn the lyrics to LDC for the single and the album. Sorry, it's "Big Slip Daddy", folks. The song is enumerating hot car equipment of the day in this stanza. A "Big Slip Daddy" is street rod talk for the optional and prized Chevy/Corvette/Mopar limited slip differential rear end on the rear axle. A high performance option that meant a fast street rod capable of an even-tire burnout.

    Factual and short & sweet. At your assistance.

    PS: "Pink slip, Daddy" makes no sense at this point in the lyrics, Daddy.
  • Stewart from Staten Island , NyA car with 3 two barrel carbs was a six pack here in New York.
  • Wayne from Midvale, UtAs for the duece not being able to reach 140 mph.....consider the person who made the comment. He calls the car a model A, so obviously he knows nothing. A duece is a model B. As to opinions that a deuce is anything other than a '32 Ford, sorry but these people know nothing about car culture.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaThe track features a "boogie" styled piano thing that Brian played me one time, "bare boned" in his office...I asked him to play Little Saint Nick...but he started playing Little Duece Coupe at first...the piano parts are similar...
  • George from Belleville, NjAnother solid hit single.This song has that familiar distinct signature Beach Boys sound.Brian Wilson was putting out one single after another like a hit songwriting machine.
  • Bob from Berkeley, CaFolks, this song is actually kind of witty. After listing all the competition modifications ("ported and relieved" and "stroked and bored") and auto parts ("four on the floor" and "Lakes pipes"), the singer delivers the line, "There's one more thing--I got the pink slip, daddy!" Well, if you were a Californian back then, you got the joke.
  • Marcus from Castro Valley, CaSome of these comments are off the wall.Someone said a 32 Ford cant reach 140?! What?! Heres some SCTA Records for you to gaze at http://www.scta-bni.org/Bonneville/BNIrecs_cat_b2.htm
    A Deuce Coupe is a 63 Nova? Did you bump your head or are you just clueless? A Deuce Coupe is in fact a 1932 Ford 3 or 5 Window Coupe.I know the Owner of the Deuce Coupe on the Album Cover, that belongs to the Catallo family.Featured on the cover of Hot Rod magazine in 1963, some of the photo shoot was used for the Album.Dont know of a Beach Boy who owned a Deuce, Dennis had Vettes.None of the Beach Boys knew much about Rodding, they relied on Gary usher and Roger Christian for lyrics.They were in Bands like the Super Stock and were Real Rodders in the scene..Anymore questions?
  • Rob from Chicago, IlCoupe - 2 passenger closed automobile, with or without rumble seat.
    Little - small; not large
    Deuce - colloquial expression for the number 2.

    But put these words together in the right order and you describe only two vehicles on the face of the earth.

    A "Deuce Coupe" is a 1932 Ford coupe (3 window or 5 window). This term was common starting in the late '40s, when Brian and I were just 8 years old. To apply it to a bowtie car is sacrilegious!
  • Justin from Fulton, NyFirst this song is about a 32 ford with a flathead V8 engine. 1932 was the first year for fords v8. among hot rodders the car is known as a deuce. most of the coupes and roadsters were not 2 seaters, open the trunk and gess what you see. its called a rumble seat. the car is not a model "a" henry changed his car and started calling it the V8, or model "b" for the 4 cyl cars. If you are saying that a 32 ford cant go 140 mph you realy need to take a trip to bonneville salt flats. cars are going over 230 mph. the deuce is not refered to carburators, if you put 3 two barrel carbs on a 55 studebaker it isnt considered a deuce coupe. it dosent mean the car is a nova look at the album cover. its a 32 ford. and if you think its a nova then answer this, whos putting a flathead ford engine (built from 32-53) in a 63 chevy nova?
  • Charles from Nashville, TnTim must have grown up in the '70s in my neighborhood, because we always called Chevy IIs Duece Coupes too. I guess that's not what the song was about though. OOOPS
  • Rollyn from Endicott, Ny I am building a house decorated in a 50's-60's theme. The den-livingroom will be the beach boys. Half surfing[tiki bar]half little deuce coupe[nosalgia hot rods].ronzy,endicott,ny
  • Mike from Big Sandy, TnA deuce coupe is a 1932 Ford Coupe. 1932 was the year that Ford changed from the Model A to the Model B. If someone says they've got a deuce coupe, its a 1932 Ford. Any hard core hot rodder willl tell you this. And whoever said a 1932 Ford isn't capable of going 140 because of aerodynamics needs to check the NHRA record books. In the Gas and Altered classes they reached speeds in excess of 200 mph. in the 1/4 mile.
  • Thomas from Forth, AustraliaI'm from Australia and I don't know alot about American cars but I do admire them. I was surprised when I saw the '32 Ford. I thought the Little Deuce Coupe would be more modern. The 63 Nova looks pretty tame for something that will "walk a Thunderbird like she's standing still".
  • Bob from Mableton , Gai hate to disagree but i think the deuce in deuce coupe refers to something other than the year model of the car. i think the deuce refers to the fact that many of these hot rods were equipped with three 2 barrel carburetors (deuces). look at the album cover . they are clearly visible.
  • Nathaniel from Cleveland, OhThe pink slip was carried around in case someone wanted to race for each others car.
  • Bobpape from Austin, TxIn the parlance of the 60's, a duece coupe was a hotrod made from a 1932 Ford Coupe. Usually, it was NOT a Chevy, although the engine (usually a flat-eight) could be from anything. One of the Wilson brothers (I forget which one)owned a Duece Coupe.
  • Darrell from EugeneI had a "Little Deuce Coupe" at one time, but it was a 1932 Studebaker Dictator with a Rambler 327 and a pushbutton automatic. I built it out of junk parts, and I sold it in 1968 when I needed money. I regret it, but it was better than pawning my circa-1936 Bosch tabletop radio (replete with Nazi insignia and worth over $8,000)
  • Moss from Idaho Falls, IdThis is definitely about a tricked out, souped-up, bitchen, '32 Hot Rod Ford, which is one of my all time favorite cars (not - lol - a Nova). I went to school with the Boys at Hawthorne in the late 50s and early 60s. Carl and I were good friends until they busted loose on the music scene in the early 60s and the '32 deuce was a prize to get back then.
  • Ariana from E, Md"Little Deuce Coupe" does in fact refer to 1932 car, probably a Ford. Look at the album cover! I do not claim to be an expert on antique cars by any means, but that is clearly a very old car, not a 1960's two-seater.
  • Don from B G, KyI believe "little deuce coupe" means a two seater car. It does not have a backseat. I do not think it means a 1932 model car. Go figure.
  • Kevin Witt from Haymarket, VaTom Cruise played an absentee dad in the movie War of the Worlds. Not knowing a single nursery ryme, this is the only song that he could come up with to comfort his little girl (Dakota Fanning) upon the aliens landing.
  • Gary from Auckland, New ZealandI think it was Timothy White's book that said Hal Blaine's drumming was laid over Dennis's -- probably for a gruntier or fatter sound. Brian was in the studio and the other Beach Boys on tour at the time 'Little Deuce Coupe' was recorded -- Al Jardine had come back and was substituting for Brian on bass. It's like Glen Campbell, then a popular LA session musician also, said -- that he filled in at the group's convenience for recordings and that the Beach Boys were as good as any other musicians in LA. I believe it was Dennis on 'Surfin' Safari' and all other tracks until the 'Surfer Girl' album -- because all the recordings were done in Capitol's studio until then and Brian (or Murry as manager) would have had to pay to have additional musicians at a session, apart from Capitol being fussy about letting outsiders in. That's partly why Brian and the group went independent from Capitol in 1963.
  • Mark from Philadelphia, PaSorry Tim, but this song is not about a 63 Chevy Nova. I know this purely based on the line "Just a little deuce coupe with a flathead mill". Note "flathead mill" No Chevy Nova ever came with a Flathead engine, and by 1963 there were far better engines to drop in them such as the 283, 327 and even the 409 if you had the cash. By the way, Mopar or no car.
  • Tim from West Chester, Pagreat song. you all have it wrong though . the song is not about a 1932 ford . it is about a 1963 chevy nova
  • Marty from El Prado, NmI grew up in Southern California during the 50's and 60's. One line in the song may be unique to California..."There's one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy." The "pink slip" was the proof from the state that you own the car.
  • Gavin from Hampden, MaThis is a great song. They preformed it live with the beatles while in india with maherishi. I have heard the song with the beatles, and it is even better than the origonal, if that's possible.
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