Parting Shot – A Piece of History … Forever

By Brian Brennan   –   Photography Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum

Some hot rods are more memorable than others. Some become part of rodding history and some go on to become iconic. Such is the case for the former Bob McGee ’32 Ford highboy roadster that gained monstrous fame as the Deuce to become the L.A. Roadsters logo. I’m thinking there aren’t many hot rodders who do not know of the profile of the red ’32 Ford highboy roadster on an oval white background with red and black trim and black lettering (Roadsters Los Angeles).

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Bruce Meyer (left) literally turning over the keys to Terry L. Kargas, executive director of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

This ’32 Ford highboy roadster has always been known as the “McGee Roadster,” regardless of the current owner. But we must say that car collector of all things cool Bruce Meyer, the current owner (until recently), has taken impeccable care of the once-in-a-lifetime hot rod. He restored the car to its 1948 looks back in the ’90s. Recently he turned over the keys, literally, of this Deuce to Terry L. Kargas, executive director of the Petersen Automotive Museum. Before becoming the L.A. Roadsters logo, it appeared on the cover of the then–fledgling car magazine Hot Rod in an industry that was just as young. The roadster was also popular in Hollywood, having made appearances on TV shows like Dragnet, Happy Days, and Fantasy Island.

03 1932 ford roadster petersen automotive museum meyer la roadsters
Bob McGee at speed in front of one of the buildings on the University of Southern California (USC) campus back in the early days of SoCal hot rodding. The car was also seen at speed at such places as Bonneville Salt Flats running 167 mph.

Aside from being another pretty face, the ’32 Ford roadster was also a trendsetter. It was back in 1947 that McGee began tinkering on his hot rod. This Deuce was one of the forerunners with a lowered suspension, larger Lincoln Zephyr rear wheels, a three-piece hood, peaked and filled grille shell, hidden door hinges, and shaved door handles. To this day much of what was considered trendsetting is still around and as popular as ever.

04 1932 ford roadster petersen automotive museum meyer la roadsters
That’s the dapper late and great Ak Miller standing alongside the roadster and waving. No, he wasn’t 8 feet tall; he must be on some sort of “step.” While you won’t be able to tell in this photo, if you could look at an enlargement it is fun to read the names of all the car clubs that were present for this function.

Many thanks to Meyer for guaranteeing that hot rodders for years to come will have the opportunity to see this truly iconic ’32 Ford highboy roadster. MR

05 1932 ford roadster petersen automotive museum meyer la roadsters
In the ’60s, at an L.A. Roadsters run to Pismo Beach, we see then Rod & Custom main man Tom Medley riding “shotgun” and founding L.A. Roadsters member Dick Scritchfield driving. A friend of Scritchfield repainted the roadster to become the first non-experimental metalflake paintjob in the automotive industry.
06 1932 ford roadster petersen automotive museum meyer la roadsters
High praise indeed–on display at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The McGee roadster became the only hot rod added to the National Historic Vehicle Register.
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