The Record-Setting McMullen 1932 Ford Roadster Is an Icon of Hot-Rodding
McMullen 1932 Ford Roadster
Henry Ford may have been a visionary, but there is no way he could have foreseen the enduring allure of his company’s workaday 1932 Roadster, which went out of production just two years after it was introduced. Generations of performance-car enthusiasts have used the “Deuce” as the building block for their hot rods. Beginning in the 1940s, thousands of these two-seaters were stripped down, stuffed with high-power engines, and raced on the street, at Bonneville, and in the imaginations of builders who made this model the icon of hot-rodding.
The ’32 Ford Roadster hot rod shown here is one of the most celebrated. In the 1960s, it appeared on album covers, in advertisements, and in TV shows and movies. Tom McMullen, a magazine publisher and noted hot-rodder, bought the car from a truck driver in 1958 for $650 and began revamping it. It was chopped and dropped, given a pinstripes-and-flames paint job by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, and equipped with a supercharged small-block Chevrolet V-8.
McMullen, who crashed and was killed while piloting his plane in 1995, sold the car in 1970. A series of modifications and alterations followed the sale. The noted restorer Roy Brizio worked on the Roadster prior to its appearance at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and when he was finished, it looked the same as it did in April 1963, when it was featured on the cover of Hot Rod magazine.