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The 1932 Ford — the Deuce Last updated on September 28, 2013

1932 Ford roadster On this page:

1932 Ford history and trivia
Great Deuces of our time

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1932 Ford coupe project
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1932 Ford history and trivia

I've been in love with 1932 Fords since I first saw one. Only a Deuce is a Deuce.

The 1932 Ford is regarded as being definitive hot rod, and has been since the birth of hot rodding as we know it back in the Thirties. The Deuce's popularity is easy to understand.

In 1931, the Model A was still very close to Henry Ford's heart. Sales were slipping, and the stubborn Ford thought his dealers were the reason. When some of his staff were able to convince him that the Model A had become obsolete in a marketplace where people wanted more luxury in their cars, he had no firm plans for a new car or its engine.

Model A production was stopped in the United States and work on a completely new car began. In addition to the greater comfort the public wanted, the design goals for the '32 Ford included more power and more elegant lines.

Restored 1932 Ford roadster

Restored 1932 Ford roadster

What reached the showrooms was a milestone in a number of ways. It was faster, more comfortable, more refined, a masterpiece of industrial design, and yet still affordable. Henry Ford and his design team got it right.

The first thing you notice about a Deuce is that timeless grille. There were two different styles of 1932 Ford passenger car grille inserts. The "one-piece" inserts (like the reproduction inserts) have a fixed trim ring that the ends of the teeth go through. The teeth on these inserts were originally painted light grey. The style referred to as the "two-piece" insert had a stainless steel band that could be easily removed. If you look under the band on a two-piece insert that has never been repainted, you will find that the paint is light grey with a slight light green tint to it.

The lines of the '32 body and fenders are superb. No other car was nearly as sought-after for hot rodding in the Forties, and they're just as popular today. Second place in popularity for hot rod material back in the Thirties and Forties went to the '28 and '29 Model A roadsters, with the '30 and '31 A-bones coming in a distant third, followed by the longer and heavier '33 and '34 Fords.

The introduction of the 1932 Ford was, like the release of any new Ford in those days, quite an event. Some dealers displayed cars with special clear hoods that allowed customers to see the new flathead Ford V-8 engine.

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.

Although it was customary for a particular design to remain in production for two years, the following year brought another complete redesign. The 1932 Ford represents the end of an era, with American cars growing noticeably more aerodynamic in 1933. That same year also saw the introduction of the Chrysler Airflow, and virtually all cars were given sleeker lines. Windshields were laid back, fenders continued to wrap around more, covering more of the chassis, and the process of building cars longer and lower continued.

Among hot rodders, the popularity of the 1932 Ford has always remained strong. Back in the Forties, a Deuce roadster was easy to find and inexpensive. 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.

Even stock, the '32 frame provides substantially greater torsional rigidity than the 1928-1931 Model A it replaced. Since 1932 was the year of Ford's first production V-8, installing a later V-8 wasn't as much work as it would have been otherwise.

Another thing that makes the Deuce easy to modify is that the following year saw the introduction of separate inner fender panels on all Fords. Due to the way the bottom of the 1933 hood mates to the top of the inner fenders, rather than to the top of the frame rails as it had in the past, it's a lot harder to run a fenderless car with a full hood. The Deuce is also the only car Ford ever made that had the sides of the frame rails exposed.

People love the 1932 Ford because it's just plain beautiful. Considering what else was being done at the time (and the fact that it was not a prestige car but a car for the masses), in terms of both practicality and aesthetics, it stands as a masterpiece of automotive design.

Cabriolet 6,091
Convertible sedan 926
Five-window Standard coupe 51,794
Fordor sedan 37,363
Panel delivery 6,122
Phaeton 2,490
Roadster 12,597
Sedan delivery 400
Station wagon 1,383
Sport coupe 2,911
Three-window Deluxe coupe 22,148
Tudor sedan 124,101
Victoria 8,580
The book "The Early Ford V-8 As Henry Built It" provided the production numbers on the chart.

There are currently more 1932 Fords on the road than there were when the car was new. In fact, as of several years ago, there were currently more 1932 Fords registered just in the state of California than Ford ever built. But that doesn't mean you see them every day. And even if you did, Deuces are like '49 Mercs — we will never get tired of them.

If you're building a Deuce, you can get every stock part you'd want to use on a hot rod from reproduction parts manufacturers.

Roadster, cabriolet, phaeton, coupe, sedan delivery, Tudor, Victoria and pickup reproduction bodies are easy to find. There are more than thirty-five manufacturers of roadster bodies and over twenty companies manufacturing three-window coupe bodies in the United States as well as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, including several manufacturers of steel roadster bodies.

When Deuce frame rails are fully boxed and the crossmembers are replaced with more-current, reinforced crossmembers fabricated from steel tubing, the frame can easily handle about 400 horsepower, even with a roadster body. Reproduction Deuce frame rails are available either fabricated (cut and welded) or die-stamped. New frames and complete chassis are produced by over a dozen street rod shops across the United States and many more worldwide.

Great Deuces of our time

Dave Looper art This sweet Deuce three-window, drawn by Dave Looper, is a perfect example of how little it really takes to turn a 1932 Ford into a car that not only defines hot rodding but also stands as a timeless piece of rolling sculpture. A dropped headlight bar and a pair of slightly-smaller headlights bring the car right up-to-date; but actually the dropped front axle, the lowered rear end, and a set of 15- or 16-inch wheels are all these cars need to make them look just right.

There have been thousands of decent Deuce hot rods built over the years. Among them, there are those that stand out in a crowd of painted plastic and mail-ordered parts — hot rods that weren't created by just buying a bunch of new parts and putting them together in obedience to whatever style was fashionable at the time. Here's a brief look at a few of the finest and most famous of these classic cars, and their creators.

Pat Ganahl photo of Boyce Asquith's '32 highboy

Sherm Porter photo of Boyce Asquith's
'32 highboy

Dave McFee photo of Boyce Asquith's '32 highboy

Dave McFee photo of Boyce Asquith's '32 highboy
Boyce Asquith built the meanest and wildest Deuce roadster of all time back in the late Eighties. A blown big block, huge slicks, a funny car-style roll cage, lift-off body panels, and a louvered deck lid were some of the elements of this outstanding, screaming-yellow monster. It had wheelie bars, and they got used.

The first picture above, showing Boyce preparing for a pass, is a photo I took of page 32 of Pat Ganahl's book, Hot Rods and Cool Customs.

The second picture above, showing the car parked, was taken by Sherm Porter, and its backround was removed by Greg Spradlin.

After cancer took Boyce away from us, the Boyce Asquith roadster found a good home. In the third picture, the car's current and very appreciative owner, Dave Allen, is shown standing beside the car. Dave drives the car about 7,000 miles a year.

Boyce built his roadster so it could be converted between street and strip trim. The engine is streetable, the chrome-plated roll cage unbolts, and the Lexan windshield can be replaced with a chopped, stock-style piece.

The wheelbase was stretched three inches over stock, to 109 inches. To work on the chassis, the body can be unbolted and lifted off.

The car was featured in Rod & Custom in 1989 or 1990, both on the cover and in a color feature that showed just how trick it was.

Gray Baskerville's roadster Gray Baskerville's full-fendered roadster fits in here — not for being a show car, but because it never was. This one is the real deal, having served as Gray's daily driver in the Los Angeles area for decades, until that became impractical in contemporary southern California. It was first featured in Rod & Custom in the August, 1972 issue.

This is one of those cars where everything about the way it looks just seems "right", until you crawl under it and realize it got used for what cars were invented for — for taking people places. But it was a great hot rod that was loved just the way it was. As Gray might have said about someone else's car, "It's a reet and righteous reacher."

A "work in progress" for about thirty years, Gray always intended on eventually getting it all cherried out, right up until February of 2002, when he became a victim of cancer.

Gray and his roadster were legendary. His informative and entertaining contributions to Rod & Custom and Hot Rod Magazine as well what he added to the hot rodding community affected us all. Thanks for the ride, Gray. And thanks for reminding us that these cars are for us to enjoy.

After his death, Gray was cremated. Not long after, when the winds were still and while the crowd watched with respect, Gray's ashes were set free when a streamliner popped its chute at around 300 on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

He's home now.

Ed Belkengren's outstanding full-fendered five-window coupe from the late Sixties with peaked aluminum Torq-Thrusts, Goodyear Blue Streaks, and flawless fit and finish, was the first resto-rod that really got my attention, when it was featured in Rod & Custom in their October, 1969 issue. Ed's still building them, in his shop Minnesota. His outstanding '55 Chevy pickup was featured in the March 1999 issue of Rod & Custom. And there's a five-window and another three-window in his shop right now, so look out.

Deuce roadster by Roy Brizio Roy Brizio has built many outstanding 1932 Fords at his shop, Roy Brizio Street Rods.

As a teenager, Roy was fortunate enough to apprentice with his dad, veteran hot rod builder Andy Brizio.

More often than not, that experience, coupled with Roy's own talent and creativity, results in hot rods that are exceptional, due to their overall concept, their choice of parts, a striking yet tasteful use of color, and fine workmanship throughout.

The gold roadster shown here, which was built by Roy's shop, made its debut at the 2004 L.A. Roadsters Father's Day Show in Pomona, where these pictures were taken by Southern California hot rodder and photographer Don Dillard.

This timeless roadster features a perfect blend of classic hot rods, custom cars, old lines, and new parts, with more than its share of elegance and finesse.

You did it again, Roy. Everything about this car is right.

Jay Carpenter's roadster Jay Carpenter combined a roadster body, solid hood sides, a pair of '39 Ford taillights, and a subtle, custom rear pan with a healthy big block Chevy, a polished quick-change, a dropped I-beam front axle with a chrome four-link, a chrome roll bar, and a set of polished Halibrand wheels.

The result is a classic hot rod that sits right and always draws a crowd. And the body is straight enough to be dressed in black.

The car is shown here parked at the L.A. Roadsters show.

Limefire Pete Chapouris was one of the key people responsible for Limefire, which was named for its lime green paint job with orange flames.

With its great lines and stance, lots of nice details, and more muscle than most, the car quickly got the attention of a lot of people when it appeared on the drag strip, in magazines, and in car shows.

Limefire became so popular that the handbuilt headers on the car, which were patterned after the old lakes headers that were built by using a pair of early Ford torque tubes, became known as Limefire headers, and that's what we call them today.

Around this same time, Pete built a low-buck, chopped, primered Deuce Tudor that also ran very well on the drag strip.

Phil Cool's AMBR car Phil Cool took a Deuce roadster, put a dual-quad, GMC-blown big block Chevy in it, added 15 by 4.5 and 16 by 11-inch polished Halibrand magnesium wheels with Goodyear Frontrunners up front and monster Goodyear slicks out back, painted it orange, and detailed it with Moon valve covers and breathers, chrome door hinges, chrome split wishbones front and back, and a black roadster top.

In 1978 he hopped in and rumbled into the Grand National Roadster Show, where the nasty highboy won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award.













Vic Edelbrock, Sr. Russell DeSalvo built this flawless three-window coupe, shown here in black and white as it looked in 1964, and in color in 2008.

Although he built it mainly for car shows, he saw no need to modify any of the bodywork. In fact, he told me that there isn't a single hole anywhere in the body or the dash that wasn't put there at the Ford factory.

Russell did everything he could himself, including the restoration of the body, block-sanding and painting it, and fabricating the seats from expanded metal with frames made of tubing. The upholstery is white pearl Naugahyde. He chromed the dash, and went to the local Ford dealer and bought a new 1962 Thunderbird steering wheel.

In 1964, a car show promoter paid him to take the car to shows around the country, where he slept in the trailer. At the Grand National Roadster Show, he parked his trailer inside and was given the key to the place so he could come and go, and also served as one of the night watchmen.

Russell originally built the car with the injected Buick Nailhead with a Joe Hunt magneto shown here, but it never ran right on the street. After finishing with the show circuit, Russell pulled the Nailhead, took out the magneto, and machined it to fit the Ford 289 that he installed.

He used a '39 Ford transmission with Zephyr gears. He also bought a Halibrand quick-change for it, but he told me that he decided that he just didn't want to cut up the original '32 rear crossmember to install it.

He still has the car, and it looks just as you see it here, except for the 289 and a pair of stock running board covers. The same Dupont nitrocellulose lacquer that he sprayed on more than forty years ago is still completely flawless.

People keep telling him to update the car, and he keeps telling them they can keep their glass and billet street rods. He's been invited to show the car at the 2009 Grand National Roadster Show.

Neal East's full-fendered roadster was just plain classy. There was nothing radical here; just another L.A. Roadsters car that was put together with the right parts and a lot of attention to detail that included chassis parts finished with black paint and chrome. Rod & Custom featured the car in the August, 1961 and March, 1995 issues.

Vic Edelbrock, Sr. Vic Edelbrock's roadster, two versions of which are shown on the Edelbrock Web site, is significant because of what Vic did with it. Like most great race cars and hot rods, it wasn't built to be displayed, instead serving as a daily driver, salt flats racer, and a rolling dyno for Vic's inventions and new products.

The car was later sold to Eddie Bosio, who completely rebuilt it, named it "Mr. Ed", and won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award at the Grand National Roadster Show in 1956. Rod & Custom featured the car in the April, 1969 issue.

Real Wheels on Bob Elston's coupe Bob Elston built this tasteful coupe with an impressive array of correctly restored original parts that surround later Stewart Warner gauges, a new rolling chassis with a set of aluminum wheels, powered by a Chevy ZZ-430 crate engine.

The fit and finish on this car are outstanding. Bob has put a lot of miles on this car, but when you look at it, you'd never guess that the black lacquer was put on more than twenty years ago.

Bob's coupe is a source of inspiration for my own three-window project, being a lot like what I want to end up with.

The Doyle Gammel coupe

The Doyle Gammel coupe Doyle Gammel, one of the early members of the L.A. Roadsters, built his dark brown, full-fendered three-window back in the Sixties while he worked for Ed Roth. The top was chopped three inches in the back and three and a half in the front. The car sat lower than its contemporaries, with its polished Torq-Thrusts, Moon tank, dropped headlight bar and smaller headlights adding to its aggressive look.

Doyle sold the car many years ago, but ended up missing it so much he built the one shown here. The new car is just like the original, right down to the Rochester-injected 283.

After having been built and masterfully chopped by Dick Bergren and then sold to Doyle, this classic coupe made its magazine debut in the December 1963 issue of Rod & Custom, where it has appeared many times since, including the April, 1993 issue, which shows it after being bought and updated by Tom Schiffilea with a strong L-88 rat motor. The car now lives under the care of Bruce Meyer.

The Ken Gross roadster Ken Gross has set the new standard for building a traditional hot rod, by using an original '32 frame and roadster sheet metal along with an amazing array of rare, vintage parts that included some tasty speed equipment, in addition to bolts, rivets, and wiring from the 1930s and '40s, and topping it all of with real hand-rubbed black lacquer.

Ken's vision of hot rod perfection was completed in early 1999, just before deservedly winning the Bruce Meyer Preservation award at the 50th anniversary Grand National Roadster Show, where this photograph was taken by Ryan Cochran. Have a look at the terrific feature on this car in issue fourteen of The Rodder's Journal.

By creating this car, Ken has certainly earned a place in hot rodding history, with what may well be the ultimate nostalgia '32 roadster — and quite possibly the nicest traditional hot rod ever built.

Wayne Henderson's Victoria

Wayne Henderson's Victoria
Wayne Henderson's incredibly detailed, Cleveland-powered, black Victoria, stock-bodied with polished, real magnesium Halibrand Sprints and a classic stance was a car that was so elegant, tasteful and flawless that its debut put a lot of experienced hot rod builders into a state of shock. First featured in the September, 1974 issues of Hot Rod Magazine and Street Rodder, Henderson's Victoria has appeared in numerous magazines and calendars since then.

If I had to pick the most beautiful 1932 Ford closed car of all time, or for that matter, the most outstanding closed hot rod in history, Henderson's car would easily get my vote. But the funny thing is, aside from the wheels and tires and the lowering, the outside of the car was stock, right down to the headlight bar and headlights, the upholstered roof insert, the cowl lamps, the bumpers, a sought-after 25-louver hood, and even a luggage rack. Every detail on Wayne's car was perfect, the result of being created by a master bodyman with very good taste who decided to take his time.

In the November, 1973 issue of Rod & Custom, Wayne put the car up for sale for $8,000. Now owned by Tom Richardson of Mercer, Wisconsin, this car was a heartbreaker.

Gary Kessler's highboy Gary Kessler's yellow highboy roadster debuted at the second NSRA Street Rod Nationals in 1971, where it was an instant hit with the crowd.

The body was unmodified except for a filled cowl vent, filled door handles, and three inches out of the windshield. Like all of the cars described on this page, it had a unique and classic look that's not easy to put into words.

One of the first Chevy LT-1 350 crate engines available was fed by a 750-cfm Holley on an early Edelbrock Tarantula manifold, and conducted by Ed Iskenderian. A flat firewall and a set of homebuilt headers finished off the swap. A Muncie four-speed and a beefy '57-'64 Olds rear end helped haul Gary to quarter-mile times in the elevens.

More than anything, it was the wheels and tires that made the car what it was. When a Funny Car racer brought them into a local speed shop to sell, Gary bought them for his highboy. The almost-neutral offset on the five-inch-bolt-pattern back wheels allowed the Olds rear end to fit just fine without having to be narrowed. A pair of fully-polished American Racing 15 by 4-inch magnesium five-spokes with a pair of skinny radials led the way, while overkill traction was provided by a pair of Top Fuel-sized 13.00-16 M&H Racemaster wrinkle-wall slicks spun by the 16 by 13-inch magnesium American Racing five-spokes. This combination of extreme big and littles easily set Kessler's creation apart from the masses of annoyingly-polite, adhesion-challenged pretenders to true wickedness.

More than any other hot rod in history, it was Gary Kessler's roadster that provided the inspiration behind the artwork on this site's cover page when I was telling Bill Drake all the details of how I wanted his illustration to look back in 1996. The lower-than-most windshield, the unfilled grille shell with the original trim left where it belongs, the dropped-and-drilled I-beam front axle, the finned aluminum Buick brake drums, the skinny front tires and monster slicks were all specified thanks to the lasting impression this car left behind from when I first saw it in a color, two-page spread in Petersen's Street Rod Pictorial back in 1971.

When it appeared in the August, 2001 issue of Rod and Custom, the classic highboy was finally given its first feature, written by Thom Taylor.

Back in 1973, Gary sold the car to fellow Missouri rodder Don Ward, who has kept it unchanged except for selling the wheels and tires to a local rodder (who also sold me the pair of 16 by 13 Halibrand magnesium wheels I'm using on the back of my roadster).

Gary is currently gathering the parts to build a clone of his car, which many of us consider to be one of the all-time great Deuce roadsters.

Jerry Kugel's full-fendered roadster, with Jaguar XKE front and rear suspension, built back in 1968, was the car that started the independent suspension trend in hot rods. You'll find it featured in the March 1969 issue of Rod & Custom.

Serving as the Kugel family daily driver, the roadster also carried Jerry, his wife, and their newborn son home from the hospital. And now father and son are both Bonneville Salts Flats 200 MPH Club members. If these guys weren't such nice people they'd be annoying.

Dennis and Debbie Kyle's roadster Dennis Kyle and his wife Debbie are often seen on the road in Southern California, enjoying their 283-powered orange roadster with Real Wheels up front, early E-T III 16 by 10s out back, a lift-off top, and some exceptionally tasteful pinstriping.

This project was initiated by Tom Senter, the son of the movie production designer Jack Senter, around 1970. After Tom died of cancer, Dennis stepped up and took over the completion of Tom's dream Deuce.

The tasty roadster is based on a fiberglass body that was produced by John Brown (who himself became a cancer victim in 2001). The deck lid was replaced with a steel piece which received five rows of louvers. Fifteen more louvers were stamped in a piece of sheet steel, which was then welded to the top of the gas tank, inline with the louvers on the trunk. The top of an original hood was used, with more louvers added to match the rest of them, with a pair of custom-built, smooth side panels. Power comes from a classic Chevy 283 with a bigger cam, with handbuilt headers feeding a pair of steel-packed mufflers. A dropped I-beam axle is located by chromed hairpin radius rods. The package was treated to a pair of blue-dot '39 Ford taillights, a filled grille shell, and an orange paint job that was topped off with tasteful, understated black and white scallops.

The result of the dedication and components that went into the project is a fine tribute to Tom Senter that in the eyes of many has become an icon for what a real hot rod should be.

The car was featured in the April, 1988 issue of American Rodder, and has been seen in several hot rod magazines. On page 119 of Pat Ganahl's 1996 book, "Hot Rods and Cool Customs", you can find a shot of the car that shows the car's louvered back end and black "STROKER" California plate. In 2000, the car was featured in poster number four from The Rodder's Journal.

The Bob McGee roadster

The Bob McGee roadster Bob McGee's superb, red highboy roadster was easily the nicest Deuce of the Forties, and remains one of the most beautiful hot rods of all time.

Bob told me that this was his second Deuce roadster. His first one, built in 1946, was demolished while he was overseas serving after WWII.

The McGee roadster shown here was originally built back in 1948 and first featured in Hot Rod Magazine that year. More recently, after having been restored, it has been displayed at the NHRA Museum in Pomona, California,

The McGee roadster was one of the first Deuces to have hidden door hinges. The bottom of the trunk lid was extended and the panel below the trunk was shortened to just over an inch, with the license plate and a pair of 1950 Pontiac taillights mounted near the bottom.

In 1996, Bob told me that Vic Edelbrock's car had some influence on his roadsters, as did the work of Kelly Craig, Johnny McCoy and Hank Negley. In order to achieve the car's look, a lot of care was given to the frame (by kicking it up at the rear, allowing the back of the car to sit lower), the front and rear springs, and tire sizes.
The Bob McGee roadster This car was eventually sold to Dick Scritchfield, one of the founders of the L.A. Roadsters club, and used as the model for their logo. Dick left the '39 Ford transmission in place and dropped in a conservative, 10:1 small block Chevy with a pair of Holley 650s on a tunnel ram. He drove it on the street and at Bonneville, where he set a C/Street Roadster record of just over 165 miles per hour in 1970. The January, 1971 issue of Rod & Custom magazine had a feature on it, showing it in both street and salt trim.

The McGee roadster is currently owned by Bruce Meyer, and has been completely restored by So-Cal Speed Shop. It is easily one of the most tasteful and significant Deuce roadsters in history.

Tom McMullen's roadster Tom McMullen's original, wildly-flamed highboy wasn't the most subtle '32 of all time, but it ranks among the most famous. McMullen was an aggressive businessman and promoter, who also had the roadster featured in movies and on several album covers in the 1960s.

Tom was lucky enough to be able to do it all with this car, from regular street driving, racing at Bonneville, El Mirage, and drag strips, and entering it in car shows, and that's a big part of what makes the car outstanding.

The car's highlights included a 4:71-blown small-block Chevy, a Moon 3.5-gallon tank up front, and flames that were laid out by Ed Roth.

When he founded Street Rodder magazine in 1972, McMullen's car became its icon.

The Chevy engine was replaced with a blown and injected big block Ford before McMullen sold it to a rodder in Riverside. It sat in his garage until he died. His widow had it rebuilt by California Street Rods, where the distinctive, historically-significant flames and pinstriping disappeared. The only remaining exterior clues to the car's history were the Moon tank and the chromed, drilled, split wishbones. The car was sold to Albert Baca in Riverside, California.

Bob Morris' Double Nickel Bob Morris enlisted an all-star cast to assemble the "Double Nickel", his version of the ultimate '32 roadster, including chassis work by Pete Chapouris, magic by metal masters Ron Covell and Steve Davis, engine building and detail work by machinist Allen Jennings, along with leather artistry by Ron Mangus.

The key ingredients in this recipe for perfection included a Ford Indy car engine with Weslake heads from a Dan Gurney Eagle, magnesium Halibrand wheels that were one of nine sets built in the late 1950s for Bonneville racers, a solid original body with a Du Vall windshield, a hand-formed aluminum top and fuel tanks, some unique and very tasteful metal finishing, and enough details to make your head spin.

If you can, dig out a copy of the April, 1993 issue of Rod & Custom magazine and study this phenomenal piece of work.

Tommy Otis and the L.A. Highboy Tommy Otis is shown here getting his superb "L.A. Highboy" ready for the 50th Grand National Roadster Show, where back in 1993 it had come very close to winning the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award.

A master pinstriper who can be found at all of the L.A. Roadsters events, Tommy conceived and built the car that defines contemporary nostalgia hot rodding: a black Deuce roadster with flames and pinstriping; steel wheels with beauty rings, Mercury hub caps and wide whites; split, drilled, and chromed wishbones; chrome "Limefire" headers that poke through the hood sides and sweep out and back; louvered side panels; and meticulous attention to detail.

This is a wild hot rod, but everything about it is late-Fifties period-perfect, and tastefully done without being overdone. It's a masterpiece.

George Poteet's coupe George Poteet's 1932 Ford five-window coupe stands at the top of all contemporary Deuce highboy five-windows.

Construction was handled by Dave Lane at the FastLane Rod Shop, where some very subtle body mods were added. A one-inch top chop, combined with the one-inch stretch to the wheelbase and hood, and a pair of roadster quarter panels (which have a flare around the body reveal that runs around the fender line) all add character to the lines of the car.

Look closely at this car, and you'll discover some trick parts, like the custom-built, Kelsey-Hayes-inspired wires, and a one-off dash cluster that Classic Instruments built to fit the '40 dash.

The winner of the Goodguys "Street Rod of the Year" award, George's coupe was featured in the January 2004 issue of Rod & Custom, where this Rich Chenet photo appeared. A complete list of all of the car's awards, magazine features, and details can be found on the FastLane Rod Shop site.

Very nicely done.

Tom Prufer's 1932 Ford three-window coupe Tom Prufer's chopped, flamed, and very black three-window highboy with a 3.5-gallon Moon tank, Limefire headers, chrome hairpins, polished Halibrands and some very hot flames done by Rod Powell, debuted in early 1989 at the Grand National Roadster Show. This coupe was first pictured on page 20 of the June 1989 issue of Rod & Custom magazine. It's a mean-looking rod that you'll sometimes see on subscription forms in Rod & Custom. The car just looks right.

If you could see all of the superb cars he's built over the years, and the degree of taste and craftsmanship in them, you'd understand why Tom would get my vote as the ultimate hot rodder of all time. He has always used the finest parts on his cars, and readily admits that he has had help from the most talented people.

At the Grand National Roadster Show in 1993, Tom debuted a new '32 three-window with red paint, and his signature Halibrand magnesium wheels, Limefire headers, and Moon tank. A similar red coupe debuted at the 1999 show, with more of Rod Powell's classic yellow flames, red-painted vintage magnesium Halibrands with polished knockoffs, and an outstanding engraved dash insert. This also has been sold so Tom can build "just one more".

Dick Scritchfield's phaeton Dick Scritchfield's beautiful and elegant stock-bodied phaeton with chrome Chrysler wires, is still seen rumbling around Hawaii.

Back in 1957, Dick founded the L.A. Roadsters. At their runs in the late Sixties, this was one car that always got my attention. Like Wayne Henderson's Victoria, the car appeared stock except for wheels, tires, and stance. This one is a keeper.

Doane Spencer roadster Doane Spencer's roadster was another trend-setting car that was originally built back in 1947 with a George Du Vall windshield, understated lines and great workmanship.

The car's current custodian, Bruce Meyer, had the car completely restored by So-Cal Speed Shop in Pomona, California, and they did a superb job.

In August of 1997, the roadster won first place in the Class R Historic Hot Rods category at the Pebble Beach Concours d' Elegance, the first year hot rods were a part of this event.

Steve Posson, a talented automotive artist and sculptor, has created a 1/16-scale replica of the Spencer roadster.

I was fortunate enough to be able to see this car at the 50th anniversary Grand National Roadster Show in February of 1999. The Doane Spencer car has a presence like few others, oozing so much class (not to mention its history) that it stands above all the others. If you're really into Deuces, when you see this one up close, it almost seems to talk to you. It's quite a car.

The Stan Wanlass roadster Stanley Wanlass is a talented artist and sculptor who built a black roadster that stands out and holds its own in any group of cars.

A dropped I-beam and a set of classic big and little wheels and tires provide the stance, with motivation supplied by a ZZ-430 crate engine. By starting with an array of the right parts that includes a spun-aluminum, 3 1/2-gallon Moon tank resting up front, Stan added a lot of hard work and attention to detail to the mix, even designing and building his own unique top that can be folded up and stored in the trunk.

More than anything else, the element that really makes the car exceptional is the windshield that Stan designed and cast in bronze. He told me that while he was restoring the body, he realized that the shape of a '32 Ford roadster body has no straight lines anywhere. It occured to him that the original flat windshield didn't seem to be a part of the design as well as it would have if it hadn't taken until the 1950s for the automotive industry to be able to manufacture curved safety glass. Stan gave his windshield a subtle curve along its width, and cast new windshield stanchions and posts that resembled the original pieces, only lower and laid back at a radical 41 degrees. A production version of this windshield, made from polished stainless steel, is now available from Roadsters.com.

Have a look at the feature on Stan and this car in issue fifteen of The Rodder's Journal and you'll see that one of the results of his creativity is a hot rod that is part Art Deco and part race car — that rare and striking combination that could be called "wicked elegance".

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