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Hot Rod History


1932 Ford McMullen Roadster


The World's Most Iconic Hot Rod

Tom McMullen became a hot rodding legend due in large part to his most famous creation, this 1932 Ford Deuce roadster, which had already appeared in publicity shots for actor Nick Adams and in the “Life of Riley” and “Lassie” TV shows when McMullen purchased it as a young man in 1958. Dissatisfied with the roadster’s performance, McMullen began a series of modifications that included a GMC 4-71 supercharged 301 CI small block, a Halibrand quick-change, a parachute and a pressurized Moon fuel tank up front. “Big Daddy” Ed Roth laid out the McMullen-sprayed flames and added his trademark pinstriping, giving the car the trend-setting look that caught the imagination of a generation of rodders when it appeared on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine in April 1963. McMullen then switched to 327 power, famously racing on the street, the drag strip and on the dry lake bed of El Mirage, where he set the A/Street Roadster record of 167 MPH in 1964.

For a time the McMullen roadster seemed to be everywhere, appearing on several record album covers, in advertisements, TV shows and movies and on the front covers of Popular Hot Rodding and McMullen’s own Street Rodder, the latter after he had sold the car. After years of modifications and changes rendered the car almost unrecognizable, it was completely dismantled by Roy Brizio, who meticulously restored it as it had appeared on the 1963 Hot Rod cover. Flamed, chopped and dropped once more, the McMullen Roadster earned Third in Class at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, reinforcing its status as the World’s Most Iconic Hot Rod.

  • The World’s Most Iconic Hot Rod
  • Built by the Legendary Tom McMullen
  • Original Iconic flame design by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth
  • Purchased by McMullen in 1958 and continuously modified it until it was sold in 1970
  • Complete known ownership history from Tom McMullen to Present
  • Appeared on the covers of Hot Rod Magazine, Street Rodder, and Popular Hot Rodding
  • Starred on several record album covers, advertisements, on TV and movies
  • Drag raced both illegally on the streets and sanctioned strips including the Riverside drags
  • Ran in official NHRA National events at Pomona and Indy
  • Set a top speed record for street roadsters at El Mirage Dry Lake and Bonneville
  • - Restored by Roy Brizio exactly as it appeared on the April ’63 cover of Hot Rod Magazine
  • Flamed, chopped and dropped
  • Supercharged Chevy small block
  • 1939 Ford gearbox
  • Moon Racing aluminum fuel tank
  • Race inspired American magnesium wheels
  • 3rd in class at 2007 Pebble Beach

This car was auctioned by Mecum Auctions in November 2012 and was sold for $700,000!



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