Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster

TS3X65MPH

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Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« on: June 21, 2016, 04:14:18 PM »
Bob Mcgee/Dick Scritchfield Roadster.
From Kustomrama
1932 Ford Highboy Roadster built by Gear Grinders member Bob McGee of Huntington Park, California. Bob bought the roadster in 1940, and it underwent a number of modifications before he went off to the War. While Bob was away he turned the car over to a friend. The friend managed to turn it over. After returning from the war, Bob started the re-construction of the car in 1947. The build was completed in 1948, and took 4 months. This version of the roadster landed the cover of Hot Rod Magazine October 1948. Modifications included hidden door hinges, and a specially fabricated full-length deck lid by legendary metal man Whitey Clayton of Clayton Metal Shop. Whitey did also create a unique extended dash and a innovative three-piece hood for the roadster. The dash was highlighted with an oversized tachometer that was intentionally reminiscent of the panels in the ill-fated 1935 Miller-Ford Indy cars, and the hood featured an unique latching mechanism.[1] The dashboard was painted Maroon, and it featured a 1940 Ford steering wheel. It did also have a filled radiator shell, 1946 Pontiac taillights, and Mercury hubcaps. Bob's desire was to have a body centerline that was low and parallel with the horizon. To do this, he installed a dropped front axle and reversed the eyes on the front spring. In the rear he kicked the frame up, and reversed the rear spring. All unnecessary holes in the frame were filled, the frame horns were boxed, and a peaked spreader bar was installed. The backing plates were cad-plated, the front shocks, tie rod, pitman arm and drag link were chromed. Power came from a 1934 Ford engine that was, ported, relieved, and bored out to 236 cubic inches. The engine was also equipped with rare 21-stud Federal Mogul bronze heads. The valves were operated by a Bertrand cam. Twin Stromberg 97s on a Burns Intake, and Spalding Zephyr-type ignition were also installed. Zephyr transmission and Ford differential turned the 7.00X16 rear tires. The roadster was converted to hydraulic brakes.

Bob's roadster was the first car to receive a National Safety Council green cross decal. The event was covered by all of the Los Angeles newspapers and Hot Rod Magazine.

Bob's friend sold the roadster to Dick Hirschberg in 1955. In 1957 Hirschberg traded the car and $800 to Dick Scritchfield for a 1948 Lincoln Continental convertible that Scritchfield had hopped up with a Cadillac OHV engine. Scritchfield replaced the dropped axle on the roadster with one of the last 4 Bell dropped tube axles they had left, and chromed all the non-chromed suspension parts. Later on, he also replaced the drum brakes with Airheart disc-brakes. A Hildebrand quick change rear end was located for a good price, and Tex Smith helped him adapt it to the '32 frame, as it had been in a Chevrolet sedan. For a number of years Scritchfield ran the rear end locked before breaking the ring gear. He then rebuilt it unlocked, making it easier to park at low speeds. After trying different gears, he found out that the street gear worked the best, so he always drove it in the Bonneville combination.

Towards the end of 1960, Dick gave the roadster a Metalflake paint job, and the car is known as the first car ever to be painted in Metalflake. The Metalflake was painted in Eagle Rock, California, at a friend's body shop. Dick used two toners to arrive at the exact color he wanted. Rather than using Gold Metalflake as base for the Candy Apple Red, Dick used Silver Metalflake, with the final color coming closer to magenta or cherry red. After painting the car, Tex Smith thought it would be a good idea to drive the car down to Dean Jeffries for a photo shoot. The Metalflaked version of Dick's roadster, that Tex shot, was featured in Hot Rod Magazine February 1961, who ran a cover story on Metalflake paint. As the photo shoot was done at Jeffries' shop, many thought it was Jeffries that applied the Metalflake on Dick's roadster. The article did also discuss that an "older car was painted at Dean Jeffries", which made it sound like it was the roadster. In 2013 Dick told Kustomrama that "Dean was a great guy, and he could have painted it, but he didn't. It was at a time where I was learning and doing most of the work myself, since money was tight in those days." The older car mentioned in the story was actually Tex Smith's 1949 Buick, not Dick's roadster. The Buick paint did not make it to "show" or even "street" quality, and Dick can't remember how Tex got rid of it. Dick always enjoyed Tex's saying that the Buick looked "quite distinctive on Hollywood Boulevard." According to himself, "It was really bad (and I don't mean good) by today's meaning. Barris' came out much better. The large flakes were a bit "gaudy" for my tastes, so I opted for the smaller, less intrusive which Ducommun Industries and Ditzler provided. They were the original manufacturers and gave me pointers on spraying the flake. All the details were in the magazine article. With the new gravity feed guns, it would be much easier to apply. It really takes lots of clear coats, especially if using the large flake." When Ducommun Industries and Ditzler came up with flake, they were looking for a use for the excess from their metallic threads. Creating flake that could be shot through a spray gun was a problem at the time, as gravity feed guns had not become readily available and the nozzles on pressure guns were not large enough to shoot the flake. As Dick felt large flakes were too gaudy for his taste, he used the finer flakes. Dick remembers that Tom McMullen later had George Cerny shot his roadster with the large flake, but he had trouble getting the clear deep enough to cover the flake, and it didn't come out well. Dick believes the factory guys were sent to him from Hot Rod Magazine as they were looking for someway to showcase their product, wanting a hot rod, show car and a family car as their examples. The article from Hot Rod Magazine February 1961 showed the factory guys were working with Dick when it was painted.

While Dick owned the roadster, it was featured in about 16 movies and television shows, such as Dragnet, 77 Sunset Strip, Happy Days and Fantasy Island.

In 1970 Dick ran the Roadster in the C/Roadster class at Bonneville, and set a record of 165 mph. In 1971 he set a new speed record on Bonneville, running 168.212 mph as the world's fastest roadster in 1971. Power came from a 350 cid Chevrolet V8, and Dick held the record for 9 years. During that time the roadster was continually driven on the street. The acrylic lacquer on Dick's roadster lasted until about 1972, when he repainted it black because of the scorching of the door paint from running top speed with the headers open at Bonneville.

After owning the roadster for 33 years, Dick sold it to Brian LaBonge. Brian LaBonge sold it to Bob Everts. In 1999 So-Cal Speed Shop restored the car back to its original version for its current owner Bruce Meyer.
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32drifter

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2016, 09:41:32 AM »
Since this rod is the logo for the 50th LARS, I thought this article from Hot Rod might be of interest AND some photos:     To keep the roadster low, level, and light, McGee used one of Ed “Axle” Stewart’s “Dago” dropped axles up front with reversed-eye springs and Z’d the frame in the rear, adding a Model A crossmember and spring with reversed eyes. The front framehorns were trimmed back, with a V’d spreader bar welded between them—a rodding first. The body featured hidden hinges, another first. McGee found that ’40 Studebaker hinges worked well for the conversion. A three-piece aluminum hood was fabricated with the signature reverse-stagger, two-row louvered sides, and three rows staggered on top. It featured a hidden latching mechanism activated with a special McGee-fabbed wrench. The grille top was filled and peaked, and the cowl vent was filled. The windshield was chopped 11⁄2 inches. This may all seem like Deuce highboy boilerplate, but don’t forget this was done immediately after the war to a car that was only 15 years old.


In back, McGee had California Metal Shaping create a unique one-piece decklid that extended all of the way to the bottom reveal above the gas tank—restored by “Speed” LeFever at So-Cal, and the replicated Carson top was rebuilt by Birdman at So-Cal. The ’46 Pontiac taillights were attached on either side of the traditional license plate location. The uncluttered roadster almost looks contemporary and is laser-straight.
Every ’32 Ford hot rod has something borrowed from this roadster. Captured by HOT ROD founder Robert E. Petersen as it ran through the USC campus for the mag’s Oct. ’48 cover, the Bob McGee roadster is the prototypical Deuce roadster and displays an astonishing list of hot rod innovations, both cosmetically and under the skin.

As much attention to detail was afforded the chassis as the body, which received chrome-pl
McGee jumped into the roadster build in 1947, immediately upon returning from the Philippines after the war. His approach was to build a roadster as low, level, and light as possible, without channeling the body over the frame. When he couldn’t do the work himself, he used the best: Whitey Clayton of Valley Custom for the aluminum dash, the legendary Jimmy Summers for bodywork, Carson Top for the padded removable top, and California Metal Shaping for the extended decklid.

McGee intended to race the ’32 at the SoCal desert dry lakes and at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, which he did, while also using it from ’47 to ’52 as a daily driver during his time at USC. The roadster ran a best of 112.21 at Harpers Dry Lake in B/Roadster. The Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) eyed the roadster as the centerpiece for its safety rally, organized by Wally Parks (HOT ROD’s first editor and founder of the NHRA), where roadster owners took a safety pledge and joined the National Safety Council. With the publicity this garnered, the ’32 was forever dubbed the Safety Council Roadster. Under L.A. Roadster club founder Dick Scritchfield’s ownership in the late ’50s, a depiction of the Deuce became the club logo and is still in use today. As Dick went on to work for HOT ROD’s sister pubs Car Craft and Rod & Custom, the roadster was used in many articles and promotions, including being the recipient of what was considered the first metal-flake paintjob. Its magazine exposure led to appearances in many TV shows and B movies in the ’50s and ’60s. But that didn’t keep the roadster away from racing. In 1970, with Chevy power, the roadster went 165 mph at Bonneville, setting a class record in C/Roadster, and in 1971, returned for another record at 167.21, which stood for years—earning it the title of World’s Fastest Roadster.

McGee went with a ’34 21-stud flathead, but he chose to run the unique solid silicon bronz
Purchasing the Deuce in ’92, current owner Bruce Meyer had SoCal Speed Shop in Pomona, California, restore it to its ’48 HOT ROD cover configuration. McGee was contacted and enthusiastically participated, providing information and even a set of the rare Federal Mogul flathead Ford heads. Sadly, he died just before the car was completed in 1998.

The next time you see a hot rodded Deuce roadster, remember that McGee DNA was created more than 65 years ago and is still influencing builders as one of the cornerstones of hot rodding.

The first cover:

32drifter

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2016, 09:46:10 AM »
SO many innovations! Hard to believe it was built in the 40's... definitely a head of its time.

More magazine/book coverage:


32drifter

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2016, 09:47:38 AM »
From the 75 show

HOTRODPRIMER

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2016, 09:47:50 AM »
Thanks for posting this Ken,this is one of my all time favorite roadsters. HRP

DavyJ

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2016, 09:48:32 AM »
Just more proof that some people are born with style in their blood..............what a timeless treasure!
Living life at a 100 smiles per hour!

TS3X65MPH

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2016, 03:39:16 PM »
THANKS FOR THE HISTORY.
WHEN DICK SCRITCHFIELD OWNED IT:
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2016, 03:39:42 PM »
BRUCE MEYERS OWNS IT NOW.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2016, 03:41:42 PM »
SO many innovations! Hard to believe it was built in the 40's... definitely ahead of its time.
A FEW OF THEM.
You Aren't Living If Your Windshield Isn't Dirty.

lurker mick

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2016, 03:43:07 PM »
Here's the McGee roadster and the clone that is being built to auction off for the Alex Xydias center for Automotive Arts.

Mick

TS3X65MPH

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2016, 03:44:29 PM »
IN PRINT
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2016, 03:46:32 PM »
A FEW I TOOK AT THE 75 YR SHOW
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2016, 03:48:12 PM »
FRAME
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2016, 03:49:00 PM »
MOTOR
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2016, 03:51:03 PM »
When Dick Scritchfield owned it.
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TS3X65MPH

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Re: Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield roadster
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2016, 03:52:49 PM »
Dick Scritchfield Van Nuys Blvd
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