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Written by Hot Rod Archives on August 20, 2013
First captured in HOT ROD mag's October 1948 cover, this Roadster displays an astonishing list of innovations.
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.

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.

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.
Video here.https://www.motorauthority.com/news...-iconic-mcgee-scritchfield-1932-ford-roadster
If you had to pick one car as the quintessential hot rod, the McGee/Scritchfield Roadster would be as good a choice as any. It's one of the most legendary, historic, and iconic hot rods in the history of the hobby, and it's a car that lived numerous lives.
This documentary, by the Historic Vehicle Association's ThisCarMattersFilms, traces the history of the McGee/Scritchfield roadster and does it in the context of the history of hot rodding. Hot rods got their start before World War II, but they really took off after the war, when GIs returned home with a taste for adventure, some money in their pockets, and experience with mechanical equipment.

The choice of the hot rodder was the 1932 Ford, which was the first affordable car offered with a V-8, the venerable flathead. The car had style, too, and it looked good with the fenders on or off.
One of those '32s was a car purchased by USC football player Bob McGee, a returning veteran who modified his car with a style that would pass the test of time. He did some of the work on his own and worked with shops to do the rest. McGee removed the fenders, making it a highboy, and notched the frame in back to get just the right stance. He added louvers to the hood; removed the door handles, hinges, latches, and radiator cap; Vee'd the front spreader bar; and performed other mods that made the car cleaner and smoother. Under the hood, the modified flathead V-8 got Federal Mogul copper heads and a Burns intake. It was the first Deuce highboy to appear on the cover of Hot Rod magazine in the October 1948 issue.

If the car never did anything else, it would be an icon.

McGee sold the car in 1955 to Dick Hirschberg, who painted it yellow and installed a Corvette V-8, making it one of the first hot rods with a small-block Chevy V-8. A year later, Hirschberg traded it to Dick Scritchfield for a 1948 Lincoln Continental, and it started a new life that represents another important part of hot rod history. Scritchfield was an NHRA employee, and he used it to run at Bonneville. He installed a tunnel-ram-fed 350-cubic-inch Chevrolet V-8, applied one of the first metalflake paint jobs, and ran 167.21 mph at Bonneville, setting a C/Roadster record that would last for nine years.

While owned by Scritchfield, the car appeared in the movies "Hot Rod Gang" and "Van Nuys Blvd," as well as the television shows "The Lawrence Welk Show," "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," "The Real McCoys," "Happy Days," and "Fantasy Island."

The car is now owned by noted hot rod collector Bruce Meyer, who had the So-Cal Speed Shop restore it back to the way it looked when McGee first built it back in the late 1940s.

The McGee/Scritchfield roadster helped set the trends for hot rod styling in its early days, became a true performer later on, and represented hot rods in Hollywood for more than 20 years. It became part of the National Historic Vehicle Register this past April, and is so famous that it was even immortalized on a postage stamp. Yeah, it's the quintessential hot rod.