The Petersen Automotive Museum recently got a generous donation, so now everyone can enjoy seeing one of the classic American hot rods.
Bruce Meyer, a famous car collector, recently gave away the keys for his 1932 Ford “McGee Roadster” to Terry L. Karges (Executive Director of Petersen Automotive Museum). The car was designed by Bob McGee who made it so popular amongst the hot-rod community that many ended up copying its design. Lastly, this cool hot rod is going to become a part of the Petersen’s permanent collection.
The Petersen Automotive Museum and the McGee Roadster have an interesting connection. It all began with Hot Rod Magazine, which was created by Robert E. Peterson back in 1948. The McGee Roadster became famous when it graced the cover of Hot Rod Magazine as the first street car to be featured on the magazine’s front page! Thanks to his successful publishing work, Robert was able to open an awesome automotive museum in 1994.
“Hot rods are extremely crucial to the car industry, and Robert Petersen was shown as the one who made hot rodding possible to do. This vehicle is an incredible part of car history and it should stay in the Peterson Automotive Museum,” Meyer said. He also created this museum.
The roadster is known for many things like racing on the Bonneville salt flats and having parts of it used in hot rodding. In 1947, McGee added lots of customization to make the car look special. These customizations included a lowered suspension, bigger Lincoln Zephyr rear wheels, a three-piece hood with ridges, grille shell hiding door hinges and no visible door handles. The entire car was painted bright red and had its own unique interior.
Karges said that the McGee Roadster is a lot more important than just being a car. It actually represents a whole time period and group of creative car racers. Bruce’s donation surrounding this makes us happy and overwhelmed to protect this part of history.
In 1956, McGee gave the roadster to Dick Scritchfield, a car lover and someone who worked in the auto industry. With his contacts, Dick started renting out the car for movies and TV shows. It was painted Candy Apple Red with silver sparkles; this was the very first sparkly car paint job ever seen! After that, it was changed several times all before being restored back to its original 1948 look during the 90s by Meyer.
The McGee Roadster had a big impact on hot rodding and made it popular. It also showed up in lots of movies and TV shows, like “Happy Days”, “Dragnet”, and “Fantasy Island” which made it famous to people of the time.
In 2014, the United States Postal Service released a stamp called “Hot Rods Forever” featuring a car. The stamps were designed by Derry Noyes and made on a computer by John Mattos. Later, this same car won awards at two major events – Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Grand National Roadster show. In 2017, it got the honor of being added to a really important list called the National Historic Vehicle Register.
The McGee Roaster is currently displayed in the Ross & Beth Myers Room at the Petersen Automotive Museum. This article is written by ClassicCars.com which is a partner of AutoMotorMart.