The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, celebrated National Hot Rod Day last weekend with the opening of a new exhibit highlighting 90 years of the 1932 Ford Model 18, known as the “Deuce” that arguably changed hot-rodding culture forever. June 11 marks National Hot Street Day once again this year, so Petersen is hosting a grand rooftop gala upstairs of a new exhibit featuring food, drink, dance, ZZ Top guitarist and vocalist Billy Gibbons, and, of course, some greats. hot rod.
Then, for a special Sunday Breakfast Club Cruise—In the following morning, the Deuces fleet stopped by the Petersen garage where 250 hot rods registered for the show gathered together with the crowds of fans and even some fans dressed up the ninth in classic lube style.
Hot-Rodding Period Over Decades
The Deuce hot rod is typically built on a 1932 to ’34 Ford Model 18 chassis, preferably over the Model B which uses a smaller four-cylinder engine, with the tall front grille swinging backwards to open the front and rear wheels, plus a variety of positions. different. trying to accentuate the natural lines of the design.
The building period of the past nine decades—both on display at the Petersen exhibit and a sailing Sunday morning—reveals just how much hot-rodding has evolved between eras. Personal taste also comes into the mix, with some builders preferring bright jobs, neat paint jobs, and custom dashes while others go in the worse direction with rust, ripped leather, and chopped tops, instead.
Classic Deuces Reinvented
Of course, the iconic Beach Boys album and title track “Little Deuce Coupe” is played over the loudspeakers along with the usual auto-themed tunes, while the automotive crowd draws in onlookers and appreciative audiences. But the lyric “You don’t know what I got” refers to how much performance hot-rodders hoped for the ’32 Ford, which hit the market as the first affordable, mass-produced vehicle available with a V8 engine.
Ford’s (and Mercury) flathead V8 fits into history as the company’s first self-developed V8 and remains popular with hot-rodders to this day, despite notorious reliability concerns due to Ford’s cost-cutting measures such as using three main bearings instead of five. which is more typical to support the engine’s load, plus an exhaust hole that goes through the cylinder head and transmits so much heat that overcooling and installing a radiator is mandatory.
More Power is Better
Many Deuce Coupes and Roadsters arrive with the engine cover completely removed, in classic hot-rod style, while the rest naturally open up their engine bays to reveal shiny carburetors, polished intake manifolds, and custom exhaust headers—not to mention old-fashioned tech like generators and distributors for those who avoid more modern developments ranging from electronic ignition and injection or alternators when choosing the V8 they want to use. Many builds feature four cylinders as well, including pairing with Offenhauser valve covers, though others look like they’re using the relatively new 5.0-liter from FoMoCo.
All Custom Details Imaginable
The wide range of engine options, exterior details and interior design make meeting up mostly one 90 year old model year even more enjoyable. The flames and stripes on the exterior, the chopped roof and French trim, the hand-laid dashboard, and the glistening see-through shift knob all match this mix.
Nothing Old But The Body
To some extent, many existing Deuces arrive so customized that only the old Ford steel body remains of the original car. With so much exposed, I checked the custom exhaust tips, drum brake housings, steering components and differential cover. The variety of wheels, tires, shocks, and springs is simply mind-blowing—as my automotive knowledge grew, I discovered how much I still needed to read about hot rod manufacture and culture.
History of Hot-Rodding
Downstairs at Petersen provides the perfect moment to escape the sun and reflect on the origins of hot-rodding, typically associated with booze and booze makers wanting the power of a Ford V8 to help outrun the cops while hauling hot loads. But culture evolved over the years, evolving into flat racers, Carrera Panamericana entrants, and even movie stars: one of the Deuces in Petersen appeared in an early installment of Marvel’s franchise. Iron Man and Iron Man II (2008 and 2010, respectively) as Robert Downey Jr. Tony Stark instructs his savvy friend Jarvis to add a little red hot-rod to the flying armor that became his name.
Celebrity Builders Revitalize Classic Cars
Of course, no hot rod exhibition can be considered complete without an appearance by Chip Foose, who is largely considered the greatest (and certainly the most famous) hot rod designer alive today. Foose got into the game while still a student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and later received mentorship while working for Boyd Coddington. He wrote the Boydster II while still working for Coddington, then repurchased the car, redesigned and reworked it after the owners made several changes, and eventually sold what is now known as ‘0032’ to Petersen for a sum large enough to allow the purchase of the Huntington building. Beach which is the headquarters of Foose Design.
Including a car lift at the show allowed Petersen to not only show off some neat belly mechanics but also reference the incredible amount of time, work, knowledge, and talent that went into creating some of the world’s most famous hot rods.
Analog Driving In Modern Era
The Deuce Gala and the packaged Sunday Cruise-In reveal how strongly hot-rod culture still attracts fans, although the older generation represented by Gibbons and many owners in later years also hints at a certain demographic that grew up entangled with, and loved by, the era. Ford’s most iconic ’32. Simpler timing and simpler construction make this kind of hot rod seem attractive enough to anyone hoping to start building their own dream—compared to the still-running Petersen Hypercars exhibit, and the electric car collection on display, the Deuce Coupe is almost a tool. primitive compared to more modern scalpels.
Thanks to nine decades of hot-rodding, not to mention the inspiration available online via social media these days, Petersen’s celebration of Ford’s iconic contribution to hot-rod culture gave engine revs, classic rock, and Americana all weekend to celebrate Hot Rod Day. official national.
Sources: petersen.org, nationaldayarchives.com, enginelabs.com, ford.com, and chipfoose.com.