Bob McGee's 1932 Ford

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Dick Scritchfield with the roadster June 27, 1957. Dick worked for NHRA and was a cofounder of the L.A. Roadsters. Photo by Eric Rickman, courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
The coupe as it appeared when Dick Scritchfield owned it.
The Bob McGee Roadster in 2008 at the Balckhawk Museum. Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
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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 Bob went off to war. While Bob was away he turned the car over to a friend. The friend managed to turn the car over. After returning from the war, Bob started the re-construction of the car in 1947. The whole build was completed in 1948, and took 4 months. The car featured 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 Bob's 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 in Maroon., and the car featured a 1940 Ford steering wheel.The roadster did also feature 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. Bob also 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. Bob also built a three-piece aluminum hood for the car.


The car was powered by 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. 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 highboy 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 McGee's roadster was featured in 16 movies and television shows, such as Dragnet, 77 Sunset Strip, Happy Days and Fantasy Island.


Bob sold the roadster to Dick Hirschberg. Dick Hirschberg sold the car to Dick Scritchfield, who owned it when it was featured in Hot Rod Magazine April 1962. Dick painted the roadster in Metalflake, and the car is known as the first car ever to be painted in Metalflake. According to Dick, 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. As the photo shoot was done at Jeffries' shop, many thought it was Jeffries that applied the Metalflake on the car. That was not the case. 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."[2]


In 1970 Dick Scritchfield 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.[2] After owning the car for 33 years, Dick sold it to Brian LaBonge. Brian LaBonge sold the car to Bob Everts. In 1999 So-Cal Speedhsop restored the car back to its original version for its current owner Bruce Meyer.


Magazine Features

Hot Rod Magazine October 1948
Trend Book 102 Hot Rods
Hot Rod Magazine April 1962
Rodders Journal Number 36


References

  1. Hot Rod Milestones
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dick Scritchfield


Sources

www.hotrod.com
www.petersen.org




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