The Petersen Automotive Museum, located in downtown Los Angeles, California, and situated along The Miracle Mile section of Wilshire Boulevard, honored the 75th anniversary of the '32 Ford by hosting a weeklong list of activities that would tire even the most ardent fan of the Deuce.
Events began on a Monday, when an open house of the four-story, 300,000-square-foot museum greeted registrants. The museum traces the history of the automobile and its impact on society, plus it houses many galleries that pertain to a specific type of transportation (including motorcycles and hot rods).
On Tuesday, folks could board a bus at the museum and get hauled around Los Angeles to visit various locations, including the Edelbrock Museum and the car collections of Art Astor and Jack Croul. On Wednesday, things stepped up when interested parties drove their own cars and visited the SO-CAL Speed Shop in Pomona. SO-CAL's Pete Chapouris had planned for a few rodders to show up, but said he was pleasantly surprised when nearly several hundred cars and owners arrived for the open house. His shop is the spot for one of the best hot rod gatherings (held the day before Father's Day weekend) in the country each year, but a whole different group of people showed up for this low-key gig, and Pete was happy to talk to everyone, including many out-of-staters. The event also included a lunch, which was sponsored by the L.A. Roadsters car club.
On Thursday, folks left the Petersen and met up at the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, one of the finest automobile collections in the country. A no-host lunch followed at the Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas, with a cruise along the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu to top off the day's driving chores.
On Thursday night, a Legends Dinner was held that featured guests Alex Xydias, Vic Edelbrock Jr., Wally Parks, Bob Petersen, Bud Meyer, and others who all gave great accounts of what it was like in the early days of hot rodding, much to the delight of the crowd.
By Friday, things were getting ramped up with the gradual increase of cars being fed into the parking structure of the Petersen Museum (for Saturday's car show) and an evening auction and concert. The auction was done in two parts: car parts and musical instruments. The car parts were actually '32 Ford grille shells that had been created especially for this event and customized by Roy Brizio, Barry Lobeck, and the SO-CAL Speed Shop. The instruments were autographed by the evening's entertainment, which consisted of Jimmie Vaughan and his Tilt-A-Whirl Band with special guests Michael Anthony (formerly of Van Halen), Billy F. Gibbons (of ZZ Top), and guitar wizard Jeff Beck.
The auctioneers, Checkered Flag club members Bruce Meyers and event organizer Derek DeHeras, did their best to raise funds for the museum, going as far as even selling the huge Tom Fritz artwork/banners that loomed at each end of the hall. The next items to go across the block were the three electric guitars and the one bass (that Anthony would play that evening). In all, more than $80,000 was raised, a substantial amount for only nine items in the auction.
Vaughan and his band then started up and played a few songs before Anthony, Gibbons, and Beck joined him on stage. Any one of these great artists could fill a venue in his own right, but Beck turned out to be the star attraction for everyone, including the other artists. When it was noticed Anthony had been smiling the whole way through the intense set of seven or so songs, he commented, "I was on stage with Jeff Beck-it doesn't get any better than that!" Considering who Anthony has been playing alongside these past 30 years, it was high praise indeed.
The following morning arrived with the slow parade of '32s into the four-level Petersen parking structure. By midday, an informal count of 450 vehicles included those in the structure, a special section of magazine cover cars, and more inside the museum. Those in the structure were driven in by their owners, who then parked and checked out everyone else's cars before wandering through the museum or the row of manufacturers' booths that were erected just for this event.
A special exhibit called "32 Days of the '32 Deuce" had been set up inside the museum to showcase many of the iconic '32s that have made their mark in automotive history. Viewers could see the original roadster Vic Edelbrock Sr. raced on the dry lakes in the '40s, Fred Steele's East Coast-based roadster, plus many others from around the country and throughout time.
There were no awards presented at this event-it was intended to be a celebration, and that is exactly what it turned out to be. When you think about the possibility of another function like this ever happening again, such as on the 80th or even the 100th anniversary of the '32 Ford, you realize it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those who spent that one week in Los Angeles in early 2007.
Cover Car Row was a special...
Cover Car Row was a special section full of vehicles that had been featured on the cover of a hot rod publication at one time or another (and STREET RODDER alum were well represented).
In another section of the...
In another section of the museum was a display of original Ed "Big Daddy" Roth artwork, including this unique display of original silk screens for his famous Rat Fink T-shirts.
All styles of cars were shown...
All styles of cars were shown in the Cover Car Section, including Sam Davis' traditional five-window from the November 2000 issue of Rod & Custom and John Coute's fire-breather with its special cut-out exhaust system.
Inside the museum, the "32...
Inside the museum, the "32 Days of the '32 Deuce" exhibit showcased a wide range of '32 Ford body styles-from roadsters to phaetons. Many were historic vehicles, built and driven by some of the biggest names in the world of hot rods.
Rare? How 'bout an unrestored...
Rare? How 'bout an unrestored '32 B400? A whole row of original '32s was parked behind the display booths set up for manufacturers.
Buddy Pepp is an L.A.-based...
Buddy Pepp is an L.A.-based hot rodder with a long history of owning some great cars, and he currently owns this roadster-a classic example of traditional '32 styling.
Hot rodders all, the line-up...
Hot rodders all, the line-up for the Friday night concert included (from left) Van Halen's Michael Anthony, ZZ Top's Billy F. Gibbons, Jimmie Vaughan, and Jeff Beck.