If you had the opportunity to throw a party for the Ford Flathead engine and the vehicle in which it first appeared, the '32 Ford, where would that party be held? That was the question put forth more than a year ago by a group of like-minded rodders who felt the only answer to the question was Dearborn, Michigan, the birthplace of both icons.

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of both the Flathead engine and the Deuce, the Deuce@75 committee organized a three-day affair that was chock-full of events, rod runs, and happenings for any fan of the '32. What's more, the committee was able to garner the attention of Ford Motor Company itself, which not only helped sponsor the event but allowed rodders access to some of its facilities during the shindig.

The event started off at the host hotel-the ritzy Hyatt Regency in Dearborn (just down the street from Henry Ford's house). In the hotel's parking lot, rodders and restorers (yes, both types of '32 enthusiasts were side by side at this show) showed their vehicles while taking in some of the vendors that had come to set up shop and sell their wares. In another section of the lot, a small group of swap meeters had brought out everything from vintage porcelain signs to hard-to-find Flathead engine parts for sale. A kick-off party under a big tent then got underway in the evening for the early arrivals, and you could take a few hot dogs and listen to some music with friends.

On Friday morning, entrants had their choice of several local attractions to attend with their fellow rodders, including the Ford River Rouge Assembly Plant (the factory where F-150s are made) or the Automotive Hall of Fame (that documents and memorializes pioneers in the automotive world). Or, as many did, you could cruise on over to one of the many buildings used by Roush Racing and visit the company's car museum in Livonia. Jack Roush, besides being a P-51 Mustang owner/pilot, dedicated one of these buildings to showcase more than 100 vehicles that included everything from the first Roush Mustang to concept cars that were built but never put into production. Many other cars are restored, and a whole other section is devoted to Roush's NASCAR racers.

From there, participants found their way back to Dearborn for a gathering in the parking lot in front of Ford Motor Company's world headquarters building. Inside the lobby of the building, a display of different '32 Fords-from restored sedans to all-out street rods-greeted employees and folks who had come to do business with Ford that day. Outside, amongst the hundreds of cars in attendance, Alan Mullaly (the president of Ford Motor Company) made a pass through the vehicles and checked out a few of them.

Later that night, a gala dinner was held at the upscale Ford Convention and Event Center with not only Mullaly as one of the hundreds of guests, but the mayor of Dearborn as well as Edsel Ford II, along with other members of the Ford family (Mullaly spoke to the crowd, saying he was impressed with the cars he'd seen that day). Rubbing elbows with the Fords isn't something most rodders get to do in their lifetime, and the evening event capped a great day of hot rodding.

The next morning, rodders drove over to Greenfield Village, the 81-acre mini-town that Henry Ford created to show the world what had inspired him while growing up. The Wright Brothers building (from Dayton, Ohio) is there, along with Thomas Edison's laboratory and more than 80 other late-1800/early 1900 structures. Rodders parked on the lawn and took in the sights, were driven around in vintage T tubs, and could even take in a vintage baseball game (played with 1867 rules). If you managed to see everything in the Village, you could then wander over next door to the eight-acre Henry Ford Museum, which was full of items Ford personally collected and gave a home to (from vintage washing machines to fullsize steam locomotives).

A couple of seminars were also held in the nearby Automotive Hall of Fame, including "The Original '32 Ford and Flathead," presented by Dave Rehor, and "A History of Hot Rodding," hosted by journalist Robert Genat that featured a panel of designers and builders such as Larry Erickson and Barry Lobeck, among others, who took questions from the audience.

An informal dinner was set up later that evening behind Ford's headquarters for rodders to grab a bite to eat, listen to a live band, and then park their rides in front of two huge, inflatable movie screens to have a drive-in experience while watching "American Graffiti."

Though a few participants had left by Sunday morning, those who were left drove their cars out to the Edsel Ford estate to have brunch on the grounds and tour the house. Edsel Ford II was also on hand during a ceremony in the front driveway to accept a check for $200,000 made out to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. The money was raised through Detroit Street Rods by having Edsel Ford II autograph a select few Dearborn Deuce roadsters for customers, and was just one of several money-raising efforts for the JDRF in recent months (another being an auction of pedal cars in Monterey, California).

The 75th anniversary of anything only comes around once in life, and the folks who planned the Deuce@75 event wanted to make sure it lived up to expectations. The '32 Ford is the most revered hot rod shape of them all, and the Flathead engine gave birth to a whole world of aftermarket speed equipment (just ask Vic Edelbrock Jr.!). The gathering can be summed up by Keith Crain, from Autoweek magazine, who spoke at the gala dinner on Friday night, when he commented on the impressive surroundings Ford dominated: "We love the history, but we really love the '32 Ford." Truer words have never been spoken.