It all started back in 1958 when a young hot rodder named Thomas McMullen bought a Chevy-powered '32 Ford roadster. And although it would eventually see many incarnations, it was the version that appeared on the cover of Hot Rod magazine in April 1963 that would set the standard for years to come. Tom McMullen would also go through a number of changes throughout the years, beginning with the opening of his first shop, Automotive Electric Engineering, and culminating in McMullen Publishing Co., the flagship of which was our very own STREET RODDER magazine. The roadster was featured in numerous automotive magazines over the years, eventually becoming a milestone car in its own right. It has been restored, cloned, and modernized, but never like this.

When talks began back in early 2006 in regards to the 2007 Road Tour car, it was quickly brought to our attention that something special had to be done with it being the 75th anniversary of not only the '32 Ford but also the Flathead. Brookville Roadster had an all-steel '32 Ford three-window body that had been in the works for the past couple of years and would be available early if we wanted to use one. Mark Kirby of Motor City Flathead fame and Jon Hall of Shadow Rods were teaming up in a collaborative effort to manufacture, among other things, a new Flathead engine block. And, while they would not yet be available, they would be interested in building a Flattie using an original Merc block. One thing led to another, and soon a concept drawing was floating around that depicted a McMullen-inspired three-window coupe with a blown Flathead. It was agreed by all that this was to be a special year for not only the '32 Ford and the Flathead, but also for the PPG / STREET RODDER Road Tour program as well.

Like every project, our Road Tour car needed a solid foundation, and the boys over at the Roadster Shop in Elgin, Illinois, were ready to tackle the project wholeheartedly. They began by bolting a set of their Deuce 'rails in the chassis jig. Leonard Lopez of Dominator Street Rods in Brentwood, California, would be the official builder of this year's car and, in partnership with Flaming River, would provide the front suspension and steering components. Based on a twin I-beam axle design, the new DominAtor frontend available from Flaming River uses a split tubular axle attached to hairpins and a pair of Strange Engineering coilover shocks. A pair of Wilwood hubs are mounted on either end with a Wilwood rotor/caliper combo installed. A modified Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering works to control each spindle. The Roadster Shop also buzzed in the motor and transmission mounts for the Flathead, and the TCI Automotive 200-4R trans that will go behind it, before fabbing up the mounts to locate the triangulated four-bars that bolt to the Strange rearend. The Strange unit is based on a 9-inch Ford rearend, with an added back brace that runs along the rear of the housing. Coilover shocks at the rear are also from Strange, and the brakes are Wilwood. Wheel Vintiques provided the set of wire wheels, shod in wide whitewall radials.

When it came time to build the engine, Mark used a '50 Mercury block as his foundation, boring the cylinders to 3 3/8-inch. A 4 3/8-inch stroked Scat crank was installed with a center bearing support installed to help strengthen the bottom end. The resulting bore/stroke combo is good for 315 ci. Custom-forged pistons are mated to the stroker crank via Scat connecting rods. Mark knew ahead of time that the Flathead was going to receive a MagnaCharger blower kit, so he used one of Motor City's blower grinds when it came time to pick a cam profile. The MagnaCharger kit was topped off with a Holley four-barrel carb and a set of finned aluminum Motor City heads. A 200-4R transmission was prepared by TCI Automotive and bolted to the Flattie to back up the engine and provide plenty of trouble-free cruising miles. Similar in size to the TH350 series of transmissions, the 200-4R is smaller than the larger 700-R4 trans, while still providing the better gear spread of the overdrive transmissions.

With the chassis completed, the Roadster Shop shipped it from its Illinois home out to Leonard and crew at the Dominator shop in California. The Brookville body showed up shortly after and was soon mated to the chassis. With the body, engine, and trans in place, the Dominator team was then able to mount the U.S. Radiator behind the Vintique grille shell, allowing Mickey Galloway to build the hood and hood sides using a Yogi's hood brace kit as the backbone. The Flaming River steering components were then installed, along with the Sanderson block-hugger headers and Flowmaster exhaust. The doors and trunk were hung, gapped, and adjusted to fit perfectly in the openings before the body and chassis were disassembled and whisked away to the paint shop.

Over at the paint shop, Rick Valdez of Creative Images in Lodi, California, carefully blocked the steel body before applying the PPG primers and sealers. (Wash primer, such as PPG's DX1791, is an etching primer.) Rich's crew used the PPG NCP280 primer and then the final basecoat/clearcoat. In our case, the coupe was covered with PPG's DBU9700 black basecoat, followed by two coats of PPG DCU2055 clear. The yellow and red flames were based on PPG toners that were custom mixed to achieve the colors you see. With the flames completed, it was time for more clear. It will probably come as no surprise that this was followed by more color sanding with 800-, 1,000-, 1,500-, and finally 2,000-grit paper. The final step was buffing the entire car with 3M rubbing compound. (Editor's note: We begin a two-part series on painting flames in this issue. Follow along next month as we reveal the secrets behind the Art Himsl-laid McMullen flames.) To match the earlier incarnations of the McMullen flame job, Art Himsl, who assisted on a past McMullen project, used his old patterns to lay out the flame job on the coupe as close as possible to the original car. Rick and his crew then taped off the entire car and rolled it back into the booth, where the yellow-fade-into-red flame job and subsequent final clear coats were applied. When the PPG paint dried, the coupe was then sent back over to Borges Wire Works in nearby Tracy, California, where Ray Borges installed a Ron Francis wiring kit and harness before sending the car back over to Dominator.

Back at Dominator, the crew hustled to get the Dynamat insulation installed as well as all the odds and ends provided by Vintique and Yogi's Inc., including the taillights, headlights, door and trunk handles, Auto Meter gauges, and the Vintage Air system plumbed and in place before the car was scheduled to get stitched up. To handle those duties, the gang at the Sid Chavers Company in Santa Clara, California, the home of the Bop Top, fired up their sewing machines and pulled the vinyl down from the rafters, and got ready to stitch up some serious tuck 'n' roll. Sid and his crew-consisting of George Atkins and Kirby Kendall-stitched up the interior of the resto McMullen car a few years back, so it was only fitting to have them match the white-on-black tuck 'n' roll job once again for our coupe. While there, Sid also installed a Custom Autosound Secret Audio system and a pair of 6x9-inch speakers behind the Wise Guys bench seat.

The 2007 PPG / STREET RODDER Road Tour car made its debut in January at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California, lacking a few loose ends-one of which was tied up that weekend in the form of Herbie Martinez and Jeff Styles taking brush to steel to outline the flames and pinstripe the body just like the original McMullen roadster. Since the GNRS, the little Deuce coupe that could has been finished, and as you are reading this, our fearless Road Tour pilot, Jerry Dixey, is probably blasting down the highway somewhere in this great land of ours.

You Could Win This CarGo to www.twspeedshop.com for details. or 1 of 5 other classics at the Timber Wolf Speed Shop.

No Purchase Necessary to enter or win in the Timber Wolf Speed Shop Promotion. For official rules and how to obtain a free code, visit www.twspeedshop.com. Starts 12:01 a.m. CT 5/15/07 ends 11:59 p.m. CT 11/1/07, or while supplies last. Open to legal residents of the contiguous 48 U.S. & D.C. (excluding VA & MA), 21 or older, tobacco users and who have a valid U.S. driver's license. Void in VA, MA & where prohibited. Sponsor: Pinkerton Tobacco Co. LP. See pg. 24 for more information.

SOURCE
National Street Rod Association Pure Power! Inc
Timber Wolf Moist Snuff Wilwood Disc Brakes
4700 Calle Bolero
Camarillo
CA  93012
8-05/-388-1188
www.wilwood.com
Sanderson Headers
517 Railroad Ave.
South San Francisco
CA  94080
800-669-2430
www.sandersonheaders.com
Roadster Shop
Wise Guys Seating & Accessories Wheel Vintiques
5-59/-251-6957
wheelvintiques.com
Flaming River
800 Poertner Dr.
Berea
OH  44017
N/A
4-40/-826-4488
www.flaming-river.com
Yogi's Inc
800-373-1937
www.yogisinc.com
Dominator Street Rods Auto Meter Products
413 W. Elm St.
Sycamore
IL  60178
815-899-0800
www.autometer.com
TCI Automotive
151 Industrial Dr.
Ashland
MS  38603
662-224-8972
www.tciauto.com
Custom Autosound
1030 W. Williamson Ave.
Fullerton
CA  92883
800-888-8637
www.customautosound.com
U.S. Radiator
3-23/-826-0965
usradiator.com
Strange Engineering
Morton Grove
IL
8-47/-663-1701
Strangeengineering.net
Ocean City Lokar Performance Products
10924 Murdock Dr.
Knoxville
TN  37932
8-65/-966-2269
www.lokar.com
Ron Francis Wiring
167 Keystone Rd.
Chester
PA  19013
Flowmaster Inc
Shadow Rods Brookville Roadster Inc
Vintique Inc PPG Automotive Refinish
4-40/-572-2800
Aeromotive Inc Right Coast Association
Heacock Classic Vintage Air
10305 I.H. 35 North
San Antonio
TX  78233
800-862-6658
Dynamic Control (Dynamat)