Petersen Automotive Museum Celebrates Iconic Ford Anniversary

The Courier’s Fine Autos Contributor Tim Lappen is the Fine Autos Editor for Haute Living, Haute Time, Haute Residence and Haute Auto and a partner in a Century City law firm where he chairs his firm’s Family Office Group and the Luxury Home Group. He can be reached at and his website is

To anyone with a birthyear that begins “19” and then has any number lower than 7 in the third position, the “Deuce” is forever burned into the cerebellum as the quintessential American hot rod. “What’s a Deuce,” you ask? It is the shorthand reference to a Ford built in 1932 (the “2” qualifying it as a “Deuce”), and it will be celebrated heartily on June 11 and 12.

The Petersen Automotive Museum will honor the 90th anniversary of the 1932 Ford with a new national holiday, “Hot Rod Day,” on June 11, and celebrate the special day with the Museum’s new “Ford Fever: The Deuce Turns 90” exhibit in the Ross and Beth Myers Gallery. Opening to the public on June 11, the new exhibit includes a definitive collection of groundbreaking 1932 Fords, such as Doane Spencer’s historic Highboy and the influential McGee Roadster.

Stars of “Ford Fever: The Deuce Turns 90” include the famous McGee 1932 Roadster. Originally owned and built by Bob McGee, it paved the way for hot rods by combining speed and beauty with its shaved door handles, welded decklid, louvers and seamless look. McGee’s Roadster would later make appearances in a host of television shows and movies, including “Hot Rod Gang” and an episode of “Happy Days,” before being showcased on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The new exhibit at the Petersen celebrates the acclaimed “Deuce.”

Another icon on display is Doane Spencer’s 1932 Ford Highboy, which won several show awards in the 1940s. Bored with the show circuit, Spencer took his Highboy to race at El Mirage and extensively modified it for Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana road race. Other iconic 1932 Fords on display include the coupes of Doyle Gammell and Andy Kassa and the roadsters of Ermie Immerso and Ray Brown.

On the evening of June 11, the Deuce Gala will recognize luminaries in the hot rod world. Guests will include ZZ Top front man and hot rod enthusiast Billy F. Gibbons as well as Henry Ford III. Gibbons will perform and will also be honored with the Hot Rod Icon Award. The event also features a live auction.

On June 12 at 9 a.m., the annual Deuce Day Cruise-In will take place on the roof of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s parking garage. The Cruise-In will feature many of the museum’s greatest hot rods, including several AMBR winners and is slated to be one of the largest gatherings of 1932 Fords in Southern California.

“The 1932 Fords are marquee vehicles synonymous with the origins of hot rodding and worthy of an extended celebration,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “The exhibit, gala and Cruise-In will pay tribute to the Fords’ legacy, and how they continue to captivate automotive and hot-rodding enthusiasts 90 years after debuting on the market.”

“Ford Fever: The Deuce Turns 90” is scheduled to run for several months. The Petersen Automotive Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. Additional details about the exhibit, gala and Cruise-In are available at the museum’s website