10 historic ’32 Fords to celebrate 90 years of the Deuce

Brandan Gillogly

Ever since it reopened in late 2015 after its major renovation, Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum has been in high gear. It seems that new exhibits have been opening every other month; add to that the updates to existing exhibits, and things have been in constant flux. If you haven’t visited the Petersen in a while, you might not recognize any of the major displays. There are hypercars, electric motorcycles, a huge collection of vehicles used in various James Bond films, and an array of four-wheeled TV stars, just to name a few.

Those TV cars reflect the Petersen Automotive Museum’s strong ties to Los Angeles, and so does its latest exhibit, Ford Fever: The Deuce Turns 90 located on the museum’s second floor in the Ross and Beth Myers Gallery. The understated lines and fantastic proportions of the 1932 Ford made it an automotive design icon. The model also ushered in Ford’s flathead V-8, heralding an era of affordable performance and kicking off an industry of aftermarket speed parts. The Petersen Museum kicked off the exhibit with a private event on June 11 followed by a public opening on June 12 as dozens of deuces showed up and filled the top deck of the museum’s parking structure.

The McGee Roadster, shown above, is among the most iconic of all hot-rodded ’32s. The fenderless red racer features shaved door handles, hidden door hinges, and several rows of louvers on the hood and hood sides. It was featured on the October 1948 cover of Hot Rod magazine and is recognized as such an important piece of American history that it was displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Doan Spencer roadster and Ray Brown roadster
Brandan Gillogly

Perhaps one of the most imitated ’32s ever, the Doan Spencer roadster (left) was the first ’32 to be fitted with a DuVall windshield. It was built for the Carrera Panamerican and features a number of performance modifications, including a larger Mercury flathead and a reinforced chassis. The Ray Brown roadster (right) was a dual-purpose car built to run on the street and still race on the weekend. Brown worked for Eddie Meyer Engineering Company, an aftermarket manufacturer of car and boat speed parts in Hollywood and the car still wears some of the company’s parts.

Ermie Immerso’s “Orange Twist” on a lift
Brandan Gillogly

Ermie Immerso’s “Orange Twist” won the 1988 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophy. The car is positioned up on a two-post lift to allow visitors to see the detail of the car’s chassis and suspension.

Chip Foose roadster
Brandan Gillogly


One of the few deuces to wear fenders, this low and sleek roadster was designed by Chip Foose and is powered by a Chevrolet LT1 V-8 from a C4 Corvette. The fully custom body still carries the soul of a ’32 Ford.

Doyle Gammel coupe with pinstriping
Brandan Gillogly

The Doyle Gammel coupe was chopped by a previous owner, Dick Bergren. Gammel repainted the car and then had it pinstriped by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. It’s powered by a Chevy small-block.

Andy Kassa’s three-window coupe
Brandan Gillogly

Andy Kassa’s three-window coupe was restored to its original build specs and chromed grille shell, but in 1964 it got a radical nose built by George Barris with a center-mounted headlight.

Roadster with flames featured in Iron Man
Brandan Gillogly

This flamboyant, flathead-powered roadster featuring gold and red flames was featured in Iron Man and Iron Man 2 where it served as Tony Stark’s inspiration for the color scheme of Iron Man’s suit.

Ricky Nelson roadster
Brandan Gillogly

Parked next to the Iron Man roadster is the “Ricky Nelson” roadster, which was built by Ray DeFillipi and featured on the television series The Adventures of Ozzy and Harriet, where it was driven by Ricky and David Nelson. The car, thoroughly restored in 1997, is channeled over its frame and is powered by a Chevrolet small-block V-8.

1932 Victoria roadster built by Roy Brizio
Brandan Gillogly

Eric Clapton commissioned Roy Brizio to build this gorgeous 1932 Victoria. The “Vicky” is sort of a hybrid of two-door sedan and coupe and is among the ’32 Ford’s most coveted body styles.


To see these historic hot rods in person, grab a ticket to the Petersen Museum.

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