Mecum Auction for McMullen '32 Roadster & Jack Calori '36 Coupe

Hot Rodding

The World’s Most Iconic Hot Rod  -  Built by the Legendary Tom McMullen

“The McMullen 1932 Deuce Roadster”


Tom McMullen became a hot rodding legend due in large part to his most famous creation, this 1932 Ford Deuce roadster, which had already appeared in publicity shots for actor Nick Adams and in the “Life of Riley” and “Lassie” TV shows when McMullen purchased it as a young man in 1958. Dissatisfied with the roadster’s performance, McMullen began a series of modifications that included a GMC 4-71 supercharged 301 CI small block, a Halibrand quick-change, a parachute and a pressurized Moon fuel tank up front. “Big Daddy” Ed Roth laid out the McMullen-sprayed flames and added his trademark pinstriping, giving the car the trend-setting look that caught the imagination of a generation of rodders when it appeared on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine in April 1963. McMullen then switched to 327 power, famously racing on the street, the drag strip and on the dry lake bed of El Mirage, where he set the A/Street Roadster record of 167 MPH in 1964.

For a time the McMullen roadster seemed to be everywhere, appearing on several record album covers, in advertisements, TV shows and movies and on the front covers of Popular Hot Rodding and McMullen’s own Street Rodder, the latter after he had sold the car. After years of modifications and changes rendered the car almost unrecognizable, it was completely dismantled by Roy Brizio, who meticulously restored it as it had appeared on the 1963 Hot Rod cover. Flamed, chopped and dropped once more, the McMullen Roadster earned Third in Class at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, reinforcing its status as the World’s Most Iconic Hot Rod.


The World’s Most Famous Custom Rod - Built by Jack Calori and Herb Reneau

“The 1936 Ford Jack Calori Coupe”


Long Beach native and WWII veteran Jack Calori was searching for a tow car for his famous Clay Smith-prepared 1929 Ford Model A racer when he discovered a 1936 Ford three-window coupe for sale by its original owner in 1947. It was not long before Calori’s friend, local body man Herb Reneau, convinced Calori that the Ford needed the custom treatment, and one of history’s most stunning custom 1936 Fords was born. Reneau installed a drop front axle and Z’d the frame at the rear to lower the car; chopped the top three inches, massaged the front end to accept a 1939 LaSalle front grille and 1941 Chevrolet headlights; added fender skirts, 1941 Hudson taillights and 1941 Ford bumpers with Lincoln overriders, and finished it off with lustrous Black paint.

Just prior to the car’s completion, Calori installed the race-prepped 1946 Mercury flathead from his 1929 Model A, giving it the power to run 114.50 MPH at a 1948 Russetta Timing Association meet. Racing revealed the flathead engine’s tendency to overheat, a problem caused by the La Salle grille’s smaller opening and the fact that there was no room for a fan in the engine compartment. Calori and his coupe made history the following year, appearing on the front cover of the November issue of Hot Rod magazine. Soon afterward Calori gave up on the car’s overheating problems and traded it for a $1,600 credit toward the purchase of a new 1950 Mercury. As so often happens, the car passed from one new owner to another until it was discovered in Spokane, Washington in the early 1990s and purchased by collector Don Orosco. In 2002, Orosco sold the coupe to its current owner, who commissioned hot rodding legend Roy Brizio to restore it in time to win the first-ever Early Custom Cars 1935-1948 Class and the Dean Bachelor Award at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where Brizio and Calori himself accepted the prizes.


Both cars were auctioned on Saturday November 17, 2012 on the Mecum Auction held in Anaheim, CA.


McMullen’s deuce - $700,000.00


Calori 5 window - $300,00.00 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »