The 1932 Ford McMullen Roadster is looking for a new home.
The hot rod is as American as apple pie and blue jeans and has become an icon for car enthusiasts around the globe. Modern hot rods might have morphed into something unrecognizable these days, with turbocharged Honda Civics and Toyota Supras treating down city streets, (hell, people are even rodding Teslas), but the look of the classic hot rod will never die. The Ford Model A has become synonymous with the word 'hot rod', and as with any other icon, has an originator. In this case, it is the flaming black 1932 Ford McMullen Roadster which is instantly recognizable amongst fans.
This car is the one that started it all, and it is now going up for sale at the Mecum Indy auction day beginning on July 10.
This car started its life as a stock machine when Tom Mcullen bought it in 1958. The Ford made use of a 283 cubic inch V8 which didn't last long. Mcullen quickly swapped it out for a larger 352 ci Chevrolet V8 mated to a six-barrel carb for some extra go. This was not enough, and he soon added a GMC 4:71 supercharger with dual four-barrel carbs. The iconic red flaming paint job was beautifully executed by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, while Mcullen himself did the pin-striping. While not as exotic as a Lamborghini Miura, the end result was something no one had ever seen before.
This car was eventually featured on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine, and instantly became an icon with its flaming sides, chrome parts, and chopped look.
The car wasn't all show and no go either. Mcullen entered it into the 1964 Deuce in speed trials at El Mirage where it ran a scary speed of 167 mph, which earned it the title of the fastest hot rod. In the following years, Mcullen would keep working on it, improving where he could, and the car would end up on many more front covers, and even some record covers, but after all those years he wound up selling it for a low $5,000. Mcullen tragically died in a plane crash in 1995, but his hot rod would continue his legacy until this day and was titled "the most identifiable hot rod of all time" by Brian Breannan, editor-in-chief of Street Rodder magazine.
The car will go on sale at the Mecum Indy 2020 and will be part of the Mecum Gallery Exposition, a platform for investment-grade cars. The car failed to meet reserve at Mecum Kissimmee 2019 with the highest bid coming in at $700,000. The vehicle will be offered with the complete known ownership history back to Tom McMullen.