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Tom McMullen and his '32 Roadster

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by JimA, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. JimA
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    This story could fill a book, but here are some visual highlights of the amazing life of Tom McMullen's '32 Ford Roadster. In the early 60's Tom was a transplanted east coast rodder who switched from closed customs to an open Roadster once in the proper weather in Southern California. Tom bought the car from Don Hudson as a black flathead powered Deuce Highboy. The car had been used for publicity shots for Nick Adams who played "The Rebel" Johnny Yuma, and it was Jr.’s car in 1955 on "The life of Riley". It was rented out to the studios for a Lassie episode on the dirty good for nothing Hot Rodders.

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  2. JimA
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  3. JimA
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  5. mj40's
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  6. JimA
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  7. JimA
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    <o:p> </o:p>

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  9. JimA
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  10. JimA
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    More resto...

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  11. JimA
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    Most recently Tom's old Dodge truck was seen on E-Bay.

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  12. wingnutz
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    wingnutz
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    This was the car that inspired my choice of having a Roadster
  13. LANCE-SPEED
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    I had the pleasure of working with Tom on a couple different projects, he was definately a unique dude. He will be always be missed.
  14. roundvalley
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    roundvalley Member

    What ever happened to the '32 sedan he was building?
  15. brandon
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    brandon Member

    i remember seeing this in popular hot rodding , think it was racing a 32 or so truck......
  16. fiveohnick2932
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    fiveohnick2932 Member

    I like these kind of threads-
  17. 40Standard
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    40Standard Member

    Tom was from Toledo, Ohio
  18. Tman
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    Tman Member

  19. TIME TRAVELLER
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    TIME TRAVELLER Member

    Didn't he build a twin engined Austin at one time, twin SBC's? Wonder where that ended up.
  20. 296ardun
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    296ardun Member

    He was a builder in the best sense...only ran into him once, cruised to Burbank with some Pasadena roadsters, early '60s, ran into Tom and his buddies, his roadster was then green metalflake, he challenged me to street race, but the built 327 with 6-97's just looked too stout for my car, so I backed off and headed back to Pasadena...
  21. falcongeorge
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    PHR Project "Street Machine". It was a '33 Ford PU with a 4-71 blown 350, ran low 11s. Think it belonged to Lee Kelly?
  22. ratfink56
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    ratfink56 Member

    wow, I bought the Drag Beat album way back when. I was a punk ass grade schooler. haven't seen one since. too cool.
  23. Harms Way
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    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  24. Tman
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    Tman Member

    Yes, it was covered in SRM in the late 70s
  25. S2DSteve
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    Columbia River Gorge

    S2DSteve Member

    Interestingly, we did not know that "our" roadster went on to become the famed McMullen Roadster until about 10 years ago. It did appear in the "Life of Riley" show while we owned it, but the other showings came later. Dad was paid the princely sum of $100 for use of the car, and I remember he was not impressed with the actor who played "Jr." in the series. He was pretty full of himself, and when Dad started to explain the tecniques in starting and running a hotted up flathead, he just blew him off. "Jr." then spent several minutes trying to get it started with the cameras rolling. Unfortunately, much of the footage ended up on the cutting room floor, so the roadster only appears briefly in the finished product. They even substituted a completely different car (a '26-29? roadster) in the final scene. Anyway, that was the only show it was in before Dad sold it.
    Those first two shots were taken behind "Don's Trim Shop" in Norwalk, California, where most of the assembly took place. I was re-united with the roadster for the first time in 50 years last year at Pleasanton-that was quite a thrill. I met Roy Brizio and the current owner, Jorge Zarenza (sp?), and sent him copies of those first two photos.
    Steve Hudson
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  26. Deuce3wCpe
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    Posts:
    664
    Location:
    New Jersey

    Deuce3wCpe Member

    My memory is a little fuzzy, but I think I remember Stan Betz telling me Tom was building some kind of wild bus .....?




    .
  27. pitman
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Posts:
    3,254
    Location:
    Hampsha

    pitman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I remember studying the Shut Down album cover, er...when it came out!
    Later saw Tom's chopper at Laconia's bike week one year. He did have a good eye for lines that worked. Thanks Jim A.
  28. 296ardun
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Posts:
    2,409
    Location:
    alabama

    296ardun Member

    I think you are right, it started out as a school bus, Street Rodder ran some coverage on it, shortened, big motor (forgot what kind), think Tom died before it got finished...my memory is also sort of fuzzy on it...maybe someone else remembers?
  29. skipstitch
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    Posts:
    1,048
    Location:
    Lancaster, Ohio

    skipstitch Member

    Hey Jim... neat history, thanks! I was actually offended when Street Rodder took his roadster off their mast head years ago.
  30. The37Kid
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Posts:
    17,500
    Location:
    Ridgefield, Ct.

    The37Kid Member

    Tom was a U.S.Navy submarine crewmember and spent time in New London, Ct. with an early '50 Ford project. I remember watching that "Life of Riley" TV show, nice to know it was Ton's future car that was in it. If that show only ran once in 1955 I must have a real good memory, I would have been 4 years old at the time.

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