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By Zoran J. Segina When your husband invites you to accompany him on a road trip in mid-July, for a gathering of automotive enthusiasts up the coast, the proposal conjures images of a leisurely jaunt in a comfortable motor car suitable for the long road with all modern accouterments, one of which obviously being an efficient air conditioning system. After all, it’s summer. It could get hot.
If your husband is Bruce Meyer, the founding chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum and founder of the museum’s support group, the Checkered Flag, and one of the most respected antique car collectors in the nation, then the invitation requires further scrutiny along the lines of “where?,” “when?,” and, most importantly, in “what?”
The gathering is a 2016 North West Deuce Days. For the uninitiated, this is a 1932 Ford Model 18 with a new flathead V‑8 engine—the first low-priced, mass-marketed car to have a V8 engine. If you know the Beach Boys’ “Little Deuce Coupe”. . . Or the yellow hot-rod in “American Graffiti”—yes, that one. The location is Vancouver, Canada. As in 1200 miles up the coast—beautiful miles, undoubtedly, but still a lot of them.
And the “what” was proudly displayed in the Winners’ Circle during the first Classic Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It is an impeccably restored specimen, and true in every way to the spirit imbued in Southern California hot-rod dudes right after the war. All the way to the chopped top. And open wheels without fenders. And firm(er) suspension. And the WWII aluminum bomber seats with lap belts only. And – to remain true to the times – suicide doors without windows. And an efficient ventilation system (certainly for 1932 mass-produced car), consisting of a lever on the dashboard opening the flap below the windshield.
So this one is for you, Mrs. Meyer—A small tribute to your indomitable spirit and a sense of camaraderie. For your stamina, and being a good sport. My wife loves me very much, but if I took her up north on the Pacific Coast Highway in the Deuce, she would have left the car before we reached the Sunset Boulevard.
And thank you, Mrs. Meyer, for your courage, which created a wonderful story that your husband shared with all of us at the Show. Because – to quote him – it’s not how many cars you have, it’s how many people you meet. And, I might add, the stories emanating from these encounters.
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