At the turn of the century, it was arguably the Honda Civic that best defined inexpensive performance tuning, and in the '50s it was the Tri-5 Chevys. One of the earliest platforms to gain a huge following among young people looking for a cheap way to go fast was the classic '32 Ford Highboy Roadster. This week, Jay Leno's Garage looks at one of the very first vehicles that defined the look of the hot rod heyday.
This '32 Ford was built in the '40s and graced the cover of the fourth issue of Hot Rod Magazine back in 1948. All of the hot rods that you see shining at car shows today owe a serious debt of gratitude to this roadster. It bears all of the cues that define the look, including a notched frame and hidden door hinges. Under the three-piece hood is a flathead V8 boasting all sorts of period modifications, including copper cylinder heads. It was seriously fast in its era too, and proved it by reaching 112.21 miles per hour on a dry lakebed in 1947.
These days, this hot rod is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Although, if you can't make it to California to see it, the United States Postal Service is celebrating this Ford with one of its two hot rod Forever stamps. Like Jay says in the video, in terms of hot rodding, "it all comes back to this." Check out the video to learn more about this rolling piece of tuning history.