#230, Bruce Meyer, ’32 Fords and the Petersen Auto Museum

James Raia

Bruce Meyer loves 1932 Fords. He owns 10. It may seem excessive unless you’re a founding member of the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles and it just unveiled an exhibition honoring the 90th anniversary of the vehicles and their iconic legacy as hot rods.

Meyer, 90, founding chairman of the museum, is our guest this week on The Weekly Driver Podcast. Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia discuss with Meyer the country’s most well-known museum and its celebration of the cars often known by their moniker, “Deuce.”

The exhibit began earlier in June with a celebration and honor given to Billy Gibbons, the lead guitarist and primary vocalist of the rock band ZZ Top. Gibbons is also a Deuce enthusiast as well as a collector of other vintage cars of the era. Four of the band’s videos include a 1933 Ford Coupe.

One of the 1932 Fords nicknamed "Deuce" on display at the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles in a new exhibit celebrating the car's 90th birthday. Image © Petersen Auto Museum.
One of the 1932 Fords on display at the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles in a new exhibit celebrating the car’s 90th birthday. Images courtesy of the Petersen Auto Museum.

“My family didn’t have a lot of money and my grandparents couldn’t afford a car,” said Meyer. “In my family, cars were the biggest waste of time and resources.

“But I was born loving cars. I have been a car guy my entire life; my family just couldn’t understand it. They told me to get off of it and go get a job.”

According to the Petersen Auto Museum exhibit information, nearly 275,000 of the cars were sold despite debuting in one of the worst years of the Great Depression. The 1932 Ford’s popularity was largely connected to its V8 engine and modest price.

Petersen Auto Museum: Beach Boys’ Influence

The car’s popularity further expanded when the Beach Boys released Little Deuce Coupe, the band’s fourth album, in 1963. The lead single had the same name.

The Petersen Auto Museum exhibit, Ford Fever: The Deuce Turns 90, is Meyer’s joy. It includes the McGee Roadster, Flathead Roadster, Victoria Sedan and many other Deuce examples.

Many body styles of '32 Fords are on display in a new exhibit at the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles.
Many body styles of ’32 Fords are on display in a new exhibit at the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles.

“This is a big deal,” said Meyer of the exhibit. “The ’32 Ford, in my world, is really the genesis of hot rodding. That’s the one that matters to me. We have a fabulous display.”

Please join Bruce and me for episode #230 of the podcast as we embrace Meyer’s expertise about his collection and the legacy of the Petersen Auto Museum.

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Article Last Updated: June 15, 2022.

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