Patrick Grieve

Jay Leno Drives a CHERRY 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster

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Ford Highboy Roadster

In the most recent episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno takes a spin in what he calls the “Mecca of hot rodding” – the 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster.

Owned by Jay’s friend and fellow auto enthusiast Bruce Meyer, this Roadster is in beautiful condition. And because hot rod drivers love to modify their rides, Meyer had to do a lot of work to lovingly restore this Roadster to its original form, which he discusses in greater detail in the video.

As Leno notes, the importance of the 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster in hot rod history cannot be exaggerated. Built in the 40s, it was the first hot rod to be featured on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine in 1948. The lack of fenders and the highbody design (meaning the body is mounted on top of the chassis) are hallmarks of the quintessential hot rod.

1932 Ford Highboy Roadster

Patrick R. Donahue, the U.S. postmaster general, also shows up to explain why the ’32 Highboy was chosen to be featured on 100 million stamps (35 million of which have already sold). Artist John Mattos is also on hand to describe the image’s design process.

1932 Ford Highboy Roadster

The Roadster was once clocked back in 1947 doing 112.21 mph, but now that it has gained antique status, Leno and Meyer decide to take it for a more leisurely ride. Leno still praises the car’s “great period feel and great sound,” and Meyer notes that like jazz music and baseball, hot rodding is a uniquely American art form. “Baseball, you’re there all day; hot rodding, you come and go as you want,” says Leno, who quips that hot rods move a lot faster than the national pastime. (Maybe now that he’s stopped doing a nightly monologue, Leno hasn’t heard that some players actually share his need for speed.)

1932 Ford Highboy Roadster

Those who want a better look at the 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster can currently see it on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.

Patrick Grieve was born in Southwestern Ohio and has lived there all of his life, with the exception of a few years spent getting a Creative Writing degree in Southeastern Ohio. He loves to take road trips, sometimes to places as distant as Northeastern or even Northwestern Ohio. Patrick also enjoys old movies, shopping at thrift stores, going to ballgames, writing about those things, and watching Law & Order reruns. He just watches the original series, though, none of the spin-offs. And also only the ones they made before Jerry Orbach died. Season five was really the peak, in his opinion. See more articles by Patrick.