Medley Chosen as ‘Hot Rod Hero’

May 11, 2010

Tom Medley, father of the “Stroker McGurk” hot rod cartoon, co-founder of the Street Rod Nationals and former publisher of “Rod & Custom” magazine, will be honored as the Hot Rod Hero of the Goodguys 24th West Coast Nationals.

The West Coast Nationals will be held August 27-29 at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, Calif.

A cartoonist, photographer and magazine publishing veteran, Medley joined “Hot Rod” magazine on its third issue in 1948 as “humor editor.” He found success juggling cartooning-the Stroker McGurk cartoon-photography (including many cover shots), how-to articles and even advertising sales and design, according to a press release.

In the mid-1960s he took over as publisher of “Rod & Custom,” steering the book’s editorial direction toward street rods and “vintage tin,” and thus ushering in the modern era of street rodding, according to the release.

In 1969, Medley and friend/writer Leroi “Tex” Smith organized the first Street Rod Nationals in Peoria, Ill.

Medley, a native of Oregon, moved to southern California after serving in the Army during WWII to attend Los Angeles Art Center College of Design. While attending college, he became involved in the local, burgeoning hot rod scene. It was his hot-rod-themed sketches, pinned on the bulletin board at Blair’s Speed Shop in Pasadena, that caught the attention of Robert E. Petersen, who had just started “Hot Rod” magazine.

Ever the hot-rodder at heart, Medley will drive to the event from his Southern California home in his hammered-down 1940 Ford coupe, accompanied by his son Gary. He will be honored by his editorial peers in a special ceremony on the awards stage Saturday afternoon, Aug. 28.

Medley will personally select the “Stroker McGurk” award, which goes to a hot rod roadster on an annual basis at Pleasanton, as well as the ’40 Fords Forever Pick.