YORK, Pa., June 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates the fast, powerful vehicles thrill-seeking enthusiasts have been modifying for nearly a century by dedicating the limited-edition Hot Rods Forever Stamps. The stamps depict two 1932 Ford “Deuce” roadsters — a black ’32 Ford with orange flames running down the car’s body — and a red ’32 Ford.
The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place at the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) Street Rod Nationals East Plus at the York Expo Center in York, PA. Available in booklets of 20 stamps, customers may purchase the stamps at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), at Post Offices nationwide and on eBay at ebay.com/stamps.
“These Hot Rods stamps mark the beginning of America’s fascination with customizing fast cars,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in dedicating the stamps. “And they’re just as popular today as they were decades ago. Just like the cars they celebrate, these stamps are timeless in that they’re good for mailing First-Class letters anytime in the future.”
Joining Donahoe in dedicating the stamps were “Car Crazy TV” host Barry Meguiar and NSRA Special Events Director Jerry Kennedy.
“With an estimated 12 million hot rodders in America today, I applaud the Postal Service for recognizing that Hot Rods will forever be a symbol of our American culture,” said Meguiar.
Designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, the two stamps were digitally created by artist John Mattos of San Francisco.
The hot rod culture is vibrant today, with monthlies like Hot Rod magazine and organizations like the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) helping keep the flame alive.
Customers may view many of this year’s other stamps on Facebook facebook.com/USPSStamps, Twitter @USPSstamps, Pinterest pinterest.com/uspsstamps, Instagram instagram.com/uspostalservice or on uspsstamps.com, the Postal Service’s online site for information on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at usps.com/stamps or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
Hot Rods Stamps
3435 Concord Rd.
York, PA 17402-9998
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, there is a 5-cent charge per postmark. All orders must be postmarked by Aug. 5, 2014.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724). Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
Eight philatelic products are available:
- 689224, Framed Art, $19.95.
- 689206, Press Sheet w/ Die cut, $68.60 (print quantity 1,000).
- 689208, Press Sheet w/o Die cut, $68.60 (print quantity 1,500).
- 689210, Keepsake w/ Digital Color Postmark (Set of 2), $13.95.
- 689216, First-Day Cover (Set of 2), $1.86.
- 689221, Digital Color Postmark (Set of 2), $3.28.
- 689230, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
- 689231, Stamp Deck Card, $0.95.
The Evolution of Hot Rods
Hot rodding first took hold in the 1920s, when young men began modifying their cars. Aficionados souped up engines, lowered chassis, chopped bodies and cut excess weight, creating light, fierce machines that looked and moved unlike anything that rolled off assembly lines.
Southern California was the first hot spot for early enthusiasts. The dry lake beds in the Mojave Desert north and east of Los Angeles were perfect for racing customized creations on the region’s flat, wide surfaces. “Arrival at that legendary expanse of desert vastness was a one-time experience, never to be forgotten,” wrote Wally Parks, a seminal figure in hot rodding. “The nearest thing to it, as I thought then, would be like landing on the moon!” Parks was instrumental in helping form the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), which was founded in 1937 and organized races among different classes of hot rods.
The cars weren’t actually referred to as “hot rods” until after World War II, when the term started appearing in print. Its exact origin is unclear. The hot rodding craze picked up steam in the late 1940s, when veterans with saved-up combat pay and newfound mechanical skills began returning home. There also was a distinct social aspect to hot rodding. Drive-ins became meeting places for young people to show off their custom cars.
The ‘Hottest’ of the Rods
The Ford Model T and the Ford Model A were popular among hot rodders, but the 1932 Ford roadster was considered by many enthusiasts to the hottest of them all. Also known as the “Deuce,” in reference to the last number of its model year, the ’32 Ford roadster was cherished by many. In the 1940s and ’50s, it was a relatively inexpensive, widely available used car that came equipped with a powerful Flathead V8 engine. To ready their vehicles for competition, hot rodders often stripped fenders and running boards, swapped out stock engines for later model more powerful engines, and gave their vehicles custom paint jobs.
The aesthetics of the Deuce made it even more appealing to enthusiasts. Its graceful body shape and other stylistic features, including the distinctive grille, endeared it to its fans. In the 1990s, author, hot rodder, and automotive expert Dean Batchelor wrote that 1932 Ford roadsters “were some of the best-looking cars of the 1930s, and that view is supported by the fact that they still look good 60-plus years later.”
An icon among hot rodders is Robert E. (Pete) Petersen, who produced the first hot rod car show at the Los Angeles Armory in 1948. He also created the magazine that became the “Bible” for all hot rodders — Hot Rod magazine and other magazines such as Motor Trend in addition to becoming the founder of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
By the early 1950s, hot rodding had become more than a hobby. Wally Parks, then the editor of Hot Rod magazine and a World War II veteran, founded the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) in 1951. The NHRA brought a needed layer of credibility and organization to hot rodding. The NHRA eventually grew to become drag racing’s governing body. Today, the NHRA counts more than 80,000 members and sanctions races across the country.
As the decades passed, the hot rod became an icon. In a 1963 story for Esquire magazine, author Tom Wolfe wrote about the world of customized cars. The piece was later featured in his first collection of essays, called The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. In American Graffiti, the 1973 film directed by George Lucas, one of the main characters, John Milner, drives a bright yellow Deuce Coupe — making it one of the most memorable cars in modern cinema.
The hot rod culture is still vibrant today, with monthlies like Hot Rod magazine and organizations like the National Street Rod Association (NSRA) helping keep the flame alive.