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, August 27, 28 & 29 at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds.
A cartoonist, photographer, and magazine publishing veteran, Medley joined Hot Rod magazine on its third issue in 1948 as "humor editor.". He was instrumental in creating Hot Rod's success, juggling cartooning - the Stroker McGurk cartoon - photography (innumerable cover shots), how-to articles, even advertising sales and design. In the mid-1960s he took over as publisher of Rod & Custom, steering the book's editorial direction toward street rods and "vintage tin" - thus ushering in the modern era of street rodding. 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 one Robert E. Petersen - who had just started a magazine called Hot Rod.
Ever the hot rodder at heart, Medley will drive to the event from his Southern California home in his hammered down '40 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, August 28th at 4:30pm. 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."
For additional information on the 24th West Coast Nationals visit www.ggwestcoastnats.com
Black & white portrait: Evan Wilcox