About Tom Medley
Tom Medley helped create and define an era.
One of Hot Rod Magazine's original staffers in 1948, his cartoons and photography chronicled America's post WWII car culture. Character "Stroker McGurk" put a whimsical wink on a hot rodding's outlaw image. "Flat Out Snodgrass" did likewise for motorcycling. At the same time, Medley's Rolleiflex captured the iconic events of the day – Bonneville salt flats, the Indy 500, the US National Drags, El Mirage dry lakes. Earlier, he sketched for Stars and Stripes and penned "Fearless Freddy Flash," mascot of the 78th Infantry Division. At Rod & Custom he conceived and oversaw the first Street Rod Nationals, launching the modern hot rod hobby.
In October 2011, Tom Medley found himself knocked to the ground after attempting to start his prized 1940 Ford coupe when it backfired and caught fire. Tom was shaken but the Ford and building were destroyed. Tools and memorabilia wiped out. But not all. Three boxes of artwork and artifacts miraculously survived, revealing the breadth of Medley's artistic contribution. Art school sketches. "Stroker" roughs. Hundreds of black-and-white prints, even more negatives. A breathtaking discovery, one that complemented the vast inventory of artwork already stashed in his house. Watch the documentary "Stroker" that tells Medley's story.
Tom Medley's archive must be recognized. And honored.
A unique personality, he captured a unique time and place. Old school hot rod enthusiasts universally admire his art. Younger car enthusiasts quickly recognize its genius. Even those oblivious to car culture chuckle at "Stroker's" antics. Medley drew on any medium handy, from napkins to cereal boxes, further revealing his one-of-a-kind artistry.
Medley's artistry and innovation left a literal mark on this period, a personal interpretation of a time when America's potential was unlimited, free of cynicism, full of promise. Tom Medley, known as hot rodding's original nice guy, proved just how unlimited that potential could be.
Sadly, Medley passed away in March 2014, two weeks shy of his 94th birthday.
His artistry, however, will live on forever.