R&C Top Tin Pick
I had a tough time narrowing it down when it came time for me to pick a car out of the crowd for the Rod & Custom Award, but I knew I had a winner once I got the full story on Charlie Gould's '26 T roadster pickup.

Charlie started gathering parts for his hot rod in the early 1990s, collecting the little Chevy four-banger, trans, and front suspension, but hadn't decided on the body style until he bought a '26 roadster pickup body in mid-1999. He ran across a photo of a track-style rpu in an old magazine and immediately dug out every magazine with a track roadster in his 50-year collection, finally settling on that style with a 109-inch wheelbase.

Charlie built the frame from C-channel, bent to his specs by a local sheetmetal shop. The engine was beefed up with 10:1 forged pistons, a Sig Erson cam, and a modified Weber intake from Clifford Research. An S-10 pickup gave up its rearend, which ended up with GM disc brakes, thanks to some careful swap meet searching.

The clutch and brake pedals swing from a sideways hanging Kugel unit. Charlie moved the clutch fork to the passenger side to free up some room in the driver-side footwell. A steel '32-style dash designed for a Model A was narrowed and filled with Classic Instruments gauges. The seat bottoms are late-model Camaro buckets sitting in custom tin buckets. Charlie built the pickup bed 2 inches taller than an original and somewhat shorter in length. The nose and insert started as a Superior Glass unit but was narrowed about 1 1/2 inches. The hood, hood sides, bellypans, and most of the flooring are custom-built from aluminum. Charlie wanted lots of louvers, so he ponied up and bought a louver press and punched the louvers himself. He says it was well-worth the purchase price. The wheels are 15x5s and 15x7s with '40 'caps and Coker 5.00s and 8.20s. The headlights are '35-37 commercial units and the taillights are '50s F-100s.

For a little piece of mind, Charlie borrowed a tubing bender from a pal and built the bolt-in rollbar to fit. Charlie told us, "This car is crotch high at the cowl and bellybutton high at the windshield, and could easily be stuffed under a semi trailer. Whether it would hold up or not is moot. I just feel better about it."