My mission is to oblige you and ye ol' editor any way I can. About the time I started receiving e-mails from R&C readers wondering if I had any more info on the Trucksters I drew up for the Aug. 2007 issue, Editor Kevin called wondering if I would be interested in expanding on the Trucksters deal with a sort of exploded view, "kinda like model car instructions." Of course! The idea in hot rodding is to do the most for the least, but those old car bodies are making it increasingly diffi cult to do the "less" part. So I proposed cutting up a 1950/'60/'70s truck cab-which are abundant, cheap, and, as a bonus, already have the back bucket portion for a lakester or roadster pickup look-and patch together a body with the proportions and feel of a traditional hot rod.
Among the examples, I drew a cool roadster that started out as a body. Though I have deviated from that original design, before you is essentially how the thing would look and go together. It's a little wacky because I'm incorporating both a bed and a T-tank-which I don't think I have ever seen-and there may or may not be a reason for that. The body would be narrowed, with the door panels used as the sides. The hood and front are the continuation of the body as it moves through the cowl and into the grille. The cowl and grille would, obviously, be narrowed as well. Length, height, and proportions are all up to you. place some 2x4s on the ground, roll in some tires and wheels, and start mocking it up. Once you like what you see, build a frame similar to our T-bucket-style frame shown, then start cutting and attaching your body pieces.
To add a little interest, I have angled the rear of the body to follow the Z'd or kickup portion of the frame. The doors would actually latch at the corners of the body along the sides of the seat back, so the shut line would be to the back of the body. Doing eitherof these two things wouldn't be necessary; it's just something a little different to ponder, yes?
It's a lot simpler than it looks-I know. But where else but R&C would you find a magazine with the balls to propose this in the first place? Don't forget, this will work on almost any truck you choose, so if you're into Chevys or Mopars, check them out. you've got all the views, plus a simple profile roughly showing engine and seating location, and of course, Kevin's model-style exploded view and the stock cab showing where the critical cuts would be made. now it's up to you to follow through and build one of these.
This roadster pickup drawing was the inspiration for the Truckster,which is an affordable and creative alternative if you can't find or afford a real roadster pickup body.
The frame is similar to the tried-and-true T-bucket with which we're all familiar. First, mock up the body so you can determine where the wheels will be located and where the body will tie into the kickup. Set the body at ride height and roll up your tires until you get the look you're after. Be sure you have enough room to stand back and scope it out from different angles. Don't do this stage in a one-car garage! Give yourself plenty of legroom, yet keep this as compact as you can-you don't want the proportions to end up making the roadster look like a cigar.
Front 3/4 View
you can see the makeup of the narrowed, stock truck grille that houses the lights. I have added a slight spoiler to finish off the bottom, though a rolled pan or nothing at all could be alternatives. To give this a real old-timey look, you could replace the modified truck grille with a cut-down Deuce grille. If you did that, you could also heave the hood sides, which together would save a ton of fabricating. The firewall could be flat, or incorporate some or all of the original cab's firewall with all the indents and stiffening ribs.
Rear 3/4 View
Our rear view gives you some idea of how this would all come together. The "thing"in the bed is a pocket to clear the Model A spring, which we need to clear the quickchange.you can see how the doors tie into the seat sides. This is where the latch mechanism would be. A 1941-style dash keeps people guessing whether this is old or older.
This gives you the proportions of the whole deal.Obviously, you could lengthen the hood, doors, bed-you name it. Conversely, shorten up some of the components based on how tall you are and which drivetrain you choose. If the tank/bed combo is bothering you, this could all be done with only one of those elements-but you may have to bring the rear wheel centerline closer to the body if you opt for the tank only.
Cannibalizing a car or truck body is fun, especially when you have a plan for what you'll do with the pieces. If you're real lucky, the engine and trans from the donor truck will have low miles, and the rear will be a 9-inch you can narrow. Rather than having to fabricate the sheetmetal, your job is to stitch together all the pieces, transforming it into a roadster body.