Rod & Custom Feature Car
1942 Ford Pickup
Homebrewed from 2x4-inch rectangular tube on a 124-inch wheelbase, the frame is kicked up 14 inches in the rear and 4 inches at the front, where it is tapered and pinched. Owner-built 28-inch ladder bars locate the rear axle, along with cantilevers connected to auxiliary shocks. Jim Bakeford at Airlift hooked Kirk up with everything required. The heavy-duty quarter-elliptic springs that appear to suspend the axle act as control arms, mounting to a crossmember that supports the gas tank, and while it appears to be attached to the chassis 'rails, that crossmember pivots, meaning that when the airbags are inflated at the forward end of the springs, the springs pivot about the crossmember, pushing down on the axle at their rear end, and so raising the car, at the same time causing the gas tank to rotate slightly! Kirk enjoys watching people's reactions when he operates the suspension! The front suspension is equally as impressive, not least because it's so hard to hide airbags on the front of a fenderless car. Kirk's solution was to hang them from a crossmember behind the radiator, their lower mounts attached to a bar extending between the split wishbones. Sure, this slightly hampers the practicality and operation of the suspension, but it hasn't proved problematic so far with very minimal travel anyway. Another pair of quarterelliptic springs and tube shocks provides bounce and damping. An f-1 steering box was converted to cowl operation with a one-off pitman arm.
There are many aspects of this truck that vie for your attention, but that '49 8BA flathead mounted low in the frame (with carbs that come halfway up the windshield) is bound to draw your eye first! Todd Currier at Hot rod & Custom supply in shelbyville, Michigan, built the 239- incher. Kirk can't praise Todd enough for his help, and the Edelbrock-headed flattie performs flawlessly-that's with a quartet of ford 94 carbs bolted to the two-jug fenton inlet courtesy of a pair of Gearworks adapters. Kirk fabbed his own brackets, as well as the oil filter housing and headers. Compared to the motor, the '87 T5 trans is positively late model. Power is transferred through a stock ford clutch with a T5 disc. A custom driveshaft is the link to the frankland quick-change.
Wheels & Tires
Firestone bias-plies, measuring 4.50-16 and 7.00x16, wrap the stock ford same-size hoops at each corner, though the Buick drums, detailed hubs, and red lettering on the tires combine to create an overall effect that says more than any cast wheel could on this vehicle.
Body & Paint
Yeah, that's paint, not primer. Kirk selected a shade from the ppg color chart called Burnt Bronze, adding matting agent until it retained 30 percent gloss. Mike Contreras added the graphics on the doors. The '42 cab was chopped 6 inches at the front and an inch less in the rear, then channeled 6 inches. What you may not have noticed is the '37 firewall replacing the original, or the modified lower cowl sections. Of course, you can't fail to have spotted the grille shell, which originally called a '49 International home. Kirk designed his own headlights. Amongst all this creativity, the door handles are surprisingly stock.
There's an awful lot of entries on Kirk's spec sheet stating "owner-built," but his wife, donelle, takes credit for the graphite-colored leather upholstery on the aircraft-inspired seats, which feature adjustable backs and under-seat storage. Stewart Warner gauges live in that '60 Chevy dash while textured aluminum paneling make up the door panels and trans tunnel. The shifter is Kirk-built, topped by a hardball he found still in its wrapping behind the seat of a flea market-bought soapbox racer. Apparently hardballs were common second place prizes for soapbox racers, this one making a perfect addition to the truck, as Kirk had always wanted to race a soapbox car as a child but never had the opportunity.
When we shot Kirk's '42, he was insistent that he wouldn't have built his truck if it weren't for good friend Jake Moomey and his '34 pickup. In fact, Jake was one of those guys Kirk ran into before they formed the relix club. Jake's '34 was built, as he succinctly put it on his spec sheet, "to drive"-and drive he does, racking up a 4 1/2-hour drive to Indy as well as a trip to the Hunnert Car pileup in the snow. The project started after Jake attended the WCK Cruisin' paso robles show and hankered after an old project. "When I got home, I called a friend to ask if he wanted to sell the cab and bed that had been sitting in his garage for years, and nine months later it was mine," he told us.
With a dad who used to race circle track locally, Jake has always been around cars, and though he's a carpenter by trade, that early hands-on training had to help when embarking on a ground-up project, though he said the hardest part was sourcing all the parts at swap meets. He fabricated his own chassis using 2x4-inch tubing, added early ford suspension front and rear, and dropped a '52 flattie between the 'rails, a Chevy T5 playing the supporting roll amongst all this fordbranded steel and cast iron.
That '34 cab and bed he'd liberated from his buddy's garage were mounted to the chassis, but not before the cab received a healthy 6-inch top chop and 5-inch Channel and the bed lost 24 inches from its length, and a custom tailgate was fabricated. A commercial grille shell, a pair of old headlamps, and a couple of air Intakes from a '52 Caddy for air cleaners, and the truck was ready for a coat of red oxide and its maiden voyage. Looks like that trip to paso was a productive one!
Rod & Custom Feature Car
Grand Rapids, Michigan
1934 Ford Pickup
The '52 239ci flathead wears Edelbrock heads and an offy intake with a pair of Holley 94 carbs adorned with '52 Caddy air intakes for filters. That's the second pair of them used as air cleaners in this very issue, if I'm not mistaken! A MalloryDistributor lights the fire with homemade zoomie headers clearing the motor's throat. As with Kirk's truck, a T5 tranny is bolted to the flattie, with a '41 ford banjo rearend, converted to open drive, bringing up the rear.
Jake built the 2x4-inch chassis, which was kicked up front and rear to get the pickup as low as possible. Jake built it to a wheelbase that looked right, though he doesn't know its exact length, but would relocate the back axle 4 inches farther forward if he were to do it all again. Thirty-two-inch ladder bars locate the rearend, which is hung on a transverse spring. Up front there's an un-dropped I-beam with another transverse spring hung from the wishbones, its perch located behind the grille.
Wheels & Tires
Stock 16-inch '34 ford wires and hubcaps are used at each corner, with 5.50 and 7.00 firestone biasplies keeping them off the ground.
Body & Paint
Jake tackled the 6-inch chop and 5-inch channel, and shortened the pickup bed by 2 feet before mounting it to the chassis minus its floor and a large portion of the lower rear sheetmetal. A new louvered tailgate was added, however, before everything was straightened out by Ted Aguilar and sprayed in red oxide from Hot rod flatz. Behind that commercial grille shell is a radiator that came from a forklift of all things.
Jake added a '37 passenger car dash to the cab, as well as the third seat from a modern suburban. With a blanket for upholstery and a baseball cap as a shifter boot, he's comfortable and draft-free. He opens the windshield if he needs A/C, while a sneaky peek under the dash reveals another Chevy component-a vintage heater! A flea market 'flake steering wheel and pedals formed from end wrenches complete the no-frills interior.