You could say I was brainwashed as a toddler. My dad has been a rodder since the '50s so it's in my blood. I built this truck because I wanted a change. When I was in high school my dad and I built a modern-designed '52 Ford custom, but during college while studying Illustration/Graphic Design my tastes changed and I gravitated towards the design styles of the early 20th century through the 1960s and I wanted a car that reflected that change. I also wanted an older car; having a custom was fun but I had always wanted a pre-'48 car and Model As are still pretty reasonable to build with the budget I had.
I had purchased a '29 pickup years earlier but it was in very rough condition, too much for me to handle at the time so I stored it in my dad's garage (it's still there on a shelf). After building the '52 Victoria and a '62 Chevy wagon I decided to start looking for another Model A pickup but hold out for one in better condition this time. A friend had started building this truck sometime in the late '80s. In 2004, he decided to sell it, so I sold my '52 Vicky to purchase the A.
The condition was pretty good. The chassis and driveline had been completed and many of the sheetmetal parts had been purchased. I thought my dad and I could have it on the road in a year. The pickup looked like it just needed to be disassembled, have some paint work done and then be bolted back together. As soon as I got it home I went and got the stock hood from my other truck and set it on the new one. The stock hood went over the grille shell by about an inch. I knew then it would take longer to get the truck on the road. We took the truck down to the frame and, using frame layouts from Wescott's, discovered the front crossmember was in the wrong place and was too narrow. Using Wescott's layout, we got the frame square and installed a new front crossmember. Every bracket from the rear tranny mount to the front crossmember had to be moved forward. I didn't like the way the rear of the truck sat so we got a rear crossmember from a friend and installed it 2 inches higher than stock to get the rear to sit lower.
We then assembled the truck to make sure all the sheetmetal fit. We also made sure the wheels and tires were centered in the fenders. This went fairly smoothly.
The battery bolts to the rear of the frame under the bed. My dad welded the louvered side of a microwave to the front of the battery box to vent the dry cell battery.
I didn't like how square the bed looked so I smoothed the bed rails by replacing the square edge with round ones. I made a roll pan for the rear of the box and made it look like it was riveted from the factory. The taillight stands and license plate enclosures also look like they were riveted. My dad thought this idea was taking way too much time, but liked it once it was primed.
The truck came with a new bench seat which I covered with an Indian blanket the first summer it was on the road. The back of the seat was about 4 inches thick which affected the leg room in the truck so I was looking for another kind of seat with a thinner back. My dad and I were at the Zumbrota State Theater one night when we got the idea of using theater seats. We were able to get some vintage seats with wood arm rests from the same theater.
In 2006, two years from the time the truck was purchased as a project, I drove it to the MSRA's Back to the '50s car show. Ten days before the show, with the chassis and drivetrain done, my dad and I assembled the rest of the truck, including painting all the sheetmetal and wiring it.
It's pretty hard to put a price on the truck-I know what I paid for it but I really don't keep track of how much I spend. How do you put a price on the hours you spend and the time you invest? That's not really what it's about for me. It's about the love for the sport and the passion that went behind putting together the truck with my dad and driving it.
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1929 Ford Pickup
Owner contact info: email@example.com
A stock Model A frame was boxed and new crossmembers were installed to get the Super Bell tube axle and Pete & Jake's spring in the right spot up front and raised 2 inches in the rear to give the Ford 8-inch some more room to move with the Chassis Engineering triangulated 4-link. Jon built a steel frame to support the pickup box instead of using wood and added two 9-gallon saddle tanks hung outside the framerails to store the gas.
The small-block Chevy 350 and Turbo 350 trans that came with the truck didn't need much. Jon upgraded the engine with a Comp Cams Pure Energy camshaft that once ran in his '52 Ford, a Holley intake with a Carter carb, and a Pertronix ignition. He found an old oil bath air cleaner and modified it to fit on the Carter carb. Jon had been working with a set of Mercury valve covers when he found the Lincoln ones and liked them better and they fit over the Chevy covers without much modification. A converted brass fire extinguisher is used to catch any coolant over-flow out of the Walker radiator.
Wheels & Tires
The Wheelsmith smoothie steelies (14x5s and 15x7s) are capped with `40 Ford pickup hubcaps and trim rings and wrapped in Firestone FR380 185/65R14s and A/S Radial Road Runner 235/75R15s. A set of Kelsey wires is on Jon's list of possible changes.
Body & Paint
Jon and his dad, Dave, tackled the body combining the best pieces from his two pickups. The gas tank filler was removed and the tank was welded to the cowl to remove the seam. The top of the two-piece Rootlieb hood was louvered, the firewall was recessed 4 inches and a custom rear roll pan was built with a recessed license plate and installed with rivets. `32 Ford door handles were added for a 3 year newer look. Once the body was in shape and fit the chassis, Dave took control and sprayed a mixture of black and red oxide epoxy primer. Lighting is provided by stock Model A headlights on a dropped bar and `48 Ford taillights. A LeBaron-Bonney top kit caps it all.
A set of vintage theater seats dominates the interior and is the thing most people leave talking about. Airplane seatbelts from a US military surplus store keep Jon buckled in. The stock dash was replaced with a Brookville '32-style Model A dash with a So-Cal Fender Pearl insert filled with Mooneyes gauges and a '37 Ford radio face. A `40 Ford column was used with a LeCarra Mark `40 wheel. The Gennie Shifter stick is capped with a bullet shell knob. The old Steward Warner gas heater has been gutted and is now home to a set of Infinity 31/2-inch speakers working with a Pioneer head unit mounted behind the seats along with a pair of Alpine 5x7 speakers.