What did we tell you back in our April issue about the rise in popularity of early shop trucks? Back then it was Paul Borrmann's Hemi-fied '33 we were waxing lyrical about, and hot on its heels comes Danny Burroughs' '32. Both are fenderless, both have quick-change rearends, and despite the paint finish being at opposite ends of the spectrum, there are other similarities, the most important to us being that they're both drivers. Unlike Paul's '33, Danny's Deuce is a real shop truck, doing daily duty for Bruce's Rod Shop, the business he runs with his parents in Spring, Texas. We remember being impressed with the pickup at last year's Lone Star Round Up, but had no idea it was the truck's maiden voyage. As Danny told us, "For me, it takes a show or a trip to get a project finished on time. This one was no different; it took the '09 Lone Star Round Up to get it done. The Wednesday before the show the truck was ready to make the trip."
But what of the two-year buildup to the Round Up? We'll let Danny tell it: "As a car builder, I always have ideas running through my head. I have always liked the look of old shop trucks. One day I was looking at some parts we had lying around the shop and thought, 'these would work great for a shop truck.' That's how the two-year project got started.
"In early 2003, Dad was looking on eBay for '32 Ford parts, and found a '32 Ford BB truck. For kicks he decided to place a low bid on it. Much to his surprise, he won the auction. Now we had to figure out how to get it from Snyder, Oklahoma, to our shop in Texas. After a long weekend, we had the truck back at its new home. For a work truck it was in very good condition. For a few years it sat in the back of the shop, lonely and unattended. Every now and again, we fired it up and drove it down the street, but mainly it sat. During this time we bought several '32 Ford projects, and two of them were smaller trucks. It started to look like we had a fleet of trucks for our hot rod shop. It had been a number of years since I had built a ground-up project for myself, and I decided it was time to dust off the old BB and make it a cool shop truck.
"First thing on the list was to pry the truck out of Dad's hands. So with a lot of sucking up and promises of labor on his roadster project, it was mine. Over the years we have gathered up bits and pieces for different projects, and with a quick look around I found the makings of a new chassis for the truck. This started with a pair of well-worn '32 'rails with a center crossmember that left a lot to be desired. After all the ugly was removed, the frame was ready to be put into our jig and start its new life. On past projects I'd used more modern suspension components, but on this one I wanted it to look old and 'mechanical'. I have always thought that trucks were for work, not a beauty contest. Keeping that in mind, I decided that the least amount of shine the better.
"The frontend started with a Chassis Engineering forged I-beam, Posies rolled and tapered front spring, plain steel shackles and spring perches from Magnum Axle, and original '40 Ford spindles, along with a split '34 wishbone, pulled from the parts shelf. Also from the shelf came the '40 front brakes. The rearend is an old Halibrand quick-change, designed to use 3/4-ton Ford truck axle bells. This type of rearend has a real industrial look that works perfect on a truck. In trying to keep an older look, I decided to run a Model A spring and rear crossmember. The rear end is held in place by handmade ladder bars with a custom V-8 logo used as a gusset. The rear brakes are a mix of '40 drums with '39 Lincoln front backing plates with the centers re-drilled to fit 9-inch bearing ends.
"One of my passions is bending custom stainless lines. On this project I couldn't just run rubber hoses for the fuel lines, so a custom fuel line assembly was needed to get it done right. Connecting the four Rochester carburetors was a challenge, until Automotion in Great Falls, Montana, was able to help me with a linkage kit that made it possible to get the carburetors moving all at the same time on the Man-A-Fre intake.
"During a build, a project will take on its own back story. This project is no different. The story that this truck tells is of a life where over the years it has transformed from one hot rod truck to another. What if a hot rodder built a truck in the '40s, and slowly transformed it over the years to gain more power? That is what I wanted to convey with the truck, so when it came time to look at the paint I decided to leave the weathered paint on the truck alone."
Which brings us back to the weather-beaten Round Up in Austin, Texas, last year, and this truck's debut, where we can remember being surprised at the four-carbed small-block sitting where we'd fully expected to see a Flathead. We'd already spied the swing pedals, noting that there was no auto in this truck, but rather a bullet-proof four-speed. However, Danny admits he'd use a five-speed if he did it again, as "an overdrive to drop the rpm on the freeway would be nice." Now if only he knew a hot rod shop that could fit one for him ...
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1932 Ford BB pickup
The sheetmetal on this spruce Deuce was originally affixed to a BB truck chassis, so obviously something a little more "lightweight" was in order for its new life as a hot rod. Danny used an original frame, though the slightly worse for wear center crossmember was replaced with a tubular version after the 'rails had been boxed. A Model A rear crossmember was added, complete with matching spring. A mix of original Ford and aftermarket parts make up the frontend, while a mid-'60s Halibrand quick-change with Dutchman axles is located on owner-made ladder bars out back, a Deuce Factory sway bar keeping things in check. Adjustable Chassis Engineering tube-type shocks are mounted at each corner, owner-built swing pedals operate an early '60s Chevy truck master cylinder, while a manual Vega steering box at the lower end of a custom column handles directional duties.
A built-and-balanced 355ci Chevy small-block with ported and polished 327 "double hump" heads, "pink" rods, and an unknown spec COMP Cam powers this shop truck, fed by four Rochester 2G carbs on a Man-A-Fre intake. Old Cal Custom valve covers, SO-CAL Speed Shop air cleaners, and a carb linkage from Automotion round out the top end of the motor, with sparks supplied by an MSD Pro Billet distributor and 6A control box. Sanderson headers lead to a custom-built 2 1/2-inch stainless exhaust system built by Danny with Stainless Specialties mufflers. A Center Force clutch links the motor to a late-'60s Chevy four-speed, with a driveshaft by Houston Drive Train.
Body & Paint
Sean Ornduff, the in-house body and paint expert at Bruce's Rod Shop, handled the work required to match the pickup bed to the weathered cab, with Pat Maxwell adding the signage to the doors. Stock '32 headlights mount to a modified headlight bar in front of the commercial grille shell. The chassis, running gear, and wheels are finished in gloss black in contrast to the weathered green sheetmetal.
Wheels & Tires
Whereas most Ford wire wheel-equipped rods run the later 16-inch wires, Danny opted to stay with those offered in 1932, the 18 x 3 1/2-inch fronts wrapped in 4.50-18 Excelsior rubber. He widened the rears himself to 5 inches, adding 7.00-18 bias-ply blackwalls for a slight rubber rake.
This is a shop truck after all, so there's no plush leather, A/C, or even a stereo. Heck, there's not even a carpet or headliner! There are seatbelts to keep the occupants from sliding around on the black vinyl bench seat, and an EZ Wiring harness hooks up the Stewart Warner gauges. A stock '32 steering wheel is mounted on the owner-fabbed column, which uses a '32 drop bracket, but apart from new wood floor boards, those Danny-built swing pedals and a fabricated trans cover, it's about as bare bones as they come.