This isn't Paul Bos' first Model A roadster pickup. "I bought that one when I was 9," he says. "My dad made me take it apart when he caught me driving it." That would've been about 1949. Guided by his uncle, Ben Bos, a speed pioneer in the San Diego, California, area both before and after the war, he put it back together with a succession of engines, each hotter than the last. A hot rodder was born.
Nor is it his second-for that one he swapped a regular Model A roadster, a red, Chevy-powered job that landed the cover of the Aug. '61 Hot Rod. "We traded everything except engines," he specifies. He sold that to build a T-bucket, a car Gary Rickels finished with Nailhead power and made famous in part by getting it on the cover of the Dec. '68 Rod & Custom.
Nor is it his third. No, Paul built that one in the late '90s after he finished his trademark '34 coupe, a car he swore would be his last rod. "I sold that one to buy property when we relocated to northern Idaho," he recalls.
This one is Paul's fourth. "It was going to be my last car before retiring so I wanted it to be like my first, a '28-29 Ford roadster pickup," he reveals. Only he stipulated two changes: "I always wanted a '40 Ford dash and a '32 grille shell."
He gathered parts, chief among them a Model A frame that Vern Tardel fortified with one of his interpretations of a Deuce K-member. Tardel also set it up with V-8 mounts and shortened the driveshaft for the '40 rear axle that came with it. The tin body Paul bought from Last Refuge Hot Rods resembles a stock Model A but its extended rear quarters make it more practical. The list of people who contributed parts reads like a who's-who of eastern Washington/northern Idaho hop-up culture: Logan Ascher, Chris Swenson, Shaun Skidmore, John Dickson, and Mike Robison (Antique Auto Ranch).
But the music stopped just as Paul started moving. "Before we were going to mount the body and bed to the frame, I injured my back and re-injured my neck," he laments. He explained how he persevered in the past but this time the doctor delivered a sobering prognosis: were Paul to hurt himself again, he might spend the rest of his life on a less desirable set of wheels, a slower, self-powered job with bicycle tires and a seat for him only.
Demoralizing events often stop projects in their tracks but this car may be better because of it. He called on friends Bob and Judy Bissonette at Rod Builders in Spokane Valley, Washington. "Bob [Bissonette] put one of his young employees, Dustin Reichel, on my project," he says.
You could say the car was a transaction of their skill sets: Paul offered history and time-honored techniques, which Reichel interpreted with modern tools and tricks. Ultimately, though, they found common ground in their ingenuity and resourcefulness. The origins of Paul's are obvious; he built his first hot rod before the industry as we know it existed. Reichel's was largely self-imposed; to preserve the flavor of a car built before catalog parts existed, he intentionally made do with what he had rather than rely on what was available.