He also learned to build the whole car rather than subcontract its construction to "specialists". In one instance when a bid for bodywork and paint threatened the budget, Reichel, a fabricator and panel shaper at heart, learned the finishing end of the trade. "I'd done some bodywork before but never a whole car," he explained. He ended up painting it the same way Paul and his pals did: outside. "And look at it," Paul says, rapping the door with his knuckle. "It turned out great."
Inspired by his success, Reichel took on other tasks many builders consider beyond their abilities. He learned how to run the old walking-foot sewing machine in the corner of the shop so he could trim the interior panels that he and Eric Peterson made in the simple way Paul remembered. "That's the third seat cover," he notes. "I just kept making them until they looked good." When the radiator proved too tall after he lowered the grille shell to match the hood, he melted off one of the tanks, cut down the tubes and fins, and soldered it back together. "It was my first time so I had to fill a few pinholes but it does the job."
Judging by the way he acts in the car's presence, Paul couldn't be happier. Beyond the fact that it's a great-looking piece, it reflects the way his first roadster pickup looked in both parts and construction. It has the grille and dash he always wanted. And it also came in on time (within 18 months no less). The last part was particularly critical as Paul retired soon after we shot the car and relocated his homestead some 1,300 miles south/southeast as the story about it took shape.
As for this hot rod being his last, well that remains to be seen. Prescott, Arizona, the burg he and Sallie now call home, is full of all sorts of hot rod experts, among them Jackie Howerton, Bill Vinther, and Don Small. So don't hold your breath, unless of course it's to see what he'll build next.
Rod & Custom Feature Car
Paul & Sallie Bos
1929 Ford Roadster pickup
Vern Tardel, magus of the Model A, prepped the frame in the fashion Mike Bishop outlined for their seminal book How to Build a Traditional Ford Hot Rod. He stepped the frame ahead of the rear crossmember, equipped it with V-8 engine mounts, and fortified it with his interpretation of a Deuce K-member. The latter sports a '39 Ford pedal assembly and master cylinder. True to Tardel form, the frame isn't boxed.
Tardel builds chassis to use entirely all Ford parts and this one's no exception. Centering the engine in the bay mounts the K-members far enough from the front crossmember to use an un-split '33-34 wishbone. Pinned to that is a stretched '33-36 axle and a reversed-eye Model A spring. Each end of the axle sports round-boss '37-41 spindles but only the left one has a tubular steering arm that links to an F-1 steering box. As Tardel's method uses the stock Model A rear spring, Paul let him weld the requisite perches to the '40 Ford axle. It spins a 3.78:1 screw. Tube-type dampers keep bounce and sway at bay and '40-48 brakes scrub off speed.
Paul threw a little bit of a curve ball with the wheels. The fronts are '35 Ford, age-old standards that measure 16x3.50. The rears are Deuce, which are identical in spoke count (32) but not in diameter (18 inches). Watts Automotive in Spokane straightened them and they now wear 16x4.50/4.75 and 18x7.00 Firestones. We'll let you figure out where each size fits.