Okay, I've talked the talk for far too long about rodding and those of us who are, shall I say, financially challenged. So I thought it was time for me to put my mouth where my money isn't and get to work proving my point. I outlined my plan last month in my editorial and since then have started work in earnest.
Well, this is it. The smaller...
Well, this is it. The smaller components that came along with what you see here were piled in the garage at the time this photo was taken, but you've got to admit, it's not a bad starting point.
Here's a bit of a closer look...
Here's a bit of a closer look at the sheetmetal. The cab consists of a '27 cowl and doors and a '28-29-style rear cab wall grafted together. The bed is a really solid A unit that just needs a bit of help.
The frame (as well as the...
The frame (as well as the rest of the truck) had been sitting outside for who knows how long. Though rust covered, it was all still in solid shape. The first order of business was to start the chore of de-rusting everything. Oh well, ya gotta start somewhere.
The best way to start out project "Budget Beater" may well be to recap and expand on my original idea. First of all, I'd decided that it was about time for a guy in my position to actually get back behind the wheel of a hot rod as an everyday driver. To be the editor of a publication like R&C and run around the state in an import pickup just wasn't cool, and frankly, I'd just about had as much good-natured ribbing as I could handle.
Well, once the first decision to start another project was made, it was then time to decide what it'd be. First of all, it's pretty well known that my personal tastes lean toward the traditional both in rods and customs, and whatever path I decided to take would definitely be kind of retro. Another important factor I had to consider was my meager budget (I didn't have one), so I made the decision to sell my old shovelhead Harley to finance a hot rod. Within a couple of days I had $10 grand in my hand (and a tear in my eye)--thus the $10K ceiling on the project budget.
From there it was time to choose between a late-'50s/early-'60s mild custom, or a hot rod; having an affinity for both, I decided to go with whatever I ran across first. Well, I put the word out through a network of friends that I was in the market for a project in the $4,000-$5,000 range and within a couple of days my pals Jimmy and Grant (of Circle City Hot Rods) gave me a shout to tell me about a pile of roadster pickup parts one of their friends, Skip, had decided to unload. They gave me a number and I gave Skip a call.
Within the next few days I was the proud owner of a roadster cab (two-thirds '27 and one-third '28), a complete Model A bed assembly, a used Total Cost Involved perimeter frame, a used 8-inch rear, a pair of Pete & Jake's-style ladder bars, a '40 Ford spring, a dropped I-beam and front spring, a pair of hairpin radius rods, bat wings, a VW bus steering box and column, and a pair of F-100 drums--all for the princely sum of $4,000 (about what you'd expect to pay at, say, the Pomona Swap Meet).
At this point I foresee being able to put together a pretty cool little hot rod roadster for my target budget of $10K. Of course, I'll have to do all the work myself so the balance of my cash can be used for parts, and the parts used from here on out will, for the most part, be new aftermarket pieces. I'll also keep a running total of what was spent to achieve each stage of the buildup. Let's see if I can live up to my preachings and really sew together a cool, safe, and reliable hot rod for an affordable price. See ya next issue when we'll actually start the buildup.