Volkswagen ads are famous for confusing viewers with their "drivers wanted" slogan, but VW salesman Larry Camp is a firm believer in vehicles that can be driven. Formerly owned by the U.S. Navy and stationed at Sandpoint Naval Station, his Hunter Green '48 Ford F-1 was rescued from being permanently decommissioned and rebuilt over an eight-year period for the purpose of navigating about the Pacific Northwest.
We met Larry and Jennifer in the parking lot of the host hotel at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton, California, as Larry was scouring the road grime from the paint of his '48 (accumulated during the cruise from Seattle). The very straight and clean '48 Ford pickup appeared as though it had rolled off an enclosed trailer, but Larry was proud to say they drove the entire distance.
A short inspection proved that the truck had made the voyage with no dings or dents. And the underside was as neat as a sailor's footlocker ready for inspection. The original chassis had been boxed to the firewall, and a '76 Ford 351ci engine was bored 0.060-over. The heads have been machined with a three-angle valve job with an Edelbrock Performer package added that includes a matching cam plus manifold and carburetor. Finned Ford Racing valve covers added sparkle to the clean powerplant. Mustang tubular headers and 2 1/2-inch exhaust tubing improve the engine's exhale of spent gases.
A rear sump oil pan clears the Fatman Fabrications Mustang II IFS with a Flaming River manual steering rack. In the rear, a Sacramento Vintage Ford parallel-leaf spring and shock absorber kit mounts a Ford 9-inch rearend with either 3.00:1 gears for highway driving or 3.89:1 gears when more spirited acceleration is desired. Ventilated disc brakes front and drum brakes rear stop the 1/2-ton hauler with confidence. Rolling stock consists of 15-inch American Racing Hopsters mounting 60 series rear and 50 series front Grand Spirit tires. Larry mentioned that he also has a set of red steelies with trim rings and caps for a decidedly '50s vintage look.
The ground-up rebuild was completed in 2002 in time to win a First Place in Class (Resto Rod Class) at the 2002 Seattle Roadster Show. But the recent thrill of piloting the straight and comfortable truck has been the big reward for eight years of patience and dedication. It might be hard to spot the Hunter Green pickup in the midst of all the foliage of Washington State, but chances are the Camps will sail past you on the highway coming or going. If you see it on a trailer, do as the popular bumper sticker says, call the shore police because the Camps' '48 Ford has been shanghaied!