With gearheads, there's always a danger in attending, but not participating in a custom classic truck show. If you don't have a project pickup in progress at home or at a pro shop, you're especially going to feel left out-like you've gone to the high-school prom stag. No matter how cool your daily commuter is, you'll be a poser at the shows. You may have 20 custom cars and trucks in your past, but that's old news. The question bouncing around in your head will be, "What have I built for myself lately." If you have a build in the works, at least you're part of an ever-growing tide of automotive aficionados, and by attending shows, you're getting ideas on how to customize your ride.
Without participating via showing or creating, the desire to obtain a vintage hauler will be too strong to endure. The hobby is an addiction, albeit a healthy one, and preferable to playing the ponies.
In preparation for their next custom, Sue and Jim Rhoades sold a '23 Ford T-bucket, a '37 Dodge two-door sedan, and a '31 Ford Model A pickup. From attending shows for a couple years, they became intrigued by the Downs Manufacturing '40 Ford pickup. Knowing they could be driving and showing the truck much faster than if they'd started with vintage tin, they chose the Downs Manufacturing route.
For the chassis, the Rhoades wanted a foundation that would propel them down the road with aplomb. They went with Downs' best: fully boxed framerails and a tubular X-member equipped with a Heidt's polished IFS and Heidt's IRS. An 18-gallon stainless fuel tank was fitted behind the pumpkin and between the powdercoated framerails. Nestled amidst the powdercoated and polished finery of the rolling chassis, the Downs crew installed a 671 Weiand blower-equipped Chevy 355ci small-block. Dual Edelbrock 800-cfm carbs force-feed the 0.030-over mill that Al Lombardo, owner of Big Al's Toy Box, bored, honed, decked, balanced, and blueprinted.
The Rhoades also sourced a TPI-built 4L60-E trans, optimized with a Griffin trans cooler, a Lokar shifter, and a 3,000-stall converter.
Fortunately for the Rhoades, Downs' fiberglass bodies and other exterior components come out of the molds fresh and smooth. The gelcoat received minor paint prep before Downs' most seasoned paint gunner laid down the House of Kolor Blue, Silver, lighter-Blue-flamed, and Orange-striped paint scheme.
After wiring the Ford and installing a Dakota Digital instrument cluster in the custom dashboard, the '40s cockpit was treated to an interior trimmed by Krist Kustoms of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Thanks to entrusting Downs Manufacturing with building the blown '40 Ford pickup, and to the upholstery talents of Krist Kustoms, a mere two years of construction time flew by. In total, the Rhoades were without a street rod for four years. When you've been in the hobby for 49 years, that is not too terribly long to be without wheels, especially when the hauler's as nice as the Rhoades' '40 Ford pickup.
Even though the Downs Manufacturing body is comprised of fiberglass, the bed and rear roll
A Sony DVD/12-disc CD/AM/FM system assure the Rhoades are always well entertained while ra
Shawn Krist, owner of auto upholstery shop Krist Kustoms, covered his Streamline seats in