If you've been with your spouse a long time, it's funny how you begin to share mannerisms and start looking like each other. The same can be said for favorite pets.
Now, give us some latitude here before you think we're crazy. We contend that some hot rod haulers embody the physical and personal traits of their owners. In this feature article, we'll offer rock-solid proof to substantiate our claim.
As exhibit A, we enter into evidence vintage custom truck owner Ron Segal of Desert Hot Springs, California. Exhibit B, Susan and Ron's '47 Ford COE, epitomizes Mr. Segal in every way. Since the defense is incredulous and has no objections, we'll put forth our case.
Having some 40 years of involvement in the street rod/custom vintage truck hobby, Ron had always "wanted a COE I could stand in front of and wash the windows. It had to be a pickup, and it had to live in my garage." With those goals in mind Ron searched for and finally found an in-progress '47 Ford COE that he could improve and finish to his personal preferences. Friends Jerry Conrad and Lance Thompson built an all-custom tubular frame with a Camaro IFS front clip and a 3.83:1-geared Ford 9-inch differential. Shortened coilover springs and shocks with dropped spindles achieved the in-the-weeds street rod stance. For smoothing out the ride in the rear, Jerry and Lance installed Gabriel air shocks. R.C. Lindly, owner of R.C. Classics in Palm Desert, California, fabricated a 16-gallon fuel tank, which he located between the rear framerails and plumbed with braided stainless steel lines.
Given the considerable girth of the venerable Ford COE, Ron realized he'd need plenty of giddy-up in the engine compartment to motivate the hefty hauler. A&S Automotive in Palm Desert, California, built a '71 Ford 460ci big-block with a COMP Cams camshaft, Speed Pro rings, TRW forged pistons, and a Pete Jackson gear drive. Since Ron permitted us to drive the '47 from his home in Desert Hot Springs all the way to the Primedia studio in Gardena, we'd testify under oath that the truck scoots. L&L Transmission in Indio, California, rebuilt the '71 C6 trans and enhanced it with a B&M shifter and 3,000-stall converter.
When Ron first purchased the pickup, Lance Thompson had already performed much of the bodywork. He fabricated the bed, widened the rear fenders, and created the running boards. Jerry Conrad lopped 3.5 inches from the cab's top. R.C. then took over and prepared all of the exterior panels for paint. Using PPG Milkshake and '68 Ford Mustang Metallic Blue, Stan Howton of Beaumont, California, applied the pristine paint job, before adding the artful pinstriping accents.
Because the Segals wanted a show truck that they could comfortably drive, they entrusted Eddie Ledesma, owner of American Auto Upholstery in Corona, California, with trimming the interior. Both Susan and Ron are cowfolk (cowpersons?). Therefore, most of the many street rods and custom classic trucks that Ron has owned over the years have had a cowboy theme. With custom longhorn stitching appointing the COE's tan leather seats, Eddie made the interior "Cowboy Up."
Throughout this trial, we've offered substantial evidence that the Segals' '47 Ford COE embodies the physical attributes of the vehicle's owner. We haven't addressed the personality trait similarities between the two. If you were to meet Ron, his engaging, humorous, generous, and down-to-earth personality would immediately put you at ease and have you smiling. When we drove the COE to and from our Gardena studio, we were grinning from ear to ear. In kind, we received the same reaction from everyone who saw and heard the truck, with thumbs-ups and many "That truck's so cool!" proclamations thrown in for good measure. In years past, Ron has had a hard time holding on to his hot rod haulers. Like many a horse (power) trader, he gets an itchy saddle and has a hankering for selling, buying, and building something new. In the case of the '47 Ford COE, we hope he hangs on to it. The truck reminds us too much of Ron and his generous, cowboy nature. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we'll close with Ron's favorite slogan, "Cowboy Up!" We rest our case.