What is it about a piece of vintage tin that works its way into our spiritual core? Could these mechanical ghosts possibly be residue from our pasts returning to haunt us? Gary Gower of Silverdale, Washington, was casually looking for a drivable vintage truck to purchase. He wanted to restore a pre-'50s truck, but not a basket case that would take years to complete. Gary has always liked the '40 Ford teardrop fenders-and the familiar sound of a flathead engine reminds him of "the way things were."
Gary's brother overheard a neighborhood rumor that the owner of a '46 Ford was finally ready to sell his truck. That rumor was overheard 20 years ago, and Gary still remembers how excited he was to board a ferryboat with cash in his pocket to make the purchase.
The '46 Ford hasn't changed a great deal mechanically. Gary upgraded the ancient electrical system to 12 volts and installed a radio with a cassette player and speakers. He also discovered that '70 AMC Rebel spindles could be adapted to the original axle to achieve a 4-inch drop and disc brakes to the frontend. In the rear, the leaf springs were modified and shorter shocks were added to achieve an equal drop. A custom stainless steel fuel tank is located below the bench seat.
Flathead faithfuls will be pleased to know the '49 8BA Flattie is bored .060-over and is fed by a Holley carb on the stock intake. A Fenton exhaust manifold and Blue Streak mufflers improve the flow of air through the exhaust system. A 12-volt '60 Ford Falcon generator maintains a stock appearance. A Hagen 12-volt starter cranks the original flywheel.
Dave Mathison's Rods & Customs handled the necessary bodywork before paint was applied. An effort has been made to maintain the PPG Niles Blue Green exterior in a period-perfect manner. However, small modifications have been made. Even though the '46 Ford Motor Company didn't offer a spare tire (because of the rubber shortage), the side-mounted spare-tire mount was removed from the bed. Wide whitewall Coker tires mount on American Racing chrome wheels with bullet center caps.
Russell's Upholstery in Bremerton, Washington, applied black Naugahyde to the rebuilt original bench seat in a vintage narrow tuck 'n' roll style. Russell's also crafted a custom headliner that extends behind the bench back. During the 12-volt conversion, Gary replaced the vacuum wipers and added an electric motor.
The flathead engine might not be as powerful as a modern small-block Chevy, but the sounds it emits are like a time-travel machine to the past. Gary is working on a more powerful flathead but will keep it as reliable (and original to this period) as possible. The overall look and performance of the Gower's '46 Ford is traditional hot rod truck, and we wouldn't have it any other way.