As one ages, their perception of time changes. The world seems to be spinning ever faster. Hours feel like minutes as we grow old.
In 1982, just a few hours past his 29th birthday, John Venuti of Aston, Pennsylvania, knew that if he didn't get his hands on a custom classic truck by the time he was 30, he would be too old to enjoy it. After a few months passed, John discovered this was not a fleeting notion and expressed his concerns to his wife, Gail. For some women, this disclosure would have made about as much sense as a man working out in his garage at night instead of eating chocolate bon-bons on the couch with her. Fortunately for John, his wife understood his desire and encouraged him to find an old truck. "In February '82, I heard about a guy building a '36 Ford pickup in his garage. The word was he might sell it. When I went to see it, the cab was sitting on a rolling chassis with a 350-inch Chevy and a four-speed stick tranny installed. The guy said he would sell it after he was done, which should take about six months-six months turned into three years." In February '85, John and Gail bought the '36 Ford and drove it home. They hung a set of Centerline wheels on it and had the headliner done, and that was that.
"From that point on, going to rod runs with our three children was our full-time hobby. The kids would get into the bed with their pillows and off we'd go. In 1987, we drove from Aston, Pennsylvania, to the Street Rod Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. It was the best trip we ever made." For 15 years the Venuti family ran the wheels off their Ford, until June '02 at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals East in York, Pennsylvania, where they spotted a beautiful '40 Ford pickup custom-built for Bill Baldwin by the Hot Rod Garage (HRG) of Denton, Maryland. John and Gail met Ray Bartlett, owner of the Hot Rod Garage, and discussed building the '36 with him. After driving out to Ray's shop in Maryland and discussing the idea further, they were convinced they should leave their truck with the Hot Rod Garage's crew and give them carte blanche to boot.
First in line for the HRG treatment was the '36's frame and suspension. Dean Alexander pie-cut the rear framerails and fabricated a custom step-notch. From there, TCI leaf springs were hung on Hot Rod Garage custom-made shackles, with a 3.25:1 limited-slip 9-inch Ford rearend attached. Up front, the frame horns were pinched to run a chromed Super Bell '32 Ford 4-inch dropped axle with So Cal Speed Shop Buick-style brakes and hairpins. For steering, a Mullins Vega steering box directs chrome-plated spindles from Pete & Jake's Hot Rod Parts of Peculiar, Missouri. Pete & Jake's tubular shocks are used at all four corners for dampening. For rolling stock, 15-inch Billet Specialties Legacy-style wheels are mounted on Michelin radials on the front and BFGoodrich T/A radials on the rear. Supplying hydraulic juice to the brakes tucked within the billet wheels is handled via an aluminum 1 1/8-inch-bore Wilwood master cylinder.
The '36 Ford has a hot rod...
The '36 Ford has a hot rod stance from the Hot Rod Garage thanks to a 4-inch dropped Super Bell Deuce axle with Pete & Jake's spindles up front and TCI leaf springs on the rear.
The Hot Rod Garage's Gary...
The Hot Rod Garage's Gary Hunter cherried the body out, and Dustin Lutz painted it. The color is General Motors Refrigerator White from DuPont.
Golden Oak flooring shelters...
Golden Oak flooring shelters a polyethylene gas tank from Tanks Inc. (Poly gas tanks are impervious to ethanol.)