It seems like just about anyone who is into old trucks has a favorite. About 30 years ago, Keith Walters from South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, had finally found something he'd been dreaming about since he first gained interest in hot rodding back in high school-his own personal grail, so to speak-a '32 Ford pickup. Even though he enjoyed building other custom trucks over the years, he always felt something was missing.
When he finally tracked down the right vintage truck, there was one predominant problem: this was one tired truck. But Keith, being the ambitious type, saw past the rust and the fact that raccoons apparently had something to do with the current state of the upholstery and interior.
Over the next decade, the truck slowly took shape. After tearing the '32 down to the bare frame, Keith enlisted Ron Showers at Auto Weld in Danville, Pennsylvania, to handle narrowing the rear and boxing the frame in preparation for a modern drivetrain. The rearend of choice was a Ford 9-inch Posi with 3.89:1 gears. Auto Weld also created a custom four-bar rear suspension setup that features a pair of Alden coilover shocks procured from his good friend Dave Snyder at nearby Shore Auto, who has helped Keith considerably over the years with this and other projects.
Up front, Keith added an I-beam axle, a four-bar kit, and rack-and-pinion steering. Mounts were also made to hang Chevy calipers all the way around, while a pair of '48 Ford spindles were chosen to slide the front Centerline Outlaw rims onto. The now-vintage Centerlines also grace the rear, giving a clue as to just how long this project took.
Keith had an ace-in-the-hole when it came to the powerplant. It seems he just happened to have a big-block 454 Chevy motor that had previously seen duty in a drag boat. This little jewel had originally come from Big Al's Toy Box and was equipped with a BDS-671 blower, twin Carter 750s, and a COMP Cams bumpstick ground specifically for the blower. A final nostalgic touch on the motor is a pair of Moon Eyes valve covers that Keith couldn't resist, while the spent fumes are blown through Sanderson headers. Keith transmits the plentiful ponies to the rear Hoosier tires via a TCI Turbo 400 transmission he equipped with a B&M ratchet shifter. He also fit a B&M cooler to the trans and has it set up with a stall speed of 2,800 rpm so the motor won't get lugged-a real problem with a blower up top.
When the time came to restore the body, Keith did as much of the existing sheetmetal work as possible himself, including building the one-off dash that he filled with VDO gauges, but again, he relied on the good folks at Auto Weld to widen the rear fenders, construct a one-piece hood, and hang the suicide doors, keeping everything steel. The doors got a couple of modern amenities when Keith installed Chevy electric window motors and Honda power door locks.
After what must have seemed like an eternity, Keith was finally ready to turn the bodywork over to Joe Dudek in nearby Williamsport so he could ensure everything was just right before he sprayed on countless coats of PPG red-but not before he created some pretty trick taillights out of discarded GM side marker lights.
This gave Keith time to finish the interior. He decided to build his own seat frames, and once the frames were completed, Keith called on Jim Brewer, another Williamsport local, to stuff, wrap, and stitch the new buckets with a fine tweed that really adds a touch of class.
As you can tell, over the 30 years that Keith has spent around the sport of hot rodding, he's become part of a pretty tight community of Pennsylvania rodders who share their talents with others involved in the hobby they all love and live. You see, Keith also has a '50 Ford pickup as well as a '72 GMC 4x4 under his belt, but the '32 was the truck he's always wanted to build. As we finished discussing the deuce, the magazine's release date came up, and it just so happens you'll be reading this feature right about the time Keith will be celebrating another decade on this big old blue ball. So here's to you, Keith, and many more to come.
There's nothing like a blown...
There's nothing like a blown big-block to wake things up. This one came out of a boat and now sports Sanderson headers.
The '32's tweed-wrapped interior...
The '32's tweed-wrapped interior is thanks to Jim Brewer of Williamsport, PA. The B&M shifter is hooked to a beefed Turbo 400.
Centerline wheels grace all...
Centerline wheels grace all four corners, while a 9-inch Ford packing 3.89:1 gears transfers power to the big meats.