Jorv Gavic had a problem we all wish we had: no room at home for all his hot rods and trucks. His solution was to buy a building and turn it into his own personal shop. It turned out to be a great "weekend hideaway" for working on projects and lacked only one thing-a shop truck.
That lack was remedied faster than expected.
"One morning upon getting into the office, I turned on the computer to check on an eBay truck auction that was about to close. There was a new listing I'd not seen before, with a Buy It Now price option so low it had to be a mistake-and a phone number in my area code. It was 7 a.m., too early to call, but I couldn't resist. He answered on the first ring and couldn't believe the ad had already posted-he'd just hit the button. After some questions to break the ice, I cautiously asked if he'd reviewed the ad to ensure that all the information was correct (including the price). He said that he had, so I replied, 'I just accepted your Buy It Now price.'"
The truck, located only 19 miles from Jorv's shop, was a '37 Ford fire truck, complete with hoses and sirens. Like most fire trucks, it had low miles (less than 5,000), and had been stored indoors and carefully maintained. With the exception of the faded original paint-and a small crinkle in the grille shell-it was rust free, dent free, and perfect. The flathead started right up.
Within days, Jorv had the truck completely dismantled. He kept the cab, hood, grille shell, and some of the fire truck stuff, and sold everything else for more than twice what he'd paid. With the '37 in pieces and every painted surface chemically stripped to rust-free sheetmetal, Jorv got busy building. One day, a man and wife rode up on a Harley-Davidson. Dale and Tammie Zahorik had seen the activity through the open doors of Jorv's shop and wanted to check out the hot rods. The resulting friendship between Jorv and Dale (who happens to be a talented welder) is the reason the truck looks like it does today, Jorv admits.
Dale and Jorv worked together to build the box, using stake pockets and a stock tailgate from Mac's Antique Auto Parts. The side panels were extended to cover the 'rails. Pipe was cut in half and welded in place to finish the axle openings on each side and a rear roll pan was added below the tailgate. Jorv and Dale installed the bed floor and Tammie did the finish work on the white oak; the polished stainless strips are from Bruce Horkey's Wood & Parts. The cab and hood have been kept unmodified. The sheetmetal was so pristine, the only work needed (besides filling the radiator neck hole and straightening some grille shell bars) was pre-paint prep. Dan Rhy sprayed the PPG single stage paint. Red 16- and 15-inch steelies with V8 caps and rings from Bob Drake provide contrast to the green and roll on 7.50-16 bias-ply whitewall rears and 165-series front radials from Coker.
The '36 tudor sedan frame has been boxed and beefed up with new mounts and a modified X-member and new rear crossmember. It's shortened in the rear, and extended and formed into the lower grille shell in front. The 4-inch dropped I-beam, front split wishbones, '37 replacement spindles, springs, and Posies shocks are new parts. The rear suspension includes Posies ladder bars and shocks, plus transverse springs. The Granada rearend runs 3.18:1 gears. Brakes are Ford disks and drums.
Bob Brinkman in Menomonie, Wisconsin, used dark-green vinyl to cover the rebuilt fire truck bench seat. Vintage-looking 5-inch gauges from Classic Instruments fill the dash, with a tach on the chrome ididit steering column. The old-style four-spoke wheel came from Jorv's shop. The signal box and tall Lokar shifter complement the theme.
That's no flathead motor, but a '50 F-1 flathead air cleaner was modified for the Edelbrock 4V carb and manifold. The 0.030-over Chevy 350 was built by Dave Steine at Tri Star Engine Supply. Other old-style stuff includes a Delco-Remy "window" distributor (points and coil ignition), and a pair of lakes pipes, scratch-built by Jorv and Dale. The small-block is backed with a Turbo 350 transmission.
After "21/2 years worth of weekends" the former fire truck was finished four days before the Back to the '50's Weekend in St. Paul, where CCT editor John G. spotted it and shot it for this feature. It doesn't get much fresher than that, and the story of Jorv's homebuilt half-ton highboy is just beginning.