We caught ourselves about to describe Bobby Green’s hot rods as “traditional,” then realized that the term is so overused that all meaning has been squeezed out of it. So instead, let’s just say that everything he builds at Old Crow Speed Shop, in Burbank, California—whether it’s a Model A roadster, a ’54 Ford custom, a ’40s-era Sprint car, or a land speed four-banger belly tanker, to name a few past and ongoing projects—has the period-correct appearance of an authentic hot rod or custom. Beyond appearance, his projects typically are built from existing parts—there’s not much brand-new stuff on any of Bobby Green’s rides. And beyond appearance and parts, he builds his cars and trucks using the old-time hot rodder technique of relying on friends. Many “owner-built” rods from the old days were actually group efforts by car clubs. In that same way, this ’49 Studebaker pickup was built by Bobby, with help from people he knows, including Logan Davis, Kuke Dichurchio, and Bobby’s fellow members in Them! car club. “It got passed around a bunch to different people to get a little work done here and there,” he told us. Beyond all of that, Bobby’s projects are built to be driven. We’ve seen many of his cars and trucks, including the Stude, at some big-time shows, but Bobby considers a thumbs-up from someone on the street to be better than any trophy.
“In the ’90s, when I was in my twenties and hanging around the Hollywood bar and club scene, my fellow night-lifer was Von Franco, who drove a ’49 or ’50 Studebaker truck, Bobby told us. “I would see it bombing around the streets of Los Angeles and I always thought it was the best-looking ’50s truck ever designed. It was round and bubbly, but smooth, and it looked chopped from the factory. I knew back then that I wanted to build one someday.” Studebaker’s pickups, designed for ’49 by Robert Bourke, were ahead of their time. In addition to the chopped and dropped appearance, the squared-up steel bedbox and the elimination of running boards were surprisingly modern for their day.
Bobby’s longtime plan to build one turned into a genuine project eight or nine years ago when he finally found a good rust-free 2R5 half-ton. He defines the style theme as “mild custom with attention to detail.” If that means lots of well-done, low-key, tasteful modifications, then mission accomplished.
“A very mild 3-inch chop was the first step in the journey. I had an extra roof from another truck to aid in all the extra pieces of sheetmetal needed to chop this truck.” The slicing took place at Fine Lines Auto Body, in Venice, California, and the result looks great. Bobby and Logan Davis, from Milestone Hot Rods, who shares his devotion to early period hot rods, completed the rest of the bodywork.
The factory sheetmetal ornaments on these Studebakers is pretty simple—basically just a hood ornament and emblems, which were smoothed on Bobby’s truck. The grille and handles were kept and the one-piece glass added to the doors. Hollywood Hot Rods, next door to Old Crow, installed power window controls. The bed was smoothed and filled at Old Crow. Bobby built a custom roll pan to finish the rear. He wanted a light color for the massive lines; the distinctive metallic blue is from PPG, sprayed by Jerry Armstrong. The rear of the cab and the engine compartment were shot in complementing white.
Underneath it all, the stock framerails were reinforced with extra boxing and crossmembers, and a Plymouth Volare frontend. The Volare clip, it turns out, is the same width as the framerails, and provides the benefit of torsion bars, power steering, and disc brakes. Logan Davis brought his expertise to the rearend, stiffened with torsion bars and located by a Panhard bar. Airbags and leaf springs on raised perches lower the truck and allow Bobby to adjust the suspension when towing. That’s right, towing. You didn’t think that hitch was just decoration, did you?
The Studebaker’s lack of running...
The Studebaker’s lack of running boards and round, rolling, sled-like lines were begging for lake pipes.
The three vertical ribs in...
The three vertical ribs in the scratchbuilt tailgate are a design element carried over onto the ’30s-era Dodge taillights and the modified ’49 Plymouth bumpers. It took four Plymouth bumpers to build the front and rear bumpers for the truck.
The chrome air cleaner on...
The chrome air cleaner on top of the Chevy small-block reflects the clean, white finish of the engine compartment.