It’s one thing when a guy says he’s been interested in old trucks since he was kid, and yet entirely another when a kid tells you he’s actually customized a classic truck. Our case in point is 18-year-old Jason Rosenblum of Farmingdale, New Jersey, and his ’41 Chevy pickup. It all started when Jason was 11 years old and his parents gave him the okay to get on eBay and dig something up. Jason’s dad, Barry Rosenblum, recognized at a very early age Jason was displaying a lot of the advanced mechanical tendencies his grandfather had. With his parents backing, it didn’t take Jason long to find the ’41 for sale in Iowa for $1,500 and arrange to have it shipped to New Jersey. For the first few years, Jason tinkered with the ’41 by sanding on rust holes and cleaning off the cobwebs acquired by sitting in a barn all those years, but admitted it was pretty overwhelming. Then around the time Jason entered high school, Barry asked Joe Baird of Shelbyville, Indiana, to enter the picture. Before Joe took on the job, he spoke with Jason a little bit and recognized the kid really had a keen interest in this stuff. Joe’s shop, Joe Baird Antique Cycles & Racecars, is located in the 183,000 square-foot building Joe bought from Jason’s grandfather. Before Jason’s grandfather used the massive warehouse to manufacture kitchen cabinets under the name Excel Wood Products, it was used by Admiral to produce radio and television sets.
Each summer Jason would show up and Joe mentored the kid, providing him with a rare opportunity to learn skills the bulk of his generation will never know existed. They started with the stock ’41 frame and installed a Total Cost Involved 4-inch-dropped Mustang II-style clip with Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering. To strengthen the ’41 rails to handle a V-8 transplant, the ’rails were boxed and eventually the frame ended up painted to match the truck’s body. A ’40 Ford gas tank from Bob Drake handles fuel storage with access from inside the bed. For rear suspension, Joe custom-fabbed a four-link and installed a Panhard bar to keep it located. RideTech ShockWaves hang off the Ford 9-inch rearend packed with 3.50:1 gears. For tires and wheels, the ’41 rolls on Michelin Pilot tires stuffed into 17-inch Budniks at fore, and 19-inch Budniks at aft. A chrome-plated Covette master cylinder, and brake booster punch DOT 4 brake fluid through a Ford proportioning valve thanks to a ’66 Pontiac brake pedal assembly. Directional changes are handled via a Flaming River steering column topped with a Flaming River shrunken vintage Corvette steering wheel. The dashboard was plucked out of a ’59 Chevy Impala and fitted with digital gauges readily available from Dakota Digital. The sound system features Pioneer products and the seatbelts are from Juliano’s.
For upholstery, the truck was shipped down to Joe’s old stomping grounds in Louisville, Kentucky, where Larry Sneed stitched red leather over a pair of Lincoln Navigator buckets and Ultrasuede in the overhead console. A Lokar shifter is used for gear-changing the ’41’s 4L60E transmission managed by a TCI control module. Under the hood sits a 6L 2006 Chevrolet truck motor pulled from a rollover with only 10,000 miles on the clock. To rid the LS1 of its octopus eating an air-conditioner appearance, the stock fuel injection was pitched in favor of an Edelbrock Performer LS1 kit. The Edelbrock four-barrel carb and manifold LS1 kit is a really clean retrofit solution without losing much horsepower on the top end.