Like other builders, Rob will bring in a ringer now and then for certain chores. After a thorough abrasive blasting, the cab and doors were sealed in cellophane for a rainy day trailer ride to a place where gappin’ happens; Gopher Grove Garage (an underground operation) in Valley Center, California. What’s the first thing most of us zero in on when scrutinizing bodywork on any elderly vehicle? We go for the gaps, don’t we? And when we see an ol’ commercial vehicle that fits well, we know it didn’t come that way from the assembly line. Nope, somebody worked for that. As dictated by heightened standards, cutting, welding, and grinding are now considered standard procedure for gittin’ the gaps you see here. After a series of surgeries which included some panel patchin’ in the usual places, ironing out the wrinkled roof and tightening up the oil-canning rear cab panel, the once-warped cab and doors were one; fit, faired and in primer, as together they reassumed their positions on the newly completed chassis for a fair weather trailer ride home to Rob’s garage.
As Rob proceeded with the bulk of the build, another ringer was recruited for bodywork on remaining panels such as fenders, hood, running boards and more. The list could go on and on, even the repop bed assembly needed attention. Mikey Rhodes of La Mirada, California, picked up the pieces and saw the job through, from pounding to painting, to polishing the fresh Dupont topcoats in Ford Estate Green. The color is complemented by green tinted glass by Pete’s Auto Glass in Santa Fe Springs, California, and interior trim in light brown leather tuck ‘n’ roll with upholstered door trim panels and a wool headliner was stitched by “Rich and Famous” of Van Nuys, California. Rounding out the cab’s interior is instrumentation from a ’37 Ford passenger car, rebuilt by Speedo-Check in Whittier, California.
Back on the subject of ringers: Rob doesn’t rely on many, but after wiring and final assembly were completed in his garage, a trip to Ed Martin Garage in Riverside, California, was in order. There our friend, Guardrail Willie Martin tuned the engine and applied his expertise to the ol’ pickup’s new Vintage Air setup, which works together with a three-row recore radiator to keep the cool factor flowing throughout, thanks to La Habra Radiator, in La Habra, California.
Although the details of its past are sketchy, there were signs from the very beginning that this ol’ pickup has spent a good number of its years with hot rodders. Now as agreed upon, it’s with the Harris family of hot rodders to stay. It’s been four years now since the project began, and at its 2011 Grand National Roadster Show public debut, the one-time ugly truckling (yes, a ’39!) managed a First Place victory in its class.
Beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder, but Bob sums it up best, “I couldn’t be happier with the way the truck turned out, Rob seems to have a good eye for detail and quality; he really made me proud. I know he is happy with the way it turned out, and I bet he’s even happier to have his garage back!” CCT