In Escondido, California, Hot Rods & Custom Stuff proprietor Randy Clark has enjoyed a long, prolific run as a builder of hot rods, customs, classics, and of course custom classic trucks. The building and maintenance of customer projects is done for deep-seated sentimental reasons at times. That said, there is no stronger, more sentimental example than Randy’s own father’s ’41 Ford pickup. Truth be told, this truck is really a clone of its predecessor, which Randy’s father, Paul W. Clark, used as his daily driver from 1950 to 1970. As Randy vividly recalls, “It was red with yellow wheels and it would go 90 mph in second gear. It had a hot rod flathead with Lincoln Zephyr gears. It was dad’s truck and I was ridin’ shotgun as often as possible. That truck inspired my love for all cars.”
As the story goes, in 1970 the first ’41 was retired and relegated to an outdoor resting place at the Clark family ranch where it sadly deteriorated over time. The clone seen here has a history with the Clarks as well, having been rebuilt end to end, twice during its own term of service, which began in 1977.
Even in its current incarnation, the pickup’s frame remains essentially stock, only this time re-riveted as necessary by Randy. Suspension up front consists of a dropped Ford axle, Durant monoleaf spring and Bilstein shocks to tame the savage streets of Escondido. Bringing up the rear is a stock ’41 Ford banjo rearend and radius rods, also suspended by a Durant monoleaf spring and Bilsteins, while Wilson Welding Lincoln-style backing plates and stock Ford drums provide an adequate whoa-to-go ratio for a 59A mill (the one the truck was born with), all hopped up by H&H Flatheads of La Crescenta, California. Backing H&H’s powerful package is a stock, column-shifted ’41 three-speed “standard” transmission, last rebuilt at HR&CS by Jim Sheridan.
Because this is, after all, a tale best told by someone who’d been there and done that, let us now turn the storytellin’ over to Randy.
“At age 51 Dad was diagnosed with cancer, and the prognosis wasn’t good. He struggled through two or three years of operations and radiation. One day while visiting with my dad at his ranch, he mentioned that he wished his old ’41 pickup was running ’cause he really missed driving it.
Aside from deletion of the stock spare tire hanger and the leaded-in-rear cab seam, there are no body modifications to speak of. The deep reflections in the PPG topcoats all but speak for themselves as the fit and finish throughout is nothing short of superb.
“Dad had never before asked, nor even hinted that he wished to have his ’41 running again. I called my brother and we hatched a plan to find a ’41 Ford pickup and restore it for our dad. A Christmas present it was to be! The problem was; it was the middle of August. We located one in Chino, California, went and got it, and the race was on to get it rebuilt and roadworthy with only four months ’til Christmas.
“My friend, Bob Goff offered to help. We tore the truck apart and rebuilt the brakes, suspension, trans and radiator—all of the mechanical stuff to make it safe. Pretty would come later!
On Randy’s request, the crackly...
On Randy’s request, the crackly block of the pickup’s original 59A was salvaged. A stock crank and .060-over pistons now add up to 247 cubic inches. The camshaft of choice carries a .355-lift and 274-degree duration, which further benefits from adjustable lifters. Intake is Thickstun and exhaust begins with Fenton.
As a fitting tribute, the...
As a fitting tribute, the ’70s-vintage, personalized California license plate continues to bear the initials of Paul W. Clark.
The pickup rolls on painted...
The pickup rolls on painted steelies—a combination of original 16x4 1/2 and Wheel Vintiques 16x6, manually mounted with Firestone bias-ply rubber from Coker Tire.
A peek inside the cab reveals...
A peek inside the cab reveals utilitarian interior trim—a HR&CS inside job, stitched up in black and brown “cheaper-than-wool” Naugahyde.
“At that time, my shop was not real busy, so we were able to give the old ’41 lots of attention and everyone helped. Dad was told we were doing the job for a customer and the customer was in a big hurry. Every time dad stopped by the shop, he’d say, ‘You should tell the truck’s owner to do this or do that.’ We would tell dad that we’d tell the owner and then do it. After the truck was painted all maroon, dad stopped by and said we should have talked the owner into painting the fenders black. He drove off and we started sanding all four freshly painted fenders to repaint them black, hoping not to hear about many more changes as the clock was ticking.
“We finished the truck at 11:30 on Christmas Eve and drove it to the folks’ ranch. Then we left to get some sleep before going back at 8:00 on Christmas morning for breakfast and gifts. Out front sat the surprise with a big red bow on the roof, and one very surprised man got the ’41 pickup he had mentioned four months earlier.
The truck’s stock dash proudly displays N.O.S. original instrumentation. The speedometer, however, is a rare deluxe accessory—its multifunctional (fallen) needle now doubles as a gravity indicator.
“Needless to say, he enjoyed the day, the truck, and the great surprise of December 25, 1977. Five months later, my dad died. I put his truck away at the ranch and never touched it until my wife Peaches said to me in 2006, ‘Your dad would be very disappointed.’ This got me to thinking. Within the next week I cleaned out the rat nest, pressure washed the truck and took it to town to our shop where we redid the complete job over the next two years. It was completed for Father’s Day of 2008, some 30 years after Dad passed.
“I am sure he knows we got it done. This team effort was completed with a lot of help from my great crew at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff. Everyone: Robert Prayther, Jim Sheridan, Robert Del Rio and many, many more are to be thanked many times over. I keep it at home and drive it every chance I get. I look through the same glass, open and close the doors with the same handles and sit on the same seat that my dad and I did over 30 years ago. A lot of time has passed—my memories never will.”
At first glance one can’t...
At first glance one can’t help but notice the over-the-top-quality brightwork by Escondido Plating. Just out of view behind the Bob Drake grille, a Walker radiator and CCI electric fan collaborate to keep the hot flathead runnin’ cool.
During the course of its most...
During the course of its most recent build, some timesaving reproduction parts were employed. Although this pickup’s bed and tailgate are brand-new steel, a final smoothing was required of the body crew at HR&CS.