People outside our hobby may not recognize Jerry Slover's name, unless they've been around hot rods. But it's likely they've heard of Pete & Jakes Hot Rod Parts. Jerry already owned Ruskin Rod Shop in a Kansas City suburb, when in 1988 he purchased the legendary Pete & Jake's Hot Rod Parts business. Since Pete & Jake's was the Home of the California Kid, (Martin Sheen made his screen debut driving Pete's black 'n' flamed three-window '34 Ford) the coupe along with the mail order parts business was moved from Southern California to Missouri. The famous coupe would be the icing on the cake of a sweet deal for everyone involved.
Being an avid collector, Jerry has purchased a variety of rare and extremely nice bubbletop Chevys, assorted 409s, and other fine rides, without buying the businesses of their previous owners. He now has possession of Jim "Jake" Jacob's yellow coupe of Pete & Jake's fame. But the Jacob's deal cost him ownership of the Deuce truck and it was temporarily sold to a good friend, Alan Cape. What does this have to do with this '32 Ford flatbed truck? In his qualified opinion, this 130-inch wheelbase Deuce truck has the nicest cab, grille, doors, and hood Jerry ever saw on a '32 Ford truck, and this Flatbed remains one of his personal favorites.
In it's stock configuration, the Deuce was purchased by the original owner from a St. Louis dealer in 1932. In 1941, the truck was put to use on a family farm in Marshall, Missouri, where it served faithfully until 1969. Its retirement years were spent parked in a barn, until Jerry purchased it in 1984. At that time, the factory tool pack, owner's manual, and a Montgomery Ward replacement carburetor were included in the deal.
Over the next 11 years, Jerry and his crew at the newly acquired Pete & Jake's Hot Rod Parts refurbished the truck to its current condition. The changes were basically limited to mechanical upgrades and new paint, as the truck was still in very good condition for its age. It was only natural to use Pete & Jake's hot rod components for the resurrected suspension. In front, a Super Bell dropped I-beam axle is located by a Pete & Jake's four-bar and a Posies Super Slide spring. Super Bell spindles mount 15x5.5-inch early Ford wheels stopped by a Super Bell power brake kit. Steering is directed by a Mullins Vega-type steering box that receives input from a '37 Ford Banjo wheel, through a re-sleeved '32 Ford steering column.
Out back, some leaves were removed from the original spring pack, and the front spring hanger was moved to the top of the chassis. This locates a 9-inch Ford rearend from a '68 Ford F-100 with 3.25:1 gears. Air shocks, drum brakes, and an antisway bar complete the rear suspension. A fuel tank from Tanks Incorporated is mounted under the bed. The rear wheels measure 16.5x10 inches and were modified by wheel expert Eric Vaughn.
Beneath the stock hood is a 327ci Chevrolet small-block that includes an Edelbrock intake manifold and carburetor, an ignition system from MSD, and Taylor sparkplug wires. Exhaust exits through Sanderson headers and Turbo mufflers. A stock Turbo 350 tranny is upgraded by a Mr. Gasket Rodware shifter. A Walker radiator easily cools this docile and reliable combination.
With the chassis work completed and the drivetrain in place, a new coat of paint and some new upholstery was all that was still needed. Steve Pierce prepped the cab, front fenders, hood, and yes, the original stake bed and wooden racks. The entire vehicle was painted with DuPont black, by Bruce Curry at Curry's Rod shop.
Bob Bund added the pinstripe that matches the apple-green wheels. Al Bradshaw wired the truck using a Wiremaster kit from Affordable Street Rods. Westach gauges in a Haneline insert were installed in the original dash. A Pioneer stereo provides the tunes while this truck makes one of its cross country jaunts. Bob Sipes stitched the stock front seat in vinyl, keeping true to the Spartan styling of the original truck.
Upon the truck's completion in 1995, Jerry called the farmer who had purchased the truck when it was new, 63 years earlier. The farmer was now 92 years old and quite anxious to see the old truck. It became a multi-generational celebration when his son and grandson accompanied him. The old man grinned excitedly and said that he was most impressed by the fact that his old truck could now cruise easily at 75 mph, faster than he'd ever traveled in this truck.
Perhaps there's a little streak of hot rodder in everyone.
A 327ci Chevrolet small-block...
A 327ci Chevrolet small-block equipped with an intake manifold and carburetor from Edelbrock, ignition system from MSD, and Taylor plug wires, powers the Flatbed. Exhaust exits through Sanderson headers and Turbo mufflers.
Bob Sipes stitched the rebuilt/stock...
Bob Sipes stitched the rebuilt/stock bench seat in cherry tan vinyl, in much the same Spartan styling of the original truck.
A '37 Ford Banjo wheel mounted...
A '37 Ford Banjo wheel mounted on a re-sleeved '32 Ford steering column sends directions to a Mullins Vega-type steering box. Westach Instruments' gauges fill a Haneline panel in the stock dash. Wiring was performed by Al Bradshaw at Affordable Street Rods.
Bob Bund designed and painted...
Bob Bund designed and painted the Flying A graphics for the current owner Alan Cape. But the truck may be back in the Pete & Jakes stable because Jerry Slover says, "This is the straightest '32 Ford 130-inch wheelbase truck. I have never seen a better one."
Wheel expert Eric Vaughn modified...
Wheel expert Eric Vaughn modified the steelies. The front wheels are 15x5.5-inch and the rear wheels are 16.5x10-inch.