The Mulvihills of Hackettstown, New Jersey, know about trucks. They're in the freight-hauling business and own a fleet of modern Peterbilt trucks. While Ford pickups have never shied away from a hard day's work, Karen's black '40 Ford with flames has seen its last load of dirt or hay. The newstalgia-styled pickup is now retired to the task of hauling Karen and Bob to rod runs and local cruise nights.
CCT editors ran across the Mulvihills in Columbus, Ohio, at the Goodguys Nationals, where they were enjoying the show and sharing the company of builder, Dale Behre of Dale's Custom Auto. Dale explained that this was no fussy rebuild, just a light once-over to create a clean and reliable driver out of a solid old Ford truck. Still, there are a number of neat details and an overall look that catches a good deal of attention on the fairgrounds or in the host hotel parking lot.
Hot Rod magazine's Senior Editor Gray Baskerville coined the term newstalgia to describe the fresh crop of rides that appear as if they were built decades ago. The red steelies and whitewalls are obviously a wheel and tire look from the '40s and '50s, long before there were custom wheels and radial tires of every imaginable size. The red and black tuck-'n'-roll interior is also a vintage look that has continuity with the rest of the mechanics of several decades past.
Under the hood is a refreshed 327ci Chevy engine with the proper period finned valve covers and carb covers. It's even hooked to the Powerglide transmission of '50s and '60s technology. All these affordable Chevy elements have proven reliability and performance -- that's why we find them in vintage Fords.
There's another vintage witticism that goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's a euphemism for leave well enough alone. The Mulvihills have adopted a similar philosophy for the reconstruction of their fabulous flamed '40. It's one way to travel back to a time in America when life was simple and a truck was a reliable member of the family. It was even possible to repair trucks like this in your backyard.
In addition, you could take your best girl to find a little light entertainment at the drive-in movies on a Saturday night. Haul in the good times! CCT