If you read my Texas roadtrip story in last month's issue, you'll have seen my '46 Ford roadster pickup, though it hasn't been formally introduced to the Custom Classic Trucks readership yet. So consider this that introduction. Originally a Fordor sedan, it passed through a few of my friends' hands, getting rougher as the years passed, until I laid claim to what was left around 12 years ago. "What was left" consisted of the front sheetmetal, cowl, doors, and B-pillars. Using a '65 F-100 bed and fenders, and inverted rear corners of a VW camper van for the rear cab corners, it became a roadster pickup with Chevy mechanicals, and very definitely a budget beater.

However, the mismatched front and rear fenders always bothered me, and the huge wheel openings in the rear made the front wheels look too small, plus the lips on the rear fenders just looked "wrong." What it needed was a pair of F-1 rear fenders, with swage lines to match the '46 passenger car front fenders, but I liked the way the front and back sections of the F-100 fenders leaned forward in the same way the back edge of the front fenders did, and wasn't madly excited about the big, boxy, and over-long F-1 fenders. So I decided to combine the swage line and rounded wheel opening of the F-1 fenders with my existing F-100 versions.

Now, a word about the "new" sheetmetal I used. I was offered a pair of F-1 fenders for $50 and bought 'em sight unseen. The good news is they weren't rusted out. Well, maybe a little on the tops but I didn't plan on using that part anyway. However, they had seen the wrong side of some bondo magician's palette at some point, but that's nothing a little heat shrinking and body an' hammer work won't sort later. On the plus side, the wire-rolled edges were perfect.

The easiest method of adding the new fender lips would be to cut out the unwanted F-100 metal and weld the new opening on over the top, either with a swaged step in the steel or simply a lap joint, but I wanted to butt-weld the seam, not only to avoid rust issues later as moisture would be able to get between the layers of steel, but also so I would be able to work the join with a hammer and dolly to get the reshaped fender as straight as possible and use a minimum of body filler. There are various ways to hold the metal while butt-welding, and a number of specialist tools to help, but ever the cheapskate, I used nothing more extravagant than a couple of clamps, a C-clamp, and some self-drilling screws. Now, let's cut to the chase and fit those puppies. Or fit one side at least. Yeah, I'm currently driving around with only one side done.

Miller Electric
Harbor Freight
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