Ed Day lives in Valdez, Alaska, and his experience with a historic rod began around 1978. A man who also lived in the area was vacationing in Hawaii and found the finished truck in the islands. He bought it and had it shipped back to Alaska.
Apparently, he did drive it for a while, lunching the motor in the process, then lost interest and left it out in the frozen winter of the North. Come the spring thaw, he decided to repair the damage to the engine, only to end up smashing the front fender and radiator while trying to plow the carcass out of a snow bank. Once again, the poor truck was relegated to the side lines. Later in the spring, after the snow had receded, the whole pickup could finally be seen. Ed's stepfather bought the poor remains and dragged it home to help form Ed's automotive education.
Imagine getting a project like this one to work on when you were in high school. Ed toiled away, repairing the body damage, and managed to rebuild the engine. Time, and too many stoplight excursions, finally took a toll on Ed's engine rebuild, and the tired old 327 Chevy had another disastrous seizure.
Ed moved to the eastern side of the state of Washington in 1985, hauling the Model A pickup with him. Another hiatus of 10 years went by, and the truck sat in a friend's garage in Wenatchee, along with an old Corvette. Alaska called Ed home during that time. It was the fall of 1995, and the decision had to be made between the A and the Vette, since Ed could only afford to ship one back home. The Ford was the choice, as it had been with Ed since he was a just a lad, and it was, indeed, part of the family.
Ed started to rebuild the car off and on again for another 10 years, until he realized it wasn't going to happen in his hands. Shopping around for a builder who would take on a project like this one, Ed ran across Street Rodder on the Web, and noticed an ad for Steve's Auto Restorations. A deal was struck, and the truck headed south once again, only this time to Portland, Oregon, for a serious redo.
Tightly tucked away under...
Tightly tucked away under the Rootlieb Model A Ford hood is the owner-built 327ci Chevy topped by a Demon carb on an Edelbrock Performer intake and MSD ignition.
What SAR received was a rolling vehicle that was conceived in the 1970s and needed serious TLC. It already had a Heidt's IFS and Jag rear that would work in concert with one another when they got sorted out. The old hot rod from the North was blown apart, with crossmembers, brackets, and suspension assemblies being redone to SAR's exacting specs. Aldan shocks and Wilwood brakes, along with a Vette master cylinder and Heidt's steering box, round out the chassis mods. Ed's original 327 Chevy small-block, that he had built years before, is still under the Rootlieb hood, sporting a Barry Grant Demon carb on an Edelbrock Performer manifold. Ed also supplied the TH350 tranny, shifted by Lokar, that connects to the Jag rear with a steel driveshaft custom-made by Driveline Service of Portland.
SAR shortened the bed, and...
SAR shortened the bed, and a wood inlay was crafted to bring a color contrast to the working part of the A.
After the many years of banging around in garages, and on the Alcan Highway, the body was in some serious hurt. The guys at SAR soon took care of that. After smoothing all the body panels, they made a steel top for the roof, added a '30-31 Model A visor, and shortened the bed. Now ready to apply the paint, the guys came up with a variation of a color they have used to great satisfaction on other projects. House of Kolor supplied the Candy Apple Red, and the SAR team worked with different primers and sub-coats to create a classy color for the pickup.
The truck then went just a few miles to the shop of stitcher Jeff Martin, where the truck's look was completed. Jeff very nicely filled the cab with saddle-tan leather, and square-weave carpet to match. The stock dash was upgraded with a SO-CAL dash insert filled with beautiful Classic Instruments gauges. A SAR-installed wiring unit, supplied by Centech, brings the juice to the truck, while a Billet Specialties steering wheel points the finished old Ford pickup down the road, on American Torq-Thrust wheels and Dunlop tires.
Something worth mentioning is that the SAR team often adds a heater to certain builds, and Ed's Alaskan street rod was no exception, for obvious reasons. SAR owner Steve Frisbie finds the heaters on the Net and then saves them for future projects. They are works of art on their own, and with new motors, paint, and chrome, make way-cool additions to classic street rods.
When Ed finally took home his pride and joy of so many years, it was with the knowledge that his high school work and perseverance paid off. It took a few years, but in the end, it was worth it to have the nicest pickup truck in Alaska.
The leather interior by Jeff...
The leather interior by Jeff Martin puts this Ford pickup in a class by itself. A full set of Classic Instruments gauges rests nicely in the modified original dash, accompanied by an ididit steering column with a Billet Specialties wheel.
Reminiscent of the 1970s,...
Reminiscent of the 1970s, the Jag IRS is still both functional and good-looking.