Picture a roulette wheel spinning at full revolution, with all eyes watching in a Vegas casino. Round and round it goes, where it will stop nobody knows! Much like a search for vintage tin taking place anywhere across the country, as hot rodders are always on the prowl for stock from which to build their next dream, you never know what that next phone call will yield. Whether you are going by word of mouth, the local newspaper, want-ads, or eBay, you never know what might be languishing in a dark garage when you make that follow-up call to go and check out just what is being put up for sale. Sure, sometimes that visit is a total waste of time when the stuff being offered up is misrepresented or just plain bad, but every once in a while that ball on the roulette wheel stops in just the right spot, yielding a total score.
Jim Gove of Natick, Massachusetts, is no stranger to the hunt for vintage tin. As a member of the Alter Boys, regular readers will recall his definitive hardcore Caddy-powered '30 Ford roadster. With its iconic sectioned '39 Ford truck grille, heavily chopped windshield, and channeled good looks, it helped set the pace for the East Coast scene countless years ago. For his next project, Jim decided it was time for a change of pace, and he started seeking out the parts to start work on a pickup truck project. Following up on a small listing in the local want ads, Jim came across what was left of an old hot-rodded, channeled Deuce hauler. Resting on a '34 spine that obviously had seen quite a bit of action over the years, it was now a picked-over hulk that had been left for dead. A deal was struck, and Jim towed the remnants home, where he started to examine his latest find with fellow club member Pete Flaven, before tearing it down for the rebuild. At first glance, it was apparent that this truck had run numerous engine combinations over the years and that its hard life only added to the mystery of its past.
Subtle updates include the Guide 682-C headlights and the obligatory car club plaque-or sh
It wasn't long before the truck was in pieces and Jim started to map out its rebirth, beginning with a freshening-up of its original '34 chassis. The chassis was boxed for added strength, while the front suspension chores started with an original dropped Ford axle mated to '40 Ford spindles and a stock wishbone. An original front spring and Ford hydraulic lever shocks even out all the bumps. Out back, Jim installed a rebuilt '41 Ford rear, which was filled with 3.78:1 gears cushioned by an original factory spring and new tube shocks. To be sure he could stop the truck on a dime, a complete rebuilt set of '48 Ford drums was installed, watched over by a dual master cylinder and '39 Ford pedals. The final icing on the chassis included a set of 16-inch steelies wrapped in a set of big 'n' little Firestone wide whites. With any scratch buildup, the owner's personality always infuses itself in determining which route to take when it comes to attitude. Nothing says hot rod better than an evil V-8 bolted in between the rails, and Jim decided nothing would look better than a vintage '53 Chrysler Hemi. After locating a suitable engine to start with, he had Frank Lamb of Gorham, Maine, punch it out to 338 ci and fill it with plenty of beefy parts to make it a true performer. Anchored by a steel crank, Frank added stock rods and Badger slugs, which get plenty of work, thanks to an Isky stick and a set of reworked heads. Topping off the engine is a rare polished Edmunds two-pot intake breathing through a pair of Carter carbs wearing helmet-style air cleaners. Linked to a '39 Ford transmission by way of a vintage Cragar adapter, power makes its way to the '41 Ford rear with a '34 Ford torque tube.
An original dropped Ford axle mated to '40 Ford spindles and a stock wishbone are used, al
As the project moved forward, Jim's initial intent of having a gritty primered pickup gave way to adding plenty of detail to the truck, with loads of attention being paid to each and every step. Closer inspection to a number of unique characteristics the truck possessed-including its square rollbar, its pushbar bumper mounts, its steering arm, and countless holes in the roof-continued to raise question of the truck's past. A closer look in the East Coast's most noteworthy history book, Cool Cars, Square Roll Bars, by Arnie and Bernie Shuman, proved Jim indeed possessed a truck that had seen time racing in the 1950s at both dragstrips in Orange, Massachusetts, and Sanford, Maine, as well as seeing duty as a push vehicle for stock cars at Riverside Speedway. Further assistance from another good friend, Roger Bergquist, provided additional backup, with other vintage photos and magazine snippets from back in the day, that Jim indeed now owned Norm Card's old racer.
Patience prepping the body to achieve a smoother-than-glass surface paid off big time when
When it came time to tend to the body and bed of the truck, Jim opted to retain the original 6-inch channel that was put in place by Norm, in addition to chopping the lid 4 inch to give the truck an aggressive look. While ironing out the rest of the body to erase 70-plus years of abuse, Jim added new bead-rolled floors, custom-made rear cab corners, and a custom-fab'd rear cab panel to clear the dramatic channel job. Once all the metalwork was completed, Jim took everything straight to the paint booth, where he laid down lustrous coats of DuPont Washington Blue gloss, giving the truck a true nostalgic look. To add the final bit of detailing to the fresh new shine, Hotrod Jen was called in to lay down some of her well-known fine lines to the truck's '32 Ford commercial grille shell.
Wanting to be sure that the bed was as well-detailed as the rest of the truck, Jim worked with his dad, Steve, on the custom-cut red oak flooring, which they accented with just enough polished stainless steel. Looking to the interior of the truck, Jim wanted to retain a clean and simple look that would properly echo the truck's past, so he reupholstered a simple bench seat with black vinyl accented by gray vinyl door and kick panels. He retained the original dashboard of unknown origin to keep track of all the vitals, along with its polished aluminum insert filled with a combination of '50 Plymouth and Stewart Warner gauges; a classic old heater fends off the cold New England mornings.
This truck is truly one to see in person, with is signature East Coast styling and past heritage riding on its rails. Jim has already driven it thousands of trouble-free miles, including numerous reliability runs, and to us, that's just plain bitchin'!
Frank Lamb assembled a Hemi jam-packed with all the right goods, including Badger pistons,
Jim filled the interior with a basic black vinyl bench complemented by gray side panels. S