Glenn Kramer, an upholsterer by trade, earned a solid reputation as the go-to guy for hot rod interiors in the Pacific Northwest. When he moved to Phoenix, Arizona, he plied his considerable talents at a few local shops and soon became a regular at local cruise nights. Known for his quick wit and his encyclopedia of one-liners, Glenn keeps his friends in stitches (pun intended). Side jobs are now his fulltime work: Glenn's Hot Rod Interiors shop in Glendale, Arizona, maintains a long waiting list of both new and repeat customers.
Spending all his time on customer projects left none to build a new rod. That left only one option; he purchased a very sanitary '30-31 Ford highboy. The refrigerator-white roadster soon sported a new wild flame job and, of course, a fresh interior. Glenn and his wife Karen racked up thousands of miles on the odometer.
In December of 2007 Glenn figured it was time to build a new shop truck and the roadster found a new home in Canada. A '32 pickup cab and a Model A bed soon sat in the spot once occupied by the roadster.
Since wood is the foundation of most upholstery jobs, Glenn fabricated a frame from 2x4 lumber, pie-cutting the wood to create a 131/2-inch rear and 91/2-inch front kick-ups, while the framerails taper slightly from the cowl to a front crossmember. Glenn cut wheel blanks from marine plywood using a predetermined tire height, and then set everything up with the body and bed resting on the wooden frame.
Building a hot rod is not all about using a tape measure. Kramer spent a good amount of time just looking at the pickup from across the shop, moving this and adjusting that until the proportions looked just right. When he was satisfied with the look, he had Dave and Doug at Sweet Components in Glendale, Arizona, duplicate the wooden mockup in 2x4 steel.
With the exception of the tubular front crossmember and a couple "C" notches for spring and axle travel, the entire frame was constructed from square tubing. It's a clean, straightforward approach that's so simple it's brilliant, a perfect example of form following function. It all rolls on 15-inch steelies with whitewalls, a Super Bell 4-inch dropped tube axle, '32 Ford Spring with P&J shorty shocks and a Ford 9-inch rear.
The spice and ivory leather...
The spice and ivory leather with tan gold loop pile carpet hints at why Glenn's part time work became a full-time business.
Between the front 'rails is a 305/350 Chevy combination. Vintage dress-up accoutrements include stock, painted 283 valve covers, an Offenhauser 3x2 manifold with Rochester 2G carbs, and a 283 distributor case that hides Pertronix internals. The ram's-horn exhaust manifolds are ground smooth and coated in VHT.
The relatively decent pickup body and tattered '31 Ford pickup box were the next tasks. The bottoms of the doors were rusted beyond repair, so Glenn added new patch panels to the bottom of the doors. To gain extra legroom, he also took a stock 1931 Ford sedan firewall and spread the outer edges to fit the '32 cowl. This clever bit of engineering leaves many scratching their heads.
The bed spent decades as someone's utility trailer and therefore every panel needed attention. Glenn scratch-built splash aprons to cover the rear framerails (they taper to the rear, so the bed doesn't look like it's just hanging off the frame).
Finishing touches were provided by Glen Bolz and crew, who sprayed PPG tint black with flattener and a satin clear coat, a perfect finish for any shop truck.
A '33 commercial shell covers the custom-built radiator. A pair of '34 commercial headlights and a V-8 tagged headlight bar provides the perfect old school looks with just the right amount of bling. Outback, '33-36 taillights and a nerf bar continue the traditional theme. Rob Olin Designs created the sign work on the doors for Glenn's Hot Rod Interiors with tasty graphics and just the right amount of tan and white pinstripes.