There are many ways to start a new street rod project (buying a half-finished ride from someone else, ordering a new 'glass or steel body and chassis from a manufacturer, etc.). But perhaps the best way to get started is to find an original, 80-year-old car and then perform some hot rod magic on it.
Though some folks may scream about taking another factory-correct vehicle off the road and cutting it up, when it comes to the Model A Ford, of which literally millions were manufactured, it would be a hard argument to make.
Even when it comes specifically to the Model A truck, with some estimates putting the production run of trucks in 1929 at over 1.5 million units (which includes every model, including the panel delivery and the roadster pickups), you'd be hard pressed to feel bad about a stocker being converted and going the way of its hot rod brethren.
But Ricky Tedesco, of White Plains, New York, hadn't ever really considered having a Model A truck in his garage. Instead, after buying a '53 Yeoman wagon from Boyd Coddington several years ago, he was introduced to Coddington's inner circle of friends, which included Tennessee's Bobby Alloway of Alloway's Hot Rod Shop. As it happened, Ricky was interested in having Alloway do a high-end build on a '53 F-100-a project complex enough that it would take a few years to complete. As that project moved forward, Ricky thought during the interim he'd buy a small truck that maybe his 16-year-old daughter, Nicole, could drive around town.
Ricky ended up purchasing a nice '31 A truck from his friend, Walter Puff. Painted green with black fenders, the old Ford still had its tiny four-banger engine in place. When Nicole took her dad out for a drive, the 40-horse engine could barely get the pickup down the street without creating a fear of being hit for its new owners, so Ricky decided Alloway should do a quick redo on it while his F-100 gets finished. "A quick in-and-out job. Just something to drive."
But when you take a car to Alloway's you should expect a few things. One, he isn't going to cut corners or build something in a style he really isn't interested in doing (after all, his name will be associated with the truck). Two, it'll turn out better and look nicer than you could have hoped for.
Cleaning up the industrial lines of a Model A truck took some doing. The spare tire (and its requisite well in the driver's front fender) was removed, and the doors made to fit flush (not an easy job), but the rest of the body, with its stock windshield visor and without its top chopped, looks fairly "factory" in appearance.
Alloway's made a new chassis so the frame would extend under the bed all the way to the tailgate (with stockers the frame ends just over the rearend) and a Super Bell/Pete & Jakes front suspension system (including the axle, coilover shocks, four-bar setup) was installed along with a Pete & Jakes rear four-bar and coilovers out back. At this time the stock saddle bag gas tanks were replaced with a Rock Valley gas tank.
Much better than the stock...
Much better than the stock Model A four-banger that was in it when he got it, the 350 Chevy crate engine delivers both power and dependability. Mylon Keasler reassembled the engine after adding a camshaft he ground to spec. Other components include a Steve Long radiator, MSD and Taylor ignition parts, a Powermaster alternator, Sanderson headers, and an A/C compressor from Vintage Air.
When it came to rollers, Ricky had his own ideas, but Alloway also had some thoughts on the subject. Artist Eric Brockmeyer was enlisted to pen a conceptual drawing of what the truck might look like when it was finished. When Brockmeyer asked Alloway what kind of wheels he should draw, Alloway suggested using a set of 15x6 and 17x8 Dayton wire wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber. What's more, Alloway wanted to see the wheel hoops in the color of the cab and the spokes the same shade as the fenders. That concept required a little more salesmanship on Alloway's part, as Ricky wasn't excited about the wire wheel look, but he was willing to go along with the idea for the mean time.
With Alloway being well known for stuffing big-blocks into most of the cars he builds, Ricky must have done some sales work on his own, too, in getting Alloway to agree to install a Chevy 350 crate motor in his pickup. But at least it isn't stock: Myron Keasler ground a custom camshaft for the truck before assembling the small-block with a set of Vortec heads and flat-top pistons. MSD and Taylor ignition products provide the fire while a Steve Long radiator and Sanderson headers help keep everything running cool. The TH350 trans was then reworked with some B&M performance products before being installed with a long Lokar floor shifter (reminiscent of the stock Model A's shifter).
After the bodywork was completed and the Rootlieb four-piece reproduction hood installed, Scotty Troutman followed the original paint scheme on the truck, using DuPont Jet Black on the fenders and British Racing Green on the cab and bed.
At this point the inside of the truck became the responsibility of Steve Holcomb who was tapped for his talent with upholstery. Holcomb covered the entire interior with Dynamat insulation before stitching up a tan leather and tan wool carpet combo. Up on the dash a Billet Specialties aluminum gauge panel houses a set of Classic Instrument gauges (whose faces were color-matched to the truck's exterior) and a Lecarra steering wheel (made to look like a '40 Ford wheel) is attached to a subtle ididit column. With a little bit of wiring from Alloways and after hooking up the Vintage Air climate control system, Ricky was ready to take his truck and roll on down the road with it.
Though he hasn't owned it for very long, he's already grown attached to the little truck, as has his wife, Lisa, and their daughter, who can now keep up with traffic on the interstate while profiling in a very cool Model A pickup.
Green with black fenders is...
Green with black fenders is the way the Model A was originally painted, so that's the way it was done on this redo. Alloway's Hot Rod Shop did the bodywork before Scotty Troutman painted everything DuPont Jet Black and British Racing Green.
The steering wheel came from...
The steering wheel came from Lecarra and the column is from ididit. The tall shifter mimics the stock Model A unit, but is a Lokar item that controls the B&M-equipped TH350 trans.
Pretty nice innards for a...
Pretty nice innards for a pickup, huh? The idea was to keep the truck looking stock, but nicely appointed.
Steve Holcomb expertly stitched...
Steve Holcomb expertly stitched up the tan leather and wool carpet for Ricky's truck while up on the dash a custom set of green-face Classic Instrument gauges fit to a Billet Specialties aluminum insert.
Ricky saw how nice the Dayton...
Ricky saw how nice the Dayton wire wheels looked on Van Tyler's coupe (another Alloway creation) but wasn't sure if they'd look right on his truck. Now that he's had the chance to drive it around and get used to them, Ricky says he loves the 15x6 and 17x8 wires wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber.