When Aaron Blatter set out to build a traditional hot rod he had one rule in mind: It had to be practical. "I wanted to build something that was practical, something I could drive every day but make different in a good way," the 29-year-old achinist from Ashland, Ohio, states. From the subtle details on the exterior of the truck to the unique marine intake he chose, it is apparent he accomplished his goal.
Here's the Bob Drake halogen...
Here's the Bob Drake halogen headlights on a SO-CAL dropped and narrowed headlight bar and Magnum Axle 5-inch drop drilled and filled I-beam with Wilson Welding '40 Ford spindles and Durant super low springs. The shocks are Pete & Jakes chrome hooded F-1 style.
Starting out with a '32 Ford Model B cab that he acquired from a friend, he went to work building his ideal truck. Having never built a hot rod before or done much sheetmetal work, he relied heavily on his machinist background. "I tell all of the young guys who come into work at the machine shop to try to do things themselves, figure out the best way they can do it, and that's the theory I applied to this truck."
Aaron has always felt that he has been his best teacher since his very first hobby project: his parents' old '61 Ford Galaxie. He attacked the Galaxie with all of the vim and vigor of an excited 15-year-old determined to get the old car running. After going through the engine and the brakes and getting the car back on the road he gained confidence that would last for years, well into his most recent project.
Aaron believes the '32 Ford cab could have been a hot rod earlier in its life. Sporting a nice 3-inch chop and 6-inch channel he envisions it on a stock, full-fendered chassis back in the day. Since then he believes it has been through a fire, making the metal a little more difficult to work with. He reversed the channel back to 3 inches and left the chop alone, "I couldn't bring myself to change it; the weld seam was almost invisible." Once he was satisfied with the channel he created a new floor and then went to work on the sheetmetal. He patched the roof, rear of the cab, added a donor visor from another truck, and replaced the doorskins, door bottoms, cab corners, and rear panel with new materials. His machinist skills came into play when he radiused cowl panels to match the reveal in the frame. No detail was overlooked on the cab, including replacing a missing piece of the firewall. "Someone had cut some of the lower section out for engine clearance but kept the piece they removed, so I had to weld it back together to make one firewall again."
Aaron rebuilt his 312 with...
Aaron rebuilt his 312 with NOS pistons. The engine was in such good shape it only needed a cylinder hone to be put back together with a rare '50s marine manifold with two YF sidedraft carbs.
Aaron's favorite parts of the truck are all of the subtleties that a person may not notice-one of the major ones being the flush doors. "When I told some guys about wanting to flush fit the doors they tried to steer me away, saying it was way too much work and a hard thing to do. All that did was give me the drive and motivation to do it all myself!" Needless to say, after forming a plan and shutting himself in the garage, flush doors became a reality. After accomplishing that task, he set out to create custom doorjambs out of old Ford valve covers.
The base frame was constructed by Thunder Road Rod and Custom, of Dearborn, Michigan, on Deuce one-piece stamped reproduction '32 'rails that are fully boxed. It is pinched 3/4 inch in the front with a Chassis Engineering X-member, flat front crossmember, and round rear crossmember. The car features custom-made motor mounts, transmission mounts, and shock mounts. It is equipped with a Magnum 5-inch dropped and drilled I-beam front axle with '47 Ford split wishbones.