When designing and building high-end hot rods, roadster pickups generally don't fall into the mix. But then how can you go wrong with anything as iconic as the Deuce? Don Smith from Mansfield, Texas, is no newcomer to hot rods (two- or four-wheel variety, as he's the owner of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership) and especially '32 Fords. He owns all models of the '32 save one, so to him a '32 Ford roadster pickup to finish the collection was a natural selection.

Obtaining one of Henry's gennie steel models proved to be the easy part-it came from a friend. Now for the fun-and effort. First, a little more on the truck's early years; as with so many hot rods the "behind the scenes" story is often as entertaining as the final presentation. As already written, Don has all models of the '32 with the exception of the '32 roadster pickup. His open-air Deuce pick-me-up spent a goodly portion of its "youth" as a work truck driven around Pomona, California, as the shop truck for High Grade Plating. It's here our pickup became transoceanic with a boat ride to Sweden where it spent many years.

In an interesting twist, the truck was placed back on a boat and ended up back in the States and in Texas and eventually under the watchful eye of Jim Jard (another hot rodder with an interesting track record) of Houston. Jard and Don are friends and when Don began searching in earnest for a '32 roadster pickup Jard was there to help him reach his goal. The roadster pickup moved from a garage in Houston to a garage in Mansfield only to end up at the beach, well, Beach City, Texas, and the shop of Roy Pigford, a longtime builder of many an award-winning hot rod.

The idea of building a special '32 roadster pickup is one thing but ending up with a hot rod that will stand among other well-executed topflight examples of hot rodding-well, that's something else. With this goal in mind, Don and Pigford put their considerable talents together and began. Our first chance to see the '32 Ford roadster pickup was at the Grand National Roadster Show this past winter as it was in contention for America's Most Beautiful Roadster.

As with all builds, as good a place as any to start is the foundation, and in this case the original '32 pickup frame was retained and then boxed and notched at the firewall. This improves the hood and fender's relationship, giving the "downhill" look. The '32 frame was then fitted with a Pete & Jakes (Peculiar, Missouri) center crossmember, Model A front crossmember, and Posies (Hummelstown, Pennsylvania) semi-elliptical rear springs. The rear suspension is based on a fully polished Winters Performance Products (York, Pennsylvania) quick-change outfitted with a limited-slip differential, 4.11 gears, and painted axle housings with Dutchman (Portland, Oregon) axles held in place with Pete & Jakes ladder bars and shocks. Rear braking comes by way of finned Buick drums via Wilson Welding (Flower Mound, Texas).

Up front, a Super Bell (Peculiar) 4-inch drop I-beam axle with buggy spring, P&J shocks and Panhard bar, Wilson Welding finned drum brakes, with Vega steering through a LimeWorks (Whittier, California) steering column and a white finish four-spoke wheel. The brakes are operated through a P&J pedal assembly and a Wilwood (Camarillo, California) master cylinder. All that braking slows down old-time Firestone rubber mounted to one-off custom wheels (16s in front and 18s in back) by Mike Curtis found at the corners.