Enthusiasm for the hot rod hobby comes in many forms. You can attend and/or organize events, go on rod runs, blog your deepest anonymous thoughts on the Internet, or even spend your time (and money) building a car.
But you know you’re dealing with someone who has been around the block once or twice when, after they start on a project, you realize it would be better in the long run to start over with a totally different approach rather than spend valuable assets (again, time and money) on beating a dead horse. Jim Heller is of the former camp.
The roadster pickup body Brookville...
The roadster pickup body Brookville Roadsters sells is not a reproduction of what Ford made, but rather their own customized version. Brookville not only changed the body to their liking (by extending the cab) but the leading edge of the bed, too, which now follows the graceful curve of the rear section of the cab.
Jim, who lives in Southern California in the beachfront town of Seal Beach, had bought a 1934 Ford roadster pickup years ago and, when it needed some paint repairs, found Tom Rodriguez of Cypress Auto Body to do the work. Rodriguez, whose business has revolved around providing hot rodders with exceptional paintjobs for the past few decades, was able to do what Jim wanted, and soon Jim came to trust Rodriguez’s expertise.
So a few years ago, when Jim had bought a ’30 roadster pickup and wanted to add a Kugel IFS and a Jaguar rear, and took it to Cypress Auto Body to see if Rodriguez could bring life back into the project. Rodriguez consulted Kugel Komponents (La Habra, California) about their IFS/IRS systems for the Model A frame, and it wasn’t long before everyone concurred it would be easier to start over with a new independent chassis rather than try to work the old one into submission. The decision was made easier after Jim discovered Brookville Roadsters had started marketing a full-fendered ’32 roadster pickup out of their factory in Brookville, Ohio, so he kept the IFS, engine, and transmission out of the roadster pickup, then sold it to make room for the new project.
Kugel Komponents, a company most well known for their independent front and rear suspensions (as well as brake system parts, reservoir kits, a line of shop tools, and more) for most any hot rod, isn’t readily known for building entire cars for customers, but they certainly have the talent. Part of that is due to Chris Smith, who had stayed with his previous employer, Boyd Coddington, until that business folded, and had recently been brought on board to expand that side of the Kugel’s empire, so it worked out great for everyone involved.
Because Brookville only offers...
Because Brookville only offers this body package as an extended cab, they sell the configuration with a slightly shorter bed and you get stainless steel bed strips at no extra charge. Heller stained the wood strips, and Jones Custom Lettering & Striping did the gold leaf Ford script on the tailgate.
Brookville’s roadster pickup is not a faithful reproduction of Ford’s personal utility truck but rather a customized interpretation of it. The cab is little longer (because it needs to be) and the bed, even though it’s shorter than stock, has a lot more curves to it when compared to Ford’s version, which can only be described as a rectangular metal box.
Starting with ’rails from ASC, Kugel’s added a tubular centersection and crossmember pieces that would support their independent 9-inch rear and front suspensions. The rear uses a hub width of 55 inches while the front measures 56 inches wide, and the wheelbase was dialed in at 106 inches. Stainless steel tubing was used for all of the chassis plumbing, and Wilwood disc brakes (controlled by a Corvette master cylinder) are found on the front and GM calipers on the rear. Chrome-plated Real Rodder wheels—15x5.5 in the front, 16x8 in the rear—were shod in BFGoodrich Traction T/A radial rubber (195/60R15 and 235/60R16).
The small-block Chevy motor is basic, but dressed up with a 16-inch Billet City radiator fan and lots of chrome and polished aluminum pieces. A 200-R4 Chevy transmission was used along with a driveshaft from Drive Line service of San Diego, California, and a Lokar shifter.