Just the Facts
Model: Pickup Truck
Owners: Bob & Debbie McDonald
Bob and Debbie McDonald have some very extraordinary cars and trucks in their street rod stable. Members of their collection have included a 1942 Ford woodie, a 1934 woodie, a 1934 Ford roadster, and a 1939 Ford sedan delivery painted British Racing Green with the words "River Grove Farm" painted on each side (you may remember it from the Grand National Roadster Show a few years ago).
The latest addition to the McDonalds' corral is this 1940 Ford pickup. One of the first things you may have noticed on the truck is the sign mounted on the stake sides, lettered with the same name—River Grove Farm—as the McDonalds' 1939 sedan delivery. It's not a made-up name of an imaginary place, concocted to add character to Bob and Debbie's rides. River Grove Farm is a real horse farm in Hailey, Idaho, where the McDonalds train world-class competition show horses.
Every farm needs a farm truck. That's what Roy Brizio (who built the sedan delivery) was thinking when he heard about the 1940, an unfinished project located in Washington State. He called Bob. "You don't need another farm truck, do you?" It wasn't long before the pickup was at Roy Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco and plans were being finalized for what you see here.
What the McDonalds found in Washington was actually two cabs, two beds, a 302 engine with a four-speed, and a lot of parts in boxes. Bob's vision was to unload the running gear, retain the sheetmetal, and have the truck returned to a stock appearance. Stock, but with some tasteful custom details and a couple of surprises—one underneath the body and another underneath the hood.
The surprise underneath the body is a complete Art Morrison chassis, which had already been built while the truck was in Washington. A set of 2x4 framerails form the base for the custom independent front suspension, including Art Morrison spindles and an antiroll bar. The frontend is sprung by a pair of Strange Engineering coilovers. Steering is accomplished with a rack-and-pinion at the lower end of a Mullins column. Wilwood 12-inch discs handle the front braking.
The 9-inch Ford rearend is loaded with 3.70:1 gears with limited slip, spinning a pair of Currie axles, and located by an Art Morrison four-link. Other rear suspension components include an Art Morrison antiroll bar, a track locater bar, and QA1 shocks. Wilwood discs match the front brakes with a Wilwood master cylinder and proportioning valve, ECI booster, stainless lines, and Brizio-built pedal assembly completing the braking system.
With an extra cab and an extra bed as part of the purchase, Bob and Debbie doubled their chances of having great raw material for building the exterior. In Washington, the pickup was being built with a more radical Indy influence when the work stopped. Since Bob wanted something very stock looking, a bit of reverse progress was in order, especially at the rear of the cab, where a large square window had replaced the small, stock piece. As you can see, that was changed.
The hood was pie cut just enough to resemble the profile of a 1939 pickup. Sealed beam headlights were installed in the front fenders and repro taillights were provided by Bob Drake Reproductions. The front and rear bumpers, outside mirrors, and the reproduction grille are also Bob Drake pieces. New windows came from Bob's Classic Auto Glass, and chrome brightwork was restored at Sherm's Custom Plating in Sacramento, California.
Bob wanted a timeless brown color for the 1940, similar to early Ford colors. He describes this custom mix as Cohiba brown minus some green. The better-than-factory bodywork was handled by Guy Ruchenet and Dan Laughlin in Anderson, California. While the truck was there, the beautiful paintjob was shot by Eric Sanderson. Brizio has depended on this team for several of the high-end projects he's built. You can see why.
The bed floor is built from ash, with oak stain. The stake sides are also ash, and contribute the perfect "farm truck" personality. The classic pinstriping along the bedsides and tailgate was applied by talented West Coast 'striper Rory.
The perfect finish to the old-time exterior appearance is the choice of painted 16x7 and 16x6 steelies from Wheel Vintiques, dressed up with trim rings and V-8 emblem caps. The bias-ply whitewalls are 16x7.00 and 16x5.50 Firestones, available from Coker. Actually, the perfect finish is the side-mounted spare.
We promised you another surprise to the McDonalds' "farm truck". Lifting the hood (or looking at the photo) reveals what we're talking about. Powering the 1940 is a 2008 ZZ4 GM crate motor. Wearing a pair of finned valve covers and matching air cleaner cover from Moon, the carbureted engine fits the pickup's traditionally influenced style. A Walker brass radiator keeps the water cool. An Edelbrock 625-cfm carburetor and intake and an MSD ignition with Taylor wires provide fuel, air, and fire. A pair of Sanderson Street Rod headers run into 2-1/4-inch exhaust tubes built at Brizio's and quieted with Stainless Specialties mufflers. Backing up the ZZ4 is a Hurst-shifted Tremec five-speed transmission, with a clutch and flywheel from McLeod Racing.
The truck came back from Sid Chavers' shop with a beautiful upholstery job. Chavers had stitched the interior of the McDonalds' sedan delivery, but took a completely different approach with the '40. Smoky brown distressed leather covers the custom bench seat and door panels (featuring external side pockets). The Hurst shifter boot is covered in the same leather. A 1940 Classic steering wheel from Juliano's Hot Rod Parts was mounted to the Mullins column, just above a column-mount retro-style Sun tach. The original instruments were restored to working order by Redline Gauge Works and kept in the stock insert in the '40 dash. Jim Vickery at Brizio's wired the truck.
We don't know if Bob and Debbie's new "farm truck" is seeing much hard work around the horse farm, but we do know it's doing a great job promoting River Grove Farm, and providing plenty of enjoyment for the McDonalds.