Just the Facts
For Rich Borriello and son Rich Jr. (foreground) there’s always plenty of time to collabor
It’s easy to measure a person’s creativity by supplying them with the most basic starting point. For hot rodders the challenge many times is creating something from next to nothing. Sure it’s easier to work with a standard roadster body or even a coupe regardless of its manufacturer, but switch it up to toss in a curve and you can watch it get interesting. For Rich Borriello of Hampstead, New Hampshire, design and fabrication runs deep in his veins, having built countless hot rods and custom motorcycles over the years.
Working alongside his brother Phil as a teenager in 1977, the pair set their sights on seeing each hot rod project through to run on the local streets. As time passed Rich met his wife-to-be Pam, and shared countless other builds with her till they got married and started a family. Following in the same footsteps from his youth, he began to bring his two sons Rich Jr. and Dana to the same dragstrip he grew up at and forged a bond with the boys surrounding a world of high performance. Looking for a fresh project, a decision was made to seek out a ’40s-era pickup cab to use as a base to create a slammed hot rod truck from. The curve we spoke of earlier landed at an automotive flea market in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the form of a rust-free 1941 Ford pickup cab fresh from the West Coast. While the cab was clean, it did have its problems as it was once lifted using a chain through the window openings causing the roof to be pulled up 6 inches. Undeterred, Rich bought the body and hauled it home to lay out the build plans for the truck.
As a tribute to his grandmother, Rich Jr. repurposed the driveline from her ’91 Lincoln to
Simplicity makes the interior come alive with basic black threads by Dawn’s Upholstery who
To monitor the vitals, Classic Instruments gauges tell tales while a tall Gennie shifter p
Many times an endless stream of inspiration can come from your workshop environment surrounded by tools and fabrication equipment. It’s a place and time when the proverbial light bulb gets lit and everything flows from there. For Rich, one of the most important features of the truck would need to be its stance. Low to the ground with a nasty unforgiving attitude, it would take a proper chassis to bring it all together. To get started, he laid out the spine’s basic elements using 1-1/2x3-inch rectangular steel stock. A 127-inch wheelbase was decided on and in order to get the cab as low to the ground as possible, a dramatic 14-inch rear kick and Z’d 2 inches in front. To add the graceful tapering to the front framerails, 2x5-inch rectangular steel stock was grafted in place to create the front Z and gradually tapered from 5 to 3 inches. The front of the framerails were pinched 1-1/2 inches, then drilled and gusseted for both strength and style with everything tied together by custom crossmembers. To handle the suspension duties, a custom four-link and Panhard bar was used to suspend a Lincoln 8.8-inch rear filled with 3.73:1 gears while Bilstein coilover shocks soak up the bumps. Up front, Rich designed a unique torsion bar suspension utilizing a 3-inch tubular crossmember. From there a stock ’48 Ford axle was anchored in place, complemented by ’39 Ford spindles and custom hairpins. To make sure there was plenty of stopping power, an early Ford truck master pushes fluid through steel lines to Lincoln discs out back while early Ford binders capped with 90-fin aluminum Buick drums do the deed up front. To complete the look and set the stance nothing says “badass” better than a pair of wide American Racing five-spokes capped with Hurst Racing Tires pie-crust cheater slicks out back accented by a pair of ET Gasser’s with BFGoodrich rubber.
When planning what type of mill to run in the truck, it was easy for Rich and the boys to make a decision. A few years back, his mother gave Rich Jr. her retired ’91 Lincoln, knowing he would repurpose the ordinary parts to hopefully create something extraordinary. The driveline was promptly stripped from the old cruiser and plans were made for its rebirth into the project. The 302ci mill was cleaned up and treated to a Ford Racing cam for added thump while an Offenhauser intake topped with a Speedway Motors adapter plate proudly supports a trio of Holley 94-series carbs. The Muroc velocity stacks are the perfect crowning touch. An MSD ignition lights the fire while spent gases get dumped through a set of owner-fabbed lake pipes echoing deep through Cherry Bomb mufflers. To push the power rearward, a warmed-over ’91 Lincoln AOD trans packed with a Hughes Performance torque converter linked to a Gilbert’s driveshaft completes the package.
It’s all in the details, like giving new life into the early Ford truck master, which was
To give the truck plenty of attitude a 5-foot-long bed was fabbed with 16-inch bedsides ac
An owner-fabbed exhaust dumps spent gases through custom lake pipes to 2-inch steel tube b
With the guts of the build completed, it was time to focus on the cab and what it would take to make it cool. First to repair the existing roof damage, the front half of a ’40 Ford sedan roof skin was grafted in once the old steel was removed and the rooftop was brought back to its original shape. For perfect proportions a 4-inch chop was then set in place combined with the A-pillars being laid back 1-inch. While the truck gives the illusion of being channeled it really isn’t as the stock floors and cab mounts are still in place, allowing for plenty of legroom. Not being a real fan of bobber-styled trucks with their stubby pickup beds, a 5-foot bed was designed and fabricated with a bedside of only 16 inches, giving the truck a long and lean personality. Finished with an oak bed and Moon fuel tank, it has a flawless look. When it came time to lay down the vibe, the team at Steve’s Auto Body in Hampstead, New Hampshire, got the nod to make everything razor sharp and spray a classic coating of Spies Hecker Olive Green polished suede. Classic bits help the final look, including ’50 Pontiac taillights, ’35 Ford commercial headlights, and period-perfect pinstriping by the legendary One Arm Bandit, Charlie Decker of Windsor, Connecticut. Looking inside the cab, simplicity rules with the stock dash sporting a custom gauge insert filled with Classic Instruments dials to monitor the vitals while a ’40 Ford column wearing a ’39 Ford banjo steering wheel sets the course and shifts run through a tall Gennie shifter topped with a Jimmy Shine shift knob. Dawn’s Upholstery of Kingston, New Hampshire, stitched up the tidy pleated black vinyl threads covering the bench seat accented by black loop carpeting to complete the look.
This is one truck that has been laying down the miles ever since its first tank of premium fuel with no sign of slowing down. To us, this is a family project that’s just plain bitchin!