Second Time Around
One of the best ways to build an attention-getting street rod is to start with something out of the ordinary and finish with something out of the ordinary. Kind of what Crawford Byxbee did by building this '32 Ford roadster pickup.

The choice of body style was a wise one, considering the fact that Deuce rpus are few. The genuine article, which Ford called the open-cab pickup, is virtually non-existent. According to Crawford's detective work there were only 593 original B-76 open-cab pickups produced; you'll find a photo of a restored specimen in Robert Genat's book, Deuce: 75 Years of the '32 Ford. It's not likely that many or those have been hot rodded.

Of course, if it's hot rods you're looking for, there are a few around. George Poteet's Brizio-built '32 rpu from a few years ago comes to mind, and this year's STREET RODDER Top 100 list currently features two others, built from reproduction sheetmetal. And, of course, there's Crawford's.

Crawford invited Street Rodder into his personal shop in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, to see how his Deuce rpu came together. His first street rod was a fendered '29 rpu, purchased in 1960 when he was 15 years old. It was finished in black primer and the bodywork "was whatever I could do with my Dad's claw hammer." He remembers the stock four-banger would run about 52 mph, "but it took a long stretch to get there." Some of his homegrown upgrades include a downdraft Stromberg 97, followed by dual 97s on a junk yard manifold. "I also made my own 'supercharger' out of an old vacuum cleaner," he admits. "It made an interesting sound, but slowed the car down to just under 50 mph."

In the following four decades, Crawford's interest in pickups never stopped, and his mechanical skill-and wisdom-grew. In 2000, he found a '34 full-cab pickup cab and doors in a friend's field. Tim's Hot Rods in Spokane, built it into a Ram Jet-powered chopped beauty, which appeared in Street Rodder in December 2003.

Now, 50 years after his Hoover-blown Model A, Crawford is back behind the wheel of a roadster pickup. The project started with as vintage 409 engine he came across about three years ago. The engine, built by Jack Gibbs at 409 Performance, had a dual-quad intake on a '64 block. "Jack added big valves to a set of nice '65 heads and cammed it with a solid Isky job with specs similar to the old 425-horse version of the 409," Crawford said. "Roller rockers were added just for fun, and forged pistons are used. With blueprinting and balancing, it should be plenty for the lightweight roadster pickup-scary maybe."

It didn't take long for Crawford to come up with the idea of dropping the big-block into a roadster pickup. Searching for a body worthy of the project took a little longer, until ultimately, he contacted Brookville Roadster about using one of their new bodies. While waiting for delivery from Brookville, he got back in touch with Tim's Hot Rods to tell them about his plans and to talk to them about obtaining a TCI chassis (which he had used on the '34 as well).

The TCI chassis has a 46-inch solid I-beam front suspension with disc brakes. The rear is a Speedway Engineering Supermax quick-change on coilovers. Some modifications to the rails were made to fit the Brookville bed. "I took notches out of the outside of the rear 'rails and changed the angle to level with the rest of the frame, then reinforced the notched areas with steel plates welded inside the framerails. It's probably the strongest part of the car and is invisible to everyone except me. With enough welding wire and grinding wheels, anything can be accomplished-even two or three times."

When he contacted Brookville, they compared the dimensions of the '32 rpu to a '32 closed cab pickup, the '32 roadster, and the Model A rpu. The Brookville '32 rpu extended cab is the same length as their roadster body, and 9 inches longer than their closed cab body. The '32 rpu bed is 10 1/2 inches shorter than a stock Ford Model A bed, and is designed to fit on a '32 chassis.

For more details on all available options, contact Brookville.
Brookville Roadster
(937) 833-4605