Kelvin Waddington stands next to his latest product: an all-steel Model A pickup cab. This
Back in 2008, we documented the buildup of a new all-steel 1934 Ford phaeton being produced by our mate from Australia, Kelvin Waddington-we then spent the rest of that summer touring the country in the touring car and came away extremely impressed with its quality of construction. A season of running all over the country and there wasn't a squeak or rattle to be heard. The four-door was as tight as the day we pulled out of the office parking lot for the first time.
As we were familiar with the phaeton and the '34 Utes Waddington produced, he was asked during a bench racing session with the author, Brian Brennan, and Tex Smith, what other bodies he had built. Almost casually Waddington replied that a stretched Model A pickup had been created from scratch for a customer and he was thinking about putting them in production. We're pleased to report the thought process reached its conclusion and a new cab is as close as your phone.
Three versions of the pickup body are available-completely stock, including the wood frame
While Ford offered a variety of cars in Australia, the closed cab '28-29 or '30-31 pickup was not among them so the new offering is pure red, white, and blue in terms of basic styling, however, there are three distinct configurations. We'll start with the stock version: it has totally original dimensions, a wooden framework around the doors, and for the fabric top, original-style door latches; it even has a stock-style firewall and gas tank (although a legally mandated rollover valve is incorporated in the filler neck). If you want an original Model A this is the closest thing to an NOS body you're likely to find. In fact all panels, including the doors, are said to interchange with originals.
For street rod applications Waddington has included some modifications that will be appreciated-first and foremost everything in the body is steel. The stamped steel B-pillars have built-in seat belt anchors with multiple attachment points to suit the height of the driver and passenger, the roof is steel and rain gutters have been added. As with the original design, the doors overlap the body at the back. Speaking of doors, two types of latches are available, stock reproductions and bear claws that operate by original-looking levers. To accommodate most V-8 engines and automatic transmissions a 4-inch recessed firewall that blends into the floor with a built-in transmission tunnel is available as is a stock-style firewall.
Waddington Street Rod and Restorations first production body was the '34 roadster Ute on t
While the beloved A-bone pickup has plenty of hot rod charisma one thing it doesn't have an abundance of is interior room, so to make the truck more user-friendly a version with a 6-inch stretch aft the doors is available-other than the length all other aspects of the cab remain the same.
Although it goes without saying that building a body from scratch is a monumental undertaking, according to Waddington the biggest obstacles were the doors-the curves, body lines, and the area around the windows were all challenging and it has taken time and a huge financial investment to get them, and everything else, right. Of course another challenge is in fact making everything else. Hinges, latches, and all the little bits and pieces that hold the body together are all made in-house, including the dashboard that is a stamped replica of the stock gas tank face. About the only thing not made in the Australian shop are the garnish moldings and the trim alongside the windshield, however, those are readily available from stateside sources and are options on the new bodies.
If you've been thinking of building a half-ton hauler here are several great alternatives to rust ravaged, bullet-riddled, former farm trucks-and they are available now. Check out the Roadster Ute website for a U.S. distributor.