John K. has no expectations that his ‘50 Ford F-1 shortbed pickup will ever win any trophies. But then, he doesn’t take it to car shows either. He did not buy it to show. He bought it because he needed a truck for household hauling and did not want to buy a new one.
About [ten+] years ago, he told a fellow Roamin Angel he was looking for one and the Angel told him of one that was sitting in a garage in Penn Valley. After an amateur restoration, it had been just sitting for some years. It had a 239 CID flathead V-8 engine and a three-speed manual trans with a floor shifter. It had a spotlight and a heater, but no radio. It was very original, with no modern updates like power steering or brakes. It even had original wheels and tires. The paint was good enough to be a “20-footer,” or looks good from 20 feet. The interior was in good shape, especially for the use John had planned for it. The glass and weatherstripping had all been replaced. It was just right and John bought it.
After getting it home, he did have to do a bit of work, some of it due to the truck having just been sitting so long. The starter and battery had to be replaced. The clutch had frozen to the flywheel and pressure plate and had to be freed. A leaky fuel line sent gas spurting over the engine. He also did have to put on a new steering box and motor mounts. The only modernization he did was to update the electrical from a 6-volt to 12-volt system, including a modern alternator. It required converting all the gauges to handle the higher voltage, but he left the heater motor alone. The only difference for it is that now the blower runs at high speed on the low setting.
Keeping the original-style 6.50X16 6-ply bias nylon tires does have one interesting consequence: in cold weather, it takes about four miles to get out the flat spots in the tires from sitting. In warm weather, it only takes about a half mile of a bumpy ride. But this truck is really a local-use vehicle, with a top speed of about 55 MPH because of the low rear end and low-revving flathead. However it will do that speed uphill or downhill, loaded or unloaded.
John likes his truck as it is and has no plans for making it a hot rod or a show truck. He uses it for hauling hay wood and rubbish to the dump. Even so, he gets positive comments whereever he goes, although some people question why he would take such a cool truck to the dump. But for John, it’s a nothing-fancy work truck.
Ron Cherry, former club member and past president, wrote a column over several years in the Union about vintage cars, their owners and the history of the vehicle. This was one of those stories (circa early 2000’s). www.rlcherry.com