Restoring and Hotrodding a 1935 Pickup Truck

Finding the truck

Picture of partially restored 1935 Ford PickupAfter seeing several neat old pickup trucks at car shows, I started to lust after one myself. I figured it would be neat to be able to turn something like this:

Picture of mostly restored 1935 Ford Pickupand make it look like this instead:

The partially restored truck colorized in photoshopMy first feeble attempt was to try using Adobe Photoshop. Besides not having the right paint color and a very dull finish, the end result wasn't satisfying:

Picture of the steering wheel showing missing gaugesI decided it was just easier to start with truck number 2. While it looks finished, it's still missing some things: like brake lights, windshield wipers, gauges, shock absorbers and interior trim.

The bed of the truck filled with various partsOver the next month or two I'll see if these are really missing, or just need to be installed. The bed of the truck came complete with what I hope are all these pieces just waiting to be installed. I know that there are things like several different gauge sets (but don't know if any work), spedometer (with around 43,000 miles showing, but absolutely no way of telling if it's original, and there's a spedometer installed in the dash with 0 miles so my guess is the old one doesn't work), headlights (there are some original style reflectors and parts for putting in Halogen bulbs in), several vacuum operated wiper motors (which I'll put in to pass inspection so I can drive it, and then look around for electric wiper motors), shock absorbers (and adaptors of some kind to work with newer shocks).

The brakes have been converted from pure mechanical to hydraulic. There's not really any electrical system to speak up, but I think the battery and starter are 12-volt and I plan to convert it to 12 volt except for any gauges which do happen to work. In the interest of simplicity and practicality I'll probably put in a single-wire GM alternator.

Picture of restored 1935 Ford Flathead V8 The engine is a 1935 flathead taken from some other vehicle. While the cooling hoses come from the front of the engine (like the 1949 or later engines), close examination shows the water pumps mount to the cylinder head, not the block. And if you count, there are only 21 studs, not 24 (this change was made for the 1939 model year). Although you can't see it on this picture, the right hand cylinder head has a 1947 date stamp of some sort and so probably isn't original. The left hand cylinder doesn't have this stamp.

Notes from the future. There are other markings indicating the cylinder heads are from 1936, but I don't know the meaning of the 1947 stamp. Perhaps it's a casting date for a replacement head. Also, the engine block is from 1937 but has block off plates where the water pumps would be. And the generator seems to be from 1939 or later. But at a casual glance, it looks like a 1935 engine.

What's in the back of the truck?

To see what we found when we looked in all those boxes in the back of the truck, follow the link.


Forward to Spare Parts

Last modified Sunday, March 28, 2004
All pictures taken by the author
Tom Teixeira