Monday, April 11, 2011

Ford Truck Fun

I mentioned something a while back about a "pickup" and suggested it might make a post. So, here, indeed it does. I found this 1952 F-1 Ford Truck in a newspaper classified ad. Yes, long before Al had created the internet. I called the number and found that the physical location of the vehicle was about eighteen miles away, so I enlisted a driver to take me to the place. I bought the thing and headed for home.
It took very few yards on the road to discover that it drove like a hog on ice, swaying and rocking hither and thither. It required a good bit of muscle to keep it in the road. So, first project discovered. And managed. But meanwhile, I discovered that the vehicle lacked a wiring harness. No, true. The only electrical hookup that existed was the ignition, which allowed the car to be driven. But there were no lights, no gauges, no accessories (not that it had many anyway) and no way it could be legally licensed and driven on the highway. Project number two.
I got the old J.C. Whitney catalog. You remember J.C. Whitney of Chicago, Illinois. Newsprint mail order catalog listing thousands upon thousands of auto parts and accessories. (Does Warshawsky seem familiar? I am thinking an identical catalog was published under this name, with same address and ordering information. Am I right?) Well, back on track. I searched the catalog for a wiring harness for the 1952 Ford F-1 and behold! it was offered for a modest price. I don't remember exactly how much, but it seems it may have been in the fifty dollar range. I ordered it. And it arrived promptly via the U S Mail.
I am not an electrician, and you may already have gotten the idea that most of my mechanical skills were at the pliers-and-screwdriver level. You may believe me when I tell you that the installation of this harness, simple though the vehicle was by modern standards, was a challenge. But I accomplished the task! And it worked. I now had lights and other necessary running equipment. I licensed the vehicle.
When I acquired her, the truck looked pretty much as seen in the top picture, although here some body work had been started. I drove this thing for several years before my spouse and I decided its appearance needed some improvement. So we, the two of us, enrolled in an evening auto body class offered by a nearby vo-tech school. We went every Tuesday night for many weeks, cutting, welding, filling, sanding and eventually painting until the vehicle passed through the stage in the middle picture and finally on to the gorgeous red car shown below. We were proud.
We drove the vehicle for quite some time, finally deciding that it was no longer a need in our lives. We sent it to auction. Accounting for the purchase price and all the expenses entailed in making it a useful truck, we wound up making money. Hence it is one of only two cars I ever owned which turned out to be an investment rather than a money pit. (The other one was also a Ford pickup.)


Anonymous said...

Ah, if only we could still work on our own cars this way.

Vee said...

Cool little red truck!

Anonymous said...

I know nothing about cars - don't even have a drivers license - but that is one heck of a nifty grill!

Ilene said...

I did not know about this truck! Pretty cool that you fixed it up. I also did not know about this skill.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

I love old trucks! But the ones I work on are about 2.5 inches long (HO scale!)

Lin said...

What a fun job!! And it looks GREAT!

vanilla said...

Jim, indeed, those were the days. Open a hood nowadays, and I don't even know what I'm looking at.

Vee, thanks. It was a fun ride!

Grace, it is a great, grinning grill.

Ilene, sorry you missed the Truk. Limited skill, but fun. ("Truk" was her name.)

Shark, once again I stand in awe of you. Modeling at HO scale is too exact a skill for this clumsy old fellow.

Lin, thank you. It was fun. Glad I got to do it once, anyway.