Petersen Archive: A Cinderella Story

Bob Greene's Hot Rod Pickup

Bob Greene's Hot Rod Pickup

      When Motor Trend editor Bob Greene found this truck, it was languishing in a junk yard. Its once bright fenders and other “ornate goodies” were missing. Its sturdy truck bed was “rusted out and torn.” “Things looked pretty grim for the little hauler,” Greene wrote.

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      Nonetheless, Greene saw that the rusted out rag, “had possibilities.” Despite its ragged appearance, he noted that the structure of the truck’s bed and cab were “fundamentally solid.” So, Greene set out to turn the tired old truck, into a gleaming hot rod. To do so, he gave the old Ford the royal treatment.

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      Barris Kustoms Restyle Shop renovated the body work. Greene addressed the problems with the truck bed. He replaced the wooden supports along the entire bed, and gave the front of the bed new supports “hand-hewn from solid oak.” Additionally, the original fit of the door panels was improved by bending the panels around wood shims. This rectified the panels’ “loose fit” and made the truck, as Ray Brock noted, “the most rattle-free ride on the boulevard.” Joe McClelland’s Ford Parts Obsolete Shop replaced the truck’s missing parts.

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      The only solution for the rusted out truck bed, however, was “several heavy coats” of speckled “Zolotone” paint. The exterior of the truck got a coat of Sandstone White enamel paint.

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      The interior of the truck got a makeover as well. Greene shipped the truck to Scott’s Top Shop in San Diego, California for new maroon Naugahyde upholstery. Finally, Von Dutch striped the exterior and interior of the truck with lines that “fall like leaves in the wind.” Now, the junkyard truck looked like a true hot rod.

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      The improvements to the car were not just to its appearance, however. Greene also replaced the truck’s original “tired flathead” Ford engine with a 1955 Chevrolet V8 engine. The Chevrolet engine was only forty pounds heavier than the original, which preserved the truck’s weight distribution. With the new engine’s “modern horsepower,” Ray Brock noted, the truck “really steps out.”
      In a span of two years, the rusted old truck had been transformed into a true hot rod. It did not revert at midnight, however. Indeed, the truck was featured in the February 1956 issue of Motor Trend Magazine. The hot rod pickup also became a model for various Petersen publishing how- to articles, including an article on re-upholstering the truck in the December 1954 issue of Car Craft Magazine, and an article on swapping the engine in the February 1956 issue of Hot Rod Magazine.

By: Kristin Feay