1940/41 Ford PickUp - Pist N Broke

Its not often that you stand at a show and something rolls in that completely blows your mind. Riaan van Rensburg pulled in with his 1940/41 Ford coupe that completely took my breath away. I had to extend my stay and go see Riaan in Oudtshoorn and find out more.

Riaan goes on to explain:

I like to tell people that I grew up in a muscle car/V8 house and it was always very exciting when my dad came to fetch us from school driving his V8 cars. My dad owned Holden Monaro’s and Ford Fairmont’s since I can remember. He restored cars all his life, making parts, fabricating body panels where the rust took over. From a very early age, he involved my brothers and I in all of his projects; rebuilding engines, panel beating and spray painting. I bought my first car when I was 18 for a R1000, a 1971 Ford Fairlane 500.

The car was in bad shape but I saw the potential and always said one day I will get to it. In the mean time I bought and restored several cars, sold some, kept some. I’ve restored so many cars to pristine condition and always wanted to build a rust/rat rod, but a car that is actually a pleasure to drive with power steering and aircon and reliable to drive to where ever the road takes you. I went to a farm near Oudtshoorn to view a 302 Ford engine that was for sale. As I was leaving, I noticed a loose cab and nose panel that looked very interesting.

I immediately stopped to take a closer look. I asked the guy if this was for sale and we agreed on a price. That was a 1948 Ford cab, 1941 Fenders and a Hudson grill that was welded together. I realized that with the right vision, a wicked imagination and my skills I can transform this unfinished project into one hell of a rust rod. My plan was to marry the cab and fenders, shaping the fenders into the cab, manufacture new fire wall, floor and tunnel. Modify the diff and front suspension to take air cushions. Fit a modular fuel injection engine with aircon and power steering. I wanted to build something special that looks like a factory built car from the 40,s but my own design and the only one in the world.

I found a 1974 Cadillac Hearse Left Hand Drive chassis on the farm as well. I liked the fact that it was left hand drive and that it had power steering. Perfect for my project. For the motor I wanted something modern and reliable and I have an option between 4.6 and 5.4 Ford V8. The limited space underneath the bonnet gave me no other option than to use the narrow head Ford Modular 4.6 3Valve. The dyno run gave 258HP and 409LBS/FT torque on the rear wheels. We used dictator management to manage the original Ford pencil coils and injectors and I decided to go for 5 speed manual setup.

We manufactured a brand new load bin. We used 1937/1938 Chevy fenders to fit the load bin to give the same effect and shape as the front fenders. Both front and rear fender were widened and narrowed a couple of times to get the perfect look. I used a 49 Chevy bonnet and cut and weld it to perfection. The roof was chopped by 100 mm which took lots of trial and error, chopping and changing to actually get the final result. The air suspension I used is the solenoid type that was bought from Ralph at Motown Auto Parts in Cape Town. Feel free to contact Ralph for any hot rod/street rod/rat rod builds from gauges, tail lights, engine parts and air suspensions. He knows what he’s talking about. For colour I went with Rust.

Just something interesting about the rust look on the body. A friend of mine, Morne, got this perfect method of getting quick rust. Firstly, I sandblasted the body and sprayed it with normal pool acid. Directly after that, I applied peroxide with a spray can. The rust process starts immediately after applying peroxide. You let it dry, spray with clean water, let it dry again and apply peroxide as many times as you want to get the darker and darker finish. As soon as you are happy with the look and colour, you can take a mix of paraffin and thinners to let the rust stop and to give it a nice deep dark color. The graphics on door were done by a local artist in Oudtshoorn called Karen Schoeman from Pikwasso. All the bits started to come together.

I went for straight glass all round, not tinted The headlights are from a 1958 Beetle, taillights from Model A Ford and the fuel tank was custom built. I bought a set of 17inch steel rims from local second-hand dealer and then had them widened by Johan from Cape Town. With the Red it really sets off the truck and the rims are running 205/40/17 in the front and 315/35/17 on the back. I swopped seats from different vehicles but could not find a nice looking one that was wide and big enough to fill the cab space. I saw a Mercedes rear seat and decided to cut and weld and modify it. It was then sent it to Lino Abrahams for Upholstery. The left hand drive custom dash and instrument cluster was my own design with the Dolphin gauges fitted.

Riaan considers the air suspension to be the part of this build that stands out the most. People stop and stare everytime I drive by and stop and lower the suspension. It also gives a very comfortable ride. The air conditioner, power steering and air suspension is throwing old school and comfort together into one unique car. Anybody you would like to thank? I would like to thank Gabriel Cupido, my welder, for his patience with me changing my mind on a daily basis about the look I want. JP Fourie for the wiring and over all assistance with the build and Riaan Raubenheimer who helped with assembly.

Quintis from Dr Quincy’s Dyno Tuning did a perfect job with the tuning and cold start issues. Special thanks to my wife who waited up with a hot meal when I would come home late.

Names of companies you used for parts and work on the car. Dolphin Motors Oudtshoorn for sponsoring the engine and tranny, oil and filters and the very expensive spark plugs. Crazy Liquors for the beers, Motown Auto Parts, Silverton Radiators, National Auto Glass, Wessels & Kie Sandblasters and Johan from Cape Town who did a perfect job of widening the wheels.