1941 Ford Pick-Up - Brotherly Love

Bernidene Fischer come from a family of real ‘car people’. She has always loved the various cars, bikes and automotive projects that she has been exposed to growing up in a petrol head family. Her personal involvement in this project only started halfway through its story. Originally, the project was commissioned by her brother, Wayne, and undertaken by her father Ivan Slabbert from 031 Custom Rides.

The vehicle started as a project in Hermanus that was abandoned. The owner had it on the internet and Ivan Snatched it up. Ivan dad had originally built the Hot Rod to her brother Wayne’s specifications and preferences, with a Cummins 5.9l turbo diesel engine and 5 ton Mercedes tip truck manual gearbox. Unfortunately her brother Wayne was killed in a car accident when the project was all but complete.

Wayne had even had the final fitting for the seat position. After this happened, Ivan wrestled with the decision of what do with the car. Bernidene made the decision to take over the arrangement between her dad and brother. From that point onwards, she worked on the car over weekends with her dad and learnt how to weld, grind and “swing spanners” under her father’s masterful guidance. Together they made the decision to exchange the Cummins engine for a Chevy as this would be a more realistic setup for Bernidene as this car is her everyday driver.

To accommodate this, the chassis had to be shortened, the interior altered, new tailpipes fabricated, to name a few changes. The body was not in very good condition and there was about 5% that was totally rusted. Luckily there was no need to do any sandblasting. The bodywork took months to complete. Ivan chopped the firewall and roof by 100mm in addition to ensuring that the body was in the best condition possible to apply paint. The bin was also fabricated by Ivan and lined with marine ply and then sealed with polyacrothane.

The name of the paint chosen for the car is Wimbledon white and is 2K. They searched for the perfect “creamy” shade of paint and this ticked all the boxes. Ivan did the paint application himself. The chassis is fully custom. It is tubular with gussets and is shortened to accommodate the new engine. The rear suspension is a Jag SJ 12 front solid trans axle I-beam with hairpin stays. The front is centred to the chassis with watts linkage. The diff was changed to a Jag with wheel adaptors – 5x108 PCD. The brakes are Toyota discs on the front and Jag at the rear.

Luckily, all of these parts were supplied when the project was originally purchased. The motor is a Chevy LS1 gen3, 5.3l fuel-injected Vortec engine with original ECU supplied by Mark at Rocket 88. The gearbox is a 4L60e 4 speed auto and was also supplied by Rocket 88. It throws out over 300 horses. The exhaust is a custom- made banana branch by Brian from PrimaForce. The interior houses Toyota MR2 seats which were cut and modified to fit. For the rest of the interior, Bernidene had her eye on some awesome comic book upholstery from Waste Centre which she managed to track down. Her and her dad installed this on the tunnel. Her dad cleverly made use of Akropovic tail pieces as cup holders for the phone tray/centre console that he fabricated. They used skateboard wheels for the handles on the window winders and installed an LED screen to serve as a front and rear parking camera that is used in lieu of a rear-view mirror.

All of the steering components are aftermarket. Ivan made the dash and fitted all the aftermarket gauges. All of these parts were purchased from Autostyle. The wheels are Vintage Chevy steelies that have been widened. They came with the project. They tyres are 305/70/17 on the rear and 215/70/17 on the front. The grille is from a 1934 Chevy and the radiator from a 1962 Ford F100. The skull-shaped glass decanter is used as a coolant overflow and has a top-cap fabricated by her dad. The headlights are from a 1936 Chevy and have also been modified. The taillights were fabricated from scratch by, yep you guessed it, her multi-talented dad Ivan! Bernidene’s favourite part of the car is the 50 litre SAB polished stainless-steel keg petrol tank with fully functioning fuel gauge.

The only chrome feature on the car are the mirrors. The parts of the car that Bernidene would like to make special mention of again are the skateboard wheel window winders, the keg fuel tank, the glass skull decanter and the comic book interior. They are just all so special and a real talking point when she is out and about in the car. She feels that, in her personal opinion, the attention to detail with regards to the above mentioned puts her car into a different league to a lot of others that are out there. The outcome is not as per the original plan but she knows that her brother Wayne would definitely approve of what has been done to the car. The total rebuild time was 12 months for the first iteration and a further 10 months to get the car complete and on the road following all the modifications and changes in the plans. Next in store is an epic Ford F100 that Ivan is currently building.

He has already implemented some very cool little custom features that are apparently very impressive and clever. We look forward to seeing this one upon completion. Bernidene would like to thank her Dad, Ivan Slabbert, who was dealt the crushing blow of losing his first-born child; the person for whom he was building this car in the first place; and who somehow summoned the strength and courage to go alone to work every day and pull apart and put back together this work of passion and love. He showed up every day, even though he wouldn’t be having almost-daily visits and check-ins from his fussiest client, her brother. She also has to make mention of his skill, hard work and industrious spirit. His talent is vast, and he deserves all the credit for creating this beautiful beast.

She is even more proud of him for persevering with this build when she knows that it would have been a lot easier for him to cover it up and walk away. Lastly, she would like to honour her beautiful brother, for whom this car was built and to whom it is dedicated. She is so proud to drive this car every day and have this little part of her awesome big brother with her wherever she goes.

A big thanks to the following people and suppliers: Lance Richards for assisting with early stages of assembly Pat the Painter who advised with body, fabrication and painting Mark from Rocket88 Brian from PrimaForce Leeven and Sabelo from Designer Audio in Umhlanga for their first-class valet