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Old 09-08-2012, 07:11 PM   #1
tcianci
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Default 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

I have wanted a 1940 Ford pickup ever since I can remember, and that goes all the way back to when I could remember
Back in 1998 or so when the realities of private school, dance lessons and braces hadn't really settled in yet, I decided to build one.

I'm up in Massachusetts so anything without terminal rust has to be imported. One day I was poking around online and I discovered a place called US Bodysource in Florida and they make tons of fiberglass bodies for anything from mud bogging to funny cars. I did a lot of snooping to find out if these guys were legit and they seemed to be. They had a 40 Ford pickup "package" that was designed to fit a Ford Ranger chassis. I examined their catalogs and web site and asked a zillion questions, they were good with the answers and seemed on the up and up. The sticking point was that outside of the cab and the doors, they had taken lots of liberties with the details of the body to the point where it looked more like something you would see attached to a length of pipe on a carnival ride as opposed to a street rod body.

Like I mentioned, they called this thing a package meaning that they didn't want to represent it as a kit because of the amount of building that was required to use their stuff and their literature cautioned the casual back yard mechanic against getting involved with the project unless they had some pretty decent car building experience. That didn't stop me, all I could see is a brand new cab that would fit on a modern chassis (sorta, more on that later) that would be the basis of the truck of my dreams. After all, I had lots of home grown "restorations" and one show truck under my belt by now so I figured I was good to go.

Us Body told me that their cab would work with original sheet metal or their stuff, so I pulled the trigger on ordering a cab. You can check out their website at www.usbodysource.com. Look at the parts they have for a 40 Ford pickup.

A few weeks later as I was heading to work I spotted an Estes freight truck wandering the streets of my neighborhood and I put 2 and 2 together and guessed that this guy may have my cab. I was right, and soon took delivery on my very own US Body 40 Ford cab.


And I needed something to put it on so I bought this old 86 Ranger for a couple hundred and I managed to sell about 400 bucks worth of parts off it before I junked what I didn't need. I think that was the last time I was ahead dollar-wise on this project.


Once I got the parts either sold off or scrapped, I ended up with a bare 1st generation Ranger chassis

I tore down the frame to the point where there was nothing left for me to remove and then I carted it down to the local monument company who does sandblasting on the side and when I got it back it looked like this :


There were a few spots on the frame that didn't clean up due to thick undercoating. If you ever want to protect anything from sandblasting just cover it with something rubbery like undercoating. From there I cleaned and coated every inch of the chassis with POR 15 and then I re-assembled the chassis with all new parts in the brakes and suspension


[IMG]http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h328/tcianci/rearsuspension.jpg[/I
MG]



What I finally ended up with was this:
Now I had a nice clean roller to start my project on with every bit of the suspension, steering and brakes rebuilt. I sold the Ranger wheels so I borrowed a set of Unilug wheels and tires off my BIL's Chevelle to keep the chassis mobile.
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Last edited by tcianci; 12-02-2012 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Beautiful work so far. Keep it commin!
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Interesting. I'm with Sam. More pictures.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

FINALLY!!!! Keep it coming!!

You guys are gonna love this build.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Looks like a great project. Did you ever think about putting in on a 4 wheel drive chassis.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Well like I said, real sheet metal was supposed to work with this cab, so I started collecting it. I got some doors from a guy in Hemmings, some fenders at swap meets an engine from a Monte Carlo and started mocking stuff up. I needed to figure how exactly to mount this to the Ranger chassis and make it sit like a street rod. It was always my intention to make it look like it could have been built in the 50's, no wild wheels or being slammed to the ground. No chop and plenty of 50's style bling: Wide whites, chrome headlight doors, bumper guards and Unity fog lights. I have seen some mild chops on 40 pickups that look OK but IMHO, you really can't improve a 40 Ford by much, so I decided to make it stock looking.



]
In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a slob. I try to keep a neat work area but usually get so wrapped up in the work that I leave stuff everywhere. Note the junk on the ground and how much more crowded the garage and driveway seems to get as time goes on
I wheeled and dealed body parts until I had some decent stuff to work with. I sold all of the steel fenders and opted for fiberglass units from Wescotts auto restyling in Oregon. First the fronts and then the rears and I finally settled on a decent set of doors and a good hood. That's when I started fabricating body mounts and piecing the body together. I was amazed at how well the steel did fit the fiberglass cab.
[IMG]http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h328/tcianci/caraonthefender.jpg[
/IMG]

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Old 09-08-2012, 10:53 PM   #7
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Spam alert, Slam alert. I hare em and I hate everyone who don't hate em

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Old 09-09-2012, 09:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

I am very interested in your progress
I just traded away a 41 ford p/u for my wife's greenhouse
because I figured it would take me too long to build my truck
and she gives me mostly everything I want without a fight
so show me how wrong I am

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Old 09-09-2012, 10:06 PM   #9
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Well the spam got deleted but my alert is still there. Sorry wasn't calling your build thread spam please continue.

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Old 09-09-2012, 11:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Cool build
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Here is another shot showing the passenger door all hung

The cute kid on the fender is 16 now. She is the one that helped me put the engine and tranny in the truck the last week in June. The engine is a 4.3 TBI Chevy V6 The tranny is a 700R4. The rear end is from the Ford Ranger, 3.45:1 gears. Take a quick look at the panel gaps, I was happy with the way things were fitting together considering all the parts came from different manufacturers and different year trucks. I did some work on the hood to take out some dents and fill in the holes left from the 1941 trim since I was using 40 trim in this case. Then I got the drivers door hung too

Every chance I got, I bolted on more of the chrome and trim not just because it made the truck look more done, but because I was literally building the truck from the outside in, so all I could do is mock up the body the way it is supposed to look and then figure out what I needed to build to keep it there.

An original 40 Ford has the cab hard mounted to the frame with wooden spacers between the cab and frame. I took the rear cab perches off the Ranger frame, reworked them to accept Chevy S-10 cab mount rubber and then re-attached them to the frame so that they would line up with the fiberglass cab. The front cab perches on the frame were shot so I made some new ones, again accepting the S-10 rubber. This is an upside down shot of the rear cab mount


And the front
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:24 AM   #12
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

I'm enjoying this, thanks for taking the time to go back thru your build and post it all.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Once I had the cab where it needed to be, I set out to get the nose attached. I ended up making a inner fender mount for each side out of rubber isolators and allthread. This allowed me to hold the nose from the same points on the inner fenders as a stock truck but also made the height of the nose adjustable. I dialed the nose in so that the gap between the back edge of the hood and the cowl was parallel, that set the height for the nose correctly. Once that was done, I hung the fenders from the hood with little c clamps so I could see how everything would fit together. Here is a shot of the fender mounting hardware.

Take a look at the next picture and you can see that raising or lowering the rubber mount on the allthread would adjust the gap between the cowl and the hood

The rest of the nose consisted of assembling the grille and installing the latch hardware and aligning everything to be sure it all fit.
The headlight buckets were original steel and I cleaned them up and upgraded them with Bob Drake wiring which included a turn signal in the parking light. The grille center is from Drake too. The grille sides and brackets and chin panel are original.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

I'm not sure why those last 2 pics came out small. This computer stuff is a big mystery to me.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:28 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Now that the front was mocked up. I had to deal with the bed. I had an original steel bed and steel fenders. The floor of the bed would have to come out in order to get the bed to line up correctly with the cab and keep the running boards parallel to the bottom edge of the cab. I started thinking about this and started looking at repop beds. I found one manufacturer in Michigan called Northern Classic Trucks. Bob Drake actually turned me on to this guy. He stamps out exact reproductions of the Ford parts so I bought the bed panels and tailgate with no floor for about $1200.00 and I sold my original bed for $1200.00. I think I saved myself a whole lot of work. A little steel angle and some PT 2x4 and I had a new frame for the floor of the bed that could be set in at a height that cleared the rear kick up of the Ranger frame. I was so impressed with the quality of the front fenders I bought from Wescotts that I sold the original steel ones I had too and bought a pair of rears from Wescotts too.


That was the original bed, this is what I bought from Northern Classic Trucks:

At this point the bed has no floor in it. It still doesn't but I bought the materials to finish the floor and it's not what you think


Yup, that's cellular PVC decking. I bought unfinished steel bed strips. Now I'm wishing I had got the stainless steel ones with the hidden slot in the bottom that takes bolts and fastens blind. Oh well.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Looks Great! I give you a hand for keeping with it.
Hope to see the finished pictures!
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:16 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

So, in theory, could you build this on a 4x4 chassis? I'm digging this...
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:04 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Hey Tcianci - please put in a bunch of the pics of all the work you put in on the bock sanding! Of course viewers can also check out tcianci's Public Page, where he has posted a bunch more detailed pics of the build.

Spoiler: it turns out BEAUTIFULLY!!
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:16 AM   #19
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMcC View Post
So, in theory, could you build this on a 4x4 chassis? I'm digging this...
Yeah, there is no real reason not to put it on a 4x4 chassis. The manufacturer of the cab states this as well, but they now also state that nearly any small pickup chassis will work. That's pretty exciting to us Chevy fans but an S-10 frame is much wider and more difficult to make fit under this cab. I have seen a few attempts to put an original 40 on an S-10 chassis and it looked like crap. The Ranger frame is nearly the same width and the track is pretty much the same as an original 40 Ford. For instance: when I went to fabricate the bumper mounting brackets, I found that the space between the assembled bumper brackets was the same as the width of the frame, that was really handy. Also a 40 Ford has a wheelbase of 112", my truck was a SWB Ranger. I'm on a Ranger forum so I will have to verify this but I have a hunch that a LWB Ranger is somewhere about 112". I re-located the rear axle on mine to get the wheelbase correct. More on that one later
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:43 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1940 Ford Pickup Build thread

Now that I had the chassis and body sorted out, it was time for the drivetrain. I'm not a big Ford fan and the engine from the Ranger was dead. The Ranger had a 5 speed and I wanted an automatic anyway. I got a 305 Chevy V8 and a TH350 out of a Monte Carlo so that's where I started. I mocked up the engine in the chassis:

I was all set to try to work with this combo although I really wanted to use an OD tranny and then I inherited an 89 GMC Safari van. The van had a 4.3 TBI V6, 700R4 and the van was complete so I could grab lots of other stuff out of it. The van ran but it had a skip like it had one dead hole. My cousin was the previous owner of the van and I'm sure it received no maintenance at all. I pulled the engine and tranny out of the van and started mocking up the drivetrain based on the V6/700R4 combination. I was planning on rebuilding the 6 but I found a good used engine with 54K on it for 300 bucks so I bought it and did a "Rattle Can Rebuild" with Krylon in Chevy Orange.

As you can tell from the dust, the engine has been sitting around many years since I first out it on that stand but I would crank it every once in a while.
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