. . . Well, perhaps not that long ago. The start of this hot rod was an original Ford-script tail light, picked up for a couple of quid in October 1999 at a bike jumble. Of course, the real story started back in the early Seventies with a visit to the pictures to see 'American Graffiti' - George Lucas can be thanked for turning many a person onto hot rods, especially in countries outside the USA.
Job-changes and house moves, and messing about with old bikes, had meant not having a cool four-wheeled ride for a couple of years. Not the end of the world, especially living in 'rip-off Britain' with about the highest petrol prices around. And, let's be honest, it's not much more fun cruisin' in the rain in a car, than it is on two wheels!
Still, the hankering was there for something new, but old. Five-window coupes have always been favourites, especially A's and B's. And they haven't got suicide doors - if there's one thing wrong with early Ford three-windows, it's the suicide doors. And, while we're on the subject, why do so many people convert perfectly good '41 Willys doors to open back-to-front? If you have access to the March 1979 issue of Street Rodder magazine (www.streetrodderweb.com), you can find this flamed five-window on page 61: unfortunately there's no credit for the photo, but it just looks bad. As does Milner's yellow '32 in 'Graffiti.
And, of course, pickups have always been cool. And probably always will be.
Then a phone number for someone selling a 'glass pickup cab was noted at Surrey Street Rodders' (www.surreystreetrodders.fsnet.co.uk) annual 'Wheels Day' show at Brooklands, on Good Friday of 2000. A phone call to the seller revealed what sounded like quite a good replica '29-A body, partially wooded, but at what initially seemed a high price. Also, being in the middle of a Triumph Bonneville engine re-build meant limited availability of funds at the time.
A couple of months later the Triumph was finished, and no other project had been found, except an old 70's T-bucket that had potential, but was far too expensive considering the amount of work needed to make it roadworthy (like, throw away the chassis and start again). Looking at other bodies and parts had indicated that the '29 cab was probably worth a look if it was still available. After a frantic search for the phone number, a call revealed it had not been sold, so a trip down to Guildford was arranged.
To cut a long story short, a deal was made, and the body was delivered to its new home at the beginning of July 2000. That was it - decision made - a hot rod pickup! Now the hard work began, starting with the chassis.
Of course, once construction began, the ideas started flowing . . .