By January 2001, we had all of the basic parts needed to build the truck, and we knew what it was going to look like. We obviously had the cab, already mentioned, we had also picked up an original '29 pickup bed, and we had a donor car for the running gear.
We had decided from the start that although we'd have liked a V8, we were building a hot rod driver, so we wanted something that we could afford to rack up the miles in. Remember that this is 'rip-off Britain', and we suffer from some of the most expensive petrol in the world! We've also got some of the worst-congested roads, not just in towns and cities, so a lot of time can be spent idling on main trunk routes and motorways. Well, Model A's originally came with four-pot power, so why not go with the same? More cars in Britain have four cylinder engines than any other configuration, so finding a suitable donor should be easy enough.
Initially, the obvious choice seemed to be Ford - 2.0 ltr Pinto-power made sense. There are any number of them out there, along with manual and automatic transmissions to fit, and all the ancilliaries you could ever need. On the other hand, why not use something a bit more unusual?
Mmmm, what about a 2.0 ltr Alfa?
That's it. That's what we'll use. We've always liked the early Alfa Romeo GT Junior and GTV coupes, the engine is supposed to be responsive, they have a five-speed gearbox, and a nice-looking rear axle. So, a short while peeking at the classifieds in classic car magazines, and a bit of web-searching followed by some negotiation, resulted in a 1974 Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Veloce being parked in the back yard. It used the same running gear as a GT, and that was all we really needed. It was an abandoned restoration project - someone had welded lots of new panels and patches to the shell, but the underside was rusty as anything, and the owner had given up with it.
The inspiration for this look? While browsing through an old Hot Rod Annual - from 1959 - there it was: that was the look! Page 86 featured this chopped and severely channeled '34 drag pickup. It just looks great. OK, it's not a Model A, but it has got an early-style pickup bed, and anyway, we don't want a clone, just something in that sort of style.
Talking of clones, there's a feature on a copy of this truck featured in the March 2004 issue of Street Rodder magazine. We're not over-keen on clone-cars, but this one has been very well done, and the builder did it out of a genuine love of the original, that seems to have gone forever.
Something else was also becoming apparent: we seemed to be building two different hot rods! To find out why, start with the chassis build-up.