Remember when you were a kid and you'd visit the local hobby shop to cash in some lawn-mowing money by grabbing a plastic model kit to get busy building on a Saturday afternoon? When you got home and opened the box, everything was right inside, from the cab to the rubber and everything in between, all hung on those plastic trees just ripe for the plucking! The challenge was certainly there, and you were ready to give it a run for the money, especially on a rainy day. Classic truck owners face numerous challenges of their own when they buy into a project, depending on where they choose to start. While some are fortunate enough to get rolling with a complete turnkey truck, others are brave enough to start with something that still resembles a truck, but just so happens to be a proverbial basketcase. Then there are the builders who live for the challenge-these are the bravest individuals of the bunch who set out to find the best possible pieces to start their buildup from scratch, whether the parts are located locally or halfway across the country. Jim Lowrey Sr. is the kind of enthusiast who just so happens to live for the quest to find the very best parts available when he decides he's going to undertake a project.
Jim's a seasoned veteran, having opened his first repair shop way back in 1960 in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, where he tended to plenty of mechanical work on a daily basis, but it was the saturation of hot rods being built in the shop that took hold of his soul at an early age and never let him go. As the years passed, he ran a Mobil gas station before settling in and opening a full-service collision shop. Hot rods were still a major focus within the shop, but antique restoration kept a close balance between the two, with numerous Pebble Beach-level rides eventually rolling out of the shop bays.
Not too long ago, Jim decided to take a breather from the hectic daily grind and move into semi-retirement, where he could focus on one buildup a year. Does he still build hot rods? Oh yeah, and his most recent is a 310-inch Flathead-powered Deuce roadster. This latest undertaking was fed by Jim's decision to finally build a neat shop truck he could haul with and use to cruise the strip.
Always striving to find the best possible starting point for a project, Jim set out to locate a suitable cab, which led him all the way to Michigan. Numerous other major pieces, such as the bed, nose, and chassis, came home after visiting swapmeets in York, Pennsylvania, and other well-known East Coast venues.
Once he had accrued enough steel, Jim began with the restoration and rebirth of an original Ford chassis. He loaded it up with Henry's goods like a stock beam axle linked to a factory wishbone and spring up front, while out back a stock '40 Ford rear with matching shocks and springs made the scene. Stock drum brakes were rebuilt and restored, making sure the hauler would be able to stop on a dime.
The truck would look showroom fresh on the outside, but this inner hot rodder made a play for plenty of horsepower under the hood, starting with a '47 Ford Flathead V-8 Jim proceeded to open up to 276 cubic inches. Feeling the need for speed, Jim filled it with a 4-inch Merc crank, while a Winfield stick carried the thump and a set of hopped-up Offy heads brought plenty of heavy breathing to the mix, sucking loads of air through a matching Offy two-pot intake topped with a pair of Stromberg 97s. Blasting through the gears linked to a '40 Ford trans will give it plenty of go, especially at higher rpm, with a Columbia 2 two-speed overdrive matched to the '40 Ford rearend.
With the base of the truck complete, Jim cherried out all the vintage sheetmetal before laying down a decadent coating of Go-Fast Maroon, while vibrant red accents make everything pop. Inside the bed, you'll find plenty of lustrous oak that gives it a neat level of classic good looks while rolling on 16-inch Firestone wide whites. No restoration is complete without a comfy business office, and Jim looked to LeBaron Bonney for the needed tan vinyl upholstery to wrap it all up in style. With the truck now on the road and putting down countless miles, we can hardly wait to see what rolls out of Jim's shop next. Whatever it is, you can rest assured it will have just enough devilish hot rod inspiration to keep it full of excitement.