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It seems there are a growing number of readers who are putting a considerable amount of work into saving their panel trucks, so we bring you another this month.
Earl Davis lives in Barrow, Alaska, and has owned his '52 Ford panel for the better part of 37 years. Over the last decade he and his friend Zane Mangum have been trying to repair the damage of rear-ending a school bus nearly 20 years earlier; luckily, no one was hurt except the old Ford. "The Duke," as Earl's wife calls it, wound up with a bent frame and no real useable frontend sheetmetal, to say the least, so it sat in their backyard for over two decades until the boys got to work. While the Ford is really a '52, the only frontend Earl could get his hands on up in Alaska came from a '49 Ford school bus-how ironic. They put the front suspension from a Cordova in the rebuilt chassis and custom-made mounts and headers to suit. They opted to put a 454 Chevy and automatic in the panel and hung a 9-inch under the spacious rear with a Ford posi-trac in it. The big-block retained its factory TBI complete with the computer and has plenty of power to spin the Vintage Air A/C in the summertime, while the six-way electric seats keep its occupants very comfortable. They even installed a bench seat in the rear to bring the whole gang with them to shows or cruises. The radiator was built in Boise, as was the driveline, but everything else was done by Earl and Zane, who are both in their mid-50s.
Earl noted that he's quite grateful to LMC Truck and Obsolete Ford Parts in Oklahoma City for all the things he's bought from them to make the build possible. While the '52 is still a work in progress, the Davises have logged plenty of miles on the odometer already and have just begun their journeys. See you around!