What do you do when you've had an old truck for over 20 years and it's served you well, but you've retired and think it should, too? Sell it and sit around watching Matlock or take up gardening with all your new free time? No, you put it on the street and have fun with it, that's what! Joe Ellington of Yatesville, Georgia, crossed this bridge a few years ago with his trusty '46 Ford pickup.

He bought the often-overlooked Ford back in the early '80s, and since then it has undergone a few different transformations to suit Joe's needs; at one point it even donned a flatbed. Around the same time 10 years ago, Joe had an old hot rodder by the name of Bobby Dykes, who has a great wealth of knowledge, install a '70 Nova clip in the '46. Along with the newer frontend came the Nova power steering, disc brakes, a tilt column from an '82 Buick Riviera, and the addition of a fairly stock '78 Chevy 350/Turbo 350 combo to keep the truck pulling its weight.

A decade later, Joe wanted to make a more practical cruiser out of the truck that he could drive comfortably around Georgia, so he took it to Jim Vaughn, who owns New Style Fabrication in Yatesville, to begin the transformation. Aside from the work Jim had in front of him, Joe had his own assignment-find a good steel bed and rear fenders. This was important to Joe, seeing that he wasn't going to resort to using any fiberglass on the '46. Joe wound up buying a whole parts truck out of Kansas, because finding rust-free tin in Georgia or its surrounding areas can be tricky, to say the least. Once Jim got the bulk of the truck whipped into shape, it was sent to a fellow by the name of Jeff Parrott to be sprayed in PPG's Ford Niles Blue Green before installing the Vintage Air A/C, Dakota Digital gauges, and '03 PT Cruiser seats covered in gray leather by Mike's Upholstery in Thomaston, Georgia. In the shortened bed there now lay seven carefully finished planks of light ash that hide the aluminum 15-gallon gas tank.

With all the hard stuff out of the way, Joe has plenty of time to drive and enjoy the '46-it looks like it was worth keeping all these years!