Somehow an affair with a classic truck only seems to get better with age when you get a chance to look back at your life's experiences that came about thanks to that cool piece of vintage steel you spend so much time with. Whether it was a cross-country cruise, a hop to the local doughnut shop, or hanging out at the beach with good friends, your hauler was always there.
For Ric Wrenchey of Clermont, Florida, 12 years and almost 50,000 miles can tell some great stories when you sit down to have a cold one and think about it. It must have been all the time spent with dear old dad, Bud, while frequenting his best friend's garage that prepared him for one wicked journey that embroiled him in the hobby ever since he fell hard at age 12 for a '41 Ford pickup his Dad dragged home one afternoon. As he moved on, he never forgot that truck, even when he was crewing for the Lewis & Rolstad Saturn V A/A Fuel dragster during the '60s in Seattle, Washington, as a teen. While his personal time spent racing included a wild '59 Volvo C Altered that constantly ran in the 10s thanks to a built 289-inch Ford with Webbers and Mondello heads, trucks were always a mainstay in his life ever since he purchased his very first '49 Ford before he could even drive.
Having loads of trucks in his rearview mirror as the years passed, it wasn't until he was living in California in '95 that he came across his personal holy grail. Locating a respectable '41 Ford wasn't easy for Ric, even being on the West Coast, but when he answered an ad for one up north in Redding, he came away with a truck that would let him flex his capabilities as a builder as he worked to bring it to the next level.
After tweaking it enough to use as his daily driver till '97, when he relocated to Florida, the combination of a 289 Ford linked to a C-4 proved to have too many issues, causing the fatalities of four transmissions in a short timeframe. This was enough for Ric to decide it was time for a total teardown and redo to build the truck the way he had always envisioned it.
With everything finally apart, Ric began focusing on the Ford's tired old spine. He decided to fully box it to add additional strength while updating all the suspension components with help from his good friend Dan Porter, who helped out with much of the critical welding.
To complete the project, the truck needed some new threads inside, so Ric brought it over to P&B Custom Upholstery in Minneola, Florida, to work their magic, laying down yards of rolled orange marine vinyl accented by off-white trim and orange loop carpeting. So as to add a final touch of class, Ric fabbed up a custom dash insert polished to perfection and filled with both Stewart Warner and Auto Meter gauges to keep track of any vitals, while a Southern Air unit keeps everything inside extra cool.
Ric was able to use the truck as his daily driver for some 40,000 miles till an unfortunate accident wrecked it. It was time for another redo, this time with the help of Tazz Customizing (also in Minneola), who gave it another life, reshot the original decadent coating, and topped it with ghost flames, giving it even more personality. With the odometer fast approaching 50,000 miles, we couldn't think of a better daily driver with a great story to tell in our recent memory...dig it!
So the truck would handle like it was glued to the pavement, he made a call to Fatman Fabrications for one of their IFS setups and combined it with a Chassis Engineering antiroll bar and Carrera coilover shocks. Out back, he added a fresh set of Chassis Engineering leaf springs to the mix, complemented by a matching antiroll bar and Gabriel shocks to smooth out the bumps.
To add plenty of neck-snapping "go" to the mix, Ric decided to keep a Ford in a Ford when he was joined by Dan Erminger and Randy Eckenroth, who helped nail a 302-inch SVO V-8 between the 'rails, with plenty of heavy breathing thanks to Edelbrock and shifting from a modified Ford AOD tranny. Putting the power to a limited-slip Ford 8-inch rear, there had to be plenty of whoa when duty called, so he updated the brakes with an ECI 11-inch front disc setup and 10-inch Ford drums out back, while Wheel Vintiques steelies shod with Diamond Back wide whites bring it all home. To give the truck some mellow tones, he then fabbed up a 2 1/4-inch exhaust with a set of Flowmasters to keep it all legal, even though he really wanted it to sound like his old Altered!
When it came time to address the body, Ric pulled out all the stops by doing a full restoration himself, which included replacing all the floors, adding a new firewall and a rolled rear pan, repairing any nagging rust, and blocking the body to perfection. To add the vibrancy he always wanted, he contacted RM to mix up some of their eye-searing Dino Russo Red, which has a really killer orange vibe that he laid down to give the truck its signature look.
|Facts & Figures|
|1941 Ford Commercial|
|Frame:|| stock |
|Modifications:|| boxed 'rails |
|Rearend / Ratio:|| Ford 8" / 4.11:1 limited slip |
|Rear suspension:|| Chassis Engineering leaf springs & antiroll bar, Gabriel shocks |
|Rear brakes:|| Ford 10" drum |
|Front suspension:|| Fatman IFS, Carrera coilovers, Chassis Engineering antiroll bar |
|Front brakes:|| ECI 11" disc |
|Steering:|| Unisteer power rack-and-pinion |
|Front wheels:|| Wheel Vintiques steelie, 15x7 |
|Rear wheels:|| Wheel Vintiques steelie, 15x8 |
|Front tires:|| Diamond Back, 205/60R15 |
|Rear tires:|| Diamond Back, 275/60R15 |
|Gas tank:|| stock |
|Engine:|| 302ci Ford SVO |
|Heads:|| Edelbrock aluminum |
|Valve covers:|| Ford Motorsport |
|Manifold / Induction:|| Edelbrock / Edelbrock 600cfm |
|Ignition:|| Ford, Pertronix ignitor |
|Headers:|| Ford Motorsport |
|Exhaust / Mufflers:|| custom 2 1/4" / Flowmaster |
|Transmission:|| Ford AOD |
|Modifications:|| TransGo shift kit |
|Shifter:|| Gennie ||BODY |
|Style:|| 1/2-ton Commercial |
|Modifications:|| Hagan gas door, rolled rear pan, V-butted windshield |
|Fenders front / rear:|| stock |
|Hood:|| stock |
|Grille:|| stock |
|Bed:|| stock |
|Bodywork and paint by:|| owner & Tazz Customizing, Minneola, FL |
|Paint type / Color:|| RM / Dino Russo with PPG Vibrance orange ghost flames |
|Headlights / Taillights:|| Bob Drake '39 Ford / stock |
|Outside mirrors:|| stock |
|Bumpers:|| stock |
|Dashboard:|| stock with custom insert by owner |
|Gauge:|| Stewart Warner & Auto Meter |
|Air conditioning:|| Southern Air |
|Stereo:|| Kenwood |
|Steering wheel:|| Lecarra |
|Steering column:|| ididit tilt |
|Seat:|| stock bench |
|Upholstery by:|| P&B Custom Upholstery, Minneola, FL |
|Material / Color:|| marine vinyl / orange & off white |
|Carpet:|| custom orange loop |