It probably wasn't long after the first delivery vehicle rolled out of a coachbuilder's shop that a sign painter went at its side with a brush.
It's because delivery vehicles-especially those with big slabby sides-are the perfect billboards. Lumbering around on the streets where they're incapable of being ignored, they deliver the message to the people.
But this '37 Ford bears a different kind of proof, the tasty kind: It delivers beer. And rather than in cases, kegs, or cans, it dispenses it in pints. In fact, it's a self-contained, 10-tap tavern on wheels
It belongs to Terry Caudill, who owns Magoo's Gaming Group. Terry's company has several Nevada gaming resorts, including two casinos from Las Vegas' Golden Age: Binion's Gambling Hall (established 1951) and Four Queens Hotel and Casino (established 1966).
But the truck owes its existence to another one of Terry's other ventures: Chicago Brewing Company. Chicago uses the truck exclusively to promote its boutique beer line. Whether it's St. Patrick's Day, the NASCAR Weekend at the local speedway, or a microbrew taste-off, it's there dispensing palatable proof of its brewer's art.
That isn't the only art of which this truck bears proof. Almost exclusively behind its construction is Scott Gafforini. In fact, one could say he's the inspiration for it.
Above and beyond being a car builder, Scott races NASCAR. In fact, Magoo's Gaming Group has sponsored his Super Late Model entry for a dozen years. But one day, a few years ago, he was bench racing with the head of Chicago Brewing, a guy with hands-down the best surname for anyone connected to the brewing industry, Tim Lager. "I told him, 'Maybe we should build an old beer truck for Chicago Brewing,'" Scott says. "They have all these old pictures on the walls from the Prohibition, so it would fit right in."
As it just so happened, one of the company's latest formulas, an amber brew called Ramblin' Reck, had such a truck on its logo. It wasn't long after that rap session that Scott got a sketch of it from the company's art department. And along with that sketch came a commission: Build a truck that looked just like the one on the logo.
The truck started as a Vineyard Green 2 1/2-ton flatbed, one of the many commercial trucks that retired contractor and car collector Art Goldstrom had salted away over the years. With the understanding that people who'd never even seen a '30s Ford truck would be driving it, Scott dispensed with the majority of the original chassis. Instead he cut up an '86 Chevrolet 1-ton truck chassis and lengthened it with sections from the '37. As luck would have it, the Chevrolet's wheel track put the tires just inside the wells.
Bolted between these 'rails is a 517 big-block built from the remnants of a 502 from one of the race team's former tow rigs. Though it's a fairly mild oval-port engine with a modest cam and tow-friendly compression, it bears enough load to require a healthy transmission. "It's a 700-R4 ..." Scott explains, "...but we had to build it like a race trans. So it's got things like Kevlar bands and an aftermarket main shaft." Naturally it feeds a GM corporate 14-bolt axle from the '86 chassis.
Cracked fenders withstanding, the '37 body was an incredibly intact desert survivor. Frank "Magoo" Roberts set it straight, tuned its lines, and prepped it for paint. The finish is PPG Concept with black for the fenders and Regency Red, a color from Jaguar's glory days, on the cab.
When Scott set out to build the truck, he based much of his game plan on a similar beer truck that he saw at Disneyland's California Adventure theme park. In fact, he even acquired a similar roll-side box from a retired Miller truck. But against the smaller Ford cab it was just too big. So Scott made one from scratch.
The basis for the box is a skeleton of 1x2 steel tubing with an 18-gauge aluminum skin. He floored it with 3/16-inch aluminum plate, raising the areas under the tubs for easy cleanout. Rather than roll up into the truck, the side panels that Scott devised flip out to create their own awnings. Once lined with rigid polyurethane insulating foam and paneled with plastic cladding, he turned it over to Chicago's beverage-plumbing contractor for a full stainless tap system.
But what's truly amazing about this truck is the time it took to build it. Working between race seasons, Scott and a very limited crew of friends and helpers built it in four months. In fact, though its primary radiator wasn't quite up to the task, he didn't even have a day to spare after he installed the secondary cooler before he had to load it up and drive it to its first event. It was in Reno, nearly 450 miles away, and it was 100-plus degrees outside.
And since then it's never spilled a drop ... unless it went into a cup.