It’s pretty amazing when you step back and think about just how vast our automotive hobby has become. From classic trucks to hot rods, customs to muscle cars, resto’s, and even euro models, there are endless arrays of models, and parts suppliers to support each and every facet. While some owners tend to be diehard purists to a particular genre, others have no problem broadening their perspectives by crossing lines to enjoy other styles as well. Phil Mead of Lewes, Delaware, has had sports cars running deep in his veins ever since he can remember.
Having wrenched and restored numerous marques over the years including vintage MG’s, Healey’s, and Porsche’s, there’s no doubt which styles sparked his magneto. Upon completion of a Factory Five Racing Mk1 roadster a number of years ago, he and his wife Tonyea attended countless car shows and cruise nights thoroughly enjoying the car. While attending the events, Tonyea always had her camera in hand and gradually began to assemble a portfolio of classic trucks which fascinated her because of their vintage styling and raw practicality. While Phil had never taken on the build of a classic truck before, he saw the allure they held for Tonyea, and it was obvious the next build would be for her. While pondering the endless photos she had accumulated, Tonyea found that while she really enjoyed the ’40s-era offerings from Ford and Chevy, it was the less-often seen models which really captured her attention. The pair then began a search for a suitable donor via the Internet and through local listings for a model that would be the perfect base to start with. A listing for a ’41 Dodge in nearby Maryland showed promise as it was a low-buck offering combined with a bevy of neat features and classic lines. Upon arrival, the non-runner showed that it had indeed seen better days but something about the truck called out to Tonyea so a deal was made and her gem was hauled home to start its resurrection.
With the truck now sitting in their home shop, Phil had his sights on chopping the cab and building it Pro-Street-style when Tonyea stepped in and took over the design reigns as her vision was the absolute opposite. In her eyes, she saw the truck more organic and natural with its lines cleaned up a bit combined with neat stance and full drivability. The formula was simple … no chop, no channel, no tubs, and certainly no ’bags! With the haulers future now dialed in, Phil wasted no time in tearing the truck down to its bare bones to evaluate its overall condition. Typical of an old, abused work vehicle there were numerous areas that would require loads of attention. While the cab was relatively solid, the bed and running boards were rusted beyond repair, the front fenders had gaping rust holes, and the rear fenders had dents all over the size of golf balls. With his game plan sorted out, Phil got busy by first reworking the original spine to create a rock-solid base for the project to rise from. After blasting it clean, it was boxed and C’d out back to prepare it for a through reworking. To get its nose-in-the dirt and make it handle like it was attached to rails a Fatman Fabrications IFS was incorporated along with a ’90 Ford Mustang power rack-and-pinion combined with additional crossmembers to help stiffen up the chassis. Out back, Phil rebuilt a Ford 8.8-inch rear, packed it with 4.10:1 cogs and suspended it in place with a combination of Posies Super Slide springs and Pete & Jakes tube shocks.
To bring plenty of braking power to the mix, a Corvette master pushes fluid through steel lines to Mustang discs anchored at each corner. In keeping with the traditional theme of the truck, Tonyea contacted the Wheel Smith for a set of 16x7 front and 16x8 rear steelies and wrapped them in Diamond Back wide whites accented by signature Dodge caps for a timeless look. With the chassis complete, Phil focused on dialing in the right power combination to give the truck plenty of streetable horsepower. A ’95 Chevy, four-bolt main, 350ci mill was located on eBay, having been recently rebuilt by a small trade school in New York. Phil picked up the engine for the right price and then went through it, adding a few additional tweaks. Inside a forged crank spins PM rods and TRW slugs while a COMP Cams stick sets the thump. A ’90 Corvette TPI manages the fuel and block hugger headers dump spent gasses through an owner-fabbed custom 2½-inch steel exhaust. Additional goodies like Cool Flex hoses, Alan Grove brackets, a K&N air cleaner, and homespun powder coating add the final icing to the engine. Coupled to a Chevy 700R4 trans linked to a Denny’s driveshaft the truck puts down just over 400hp to the street.