Just Build 'Em & Drive 'Em
I have been fascinated by anything with wheels since I crawled. I grew up on a small farm in northwest Ohio where my education was riding on tractors, farm wagons, and 1950's and 1960's trucks. I didn't go to preschool like the other youngsters. Back in the early 1970's, there were a lot of these Effies running around, especially grain trucks. My grandfather had a '51 Ford F-6 flathead V-8 that hauled grain at harvest time, and my dad had a '55 Chevy second series pickup and a '67 Ford F-250.
I'm writing in regards to the guy who complained about Japanese vehicles. I work at a factory that makes and supplies parts for Honda, which has plants in Ohio, Indiana, Canada, and Mexico. Back when news hit about the Big Three having financial problems, people were blaming Japanese companies. A Toledo TV station did a report and found out there were more American parts in a Honda or a Toyota car than were in a Ford or a GM. People think just because it says Nissan, it is made in Japan; not so. The Japanese have plants in the U.S. and the majority of these vehicles that are sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S. You should be able to build what you want to build. During the week I drive a '01 Nissan car to save on gas to my job. But on the weekend I drive a '79 Ford truck to haul my firewood, and I'm in the process of restoring a '53 IH pickup.
I totally agree with you regarding building what you want. The whole idea behind the hobby is good clean fun-OK, sometimes not so clean, but ya know what I mean. That '53 IH sounds like an interesting project, I'd love to see some pictures-off-brand classic trucks are often a breath of fresh air so to speak, and we enjoy seeing 'em whenever we can.
I have been reading CLASSIC TRUCKS since it came out. I noticed some words in a recent letter like "desecrating American iron," and "Chevy engine in a Ford." I don't recall the name of the sender, but I'll call him George. I guess I could be accused of voicing some of those things over the years, but the funny part is that everything worked and worked well. We (that includes all those I have worked with and advised over the past 75-plus years) put Oldsmobile and Cadillac engines in Fords, Chevrolets, and Mercurys with LaSalle or Packard transmissions; B&M wasn't on the scene yet. This was done before the Chevy V-8 and the Ford Y-block came on the scene. George would have gone crazy if he was old enough to have seen those. We even put a '56 VW body on homemade frame with Chevy V-8 engine (1958) it worked well. Then, there were the V-8 Studebakers in the little CJ Jeeps. At the time Hot Rod magazine wasn't very old, yet it was the bible for the time. I wonder if George has seen those Chevy valve covers with Ford on them at rod meets. Most of the viewing public doesn't know the difference. Anyway, as far as those cars from over there, my daily around town beater is a 35-year-old 300K VW bug. You folks at CLASSIC TRUCKS keep up the good work. Oh yes, George, my truck is a '42 Ford early-series (built in late 1941) with a Chevy V-8.
Kudos. Like I've always said, build what ya want and drive what ya built!
Real-World Classic Trucks
Got my February issue of Classic Trucks today and totally agree with your Driver's Seat comments. There are thousands of us who build and drive our trucks (and cars) ourselves, and most of us don't have much chance of seeing our truck in a magazine. The zillion-dollar, shop-built trucks get the glory, and understandably so as aftermarket advertising pays the bills, but we build some damn fine vehicles and often use innovative techniques that don't cost an arm and a leg. Attached is a picture of my '47 Studebaker truck. With the exception of engine machine work (it's a built Studebaker V-8) and upholstery, it is completely home built including bodywork and paint. I drive it, too-17,000 miles in the last four years.
Now here is a challenge for you-build an off-brand truck, not a Ford or a Chevy. There are quite a few '40-50s Studebaker, International, and Dodge trucks still around, and even a few Hudsons and other rarities. Do something different, something that requires innovation, not just purchasing made-to-fit aftermarket parts. Glad to have you back, Jeff Jones
What can I say, except homebuilt real-world cars and trucks are the bread and butter of the hobby-and the industry as well. As far as building an off-brand project truck-I may just do that some day. Right now though, I've got my hands full with the '57 Chevy small-window that my pal Tim gave me recently. Maybe when I finish that one. RIZ
P.S. It's great to be back!