Build­ing a Mem­ory

A Child­hood Mem­ory Put This Model A Pickup in Mo­tion

Street Rodder - - Contents - BY TODD RYDEN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY THE AU­THOR

Gary Alum­baugh’s ’28 Ford pickup

It’s safe to say that the ma­jor­ity of younger guys who are into street rods were likely in­flu­enced by their dad, an un­cle, or an­other fam­ily mem­ber. The rest prob­a­bly got into the hobby through friends or maybe through the last­ing im­pres­sion of the lead car in a movie or TV show, such a Charger, Mus­tang, primered ’55 Chevys, yel­low coupes, or, of course, black Trans Ams. Gary Alum­baugh falls into our ma­jor­ity group, with credit go­ing to his hot rod fa­ther, Gene, for his street rod bent and his will­ing­ness to sweat the de­tails on his nu­mer­ous projects. Gary spent much of his early child­hood in the back seat of a ’33 sedan cruis­ing to and hang­ing out at shows around their Swartz Creek, Michi­gan, home. He’s even keenly aware of see­ing a ’29 Ford pickup at the In­di­anapo­lis Goodguys show and dig­ging the tall fac­tory roofline and the swoopy fend­ers. At that point, he knew he’d have one some­day.

Not only does Gary credit his dad, who died in 2010, for his street rod­ding genes, but he also got lucky in the fact that his fa­ther in-law, John Olay, is also a hard-core hot rod­der with many builds to his credit. In fact, Gary’s wife, Amy, also spent many years as a child rid­ing around in the back seat of a street rod go­ing to shows, so she un­der­stands the hobby and pas­sion for hot rods that Gary pos­sesses.

That Model A pickup left quite an im­pres­sion on young Gary and even years later he still thought about build­ing his own and how it would come to­gether. Fi­nally, a ’28 cab popped up for sale in his re­gion, and even though he was in the thick of build­ing a two-door ’64 Chev­elle wagon, he couldn’t pass it up. Af­ter all, it was close; it was a steel ’28 in fair con­di­tion. He couldn’t say no to that, now could he?

The plan was to store the cab for a while and fin­ish the wagon, but soon an­other “too good to pass up” deal on a chas­sis cropped up lo­cally. But this wasn’t a fac­tory cast-off frame, it was a Brookville Road­ster frame from a project that had gone awry. Again, how could Gary pass that up?

“I planned to just set the cab on the chas­sis and stick it all in stor­age,” Gary says. “Then all of a sud­den I had a set of fend­ers clamped in place fol­lowed by an en­gine mocked up. It snow­balled from there!” At that point, the Chev­elle was pushed into the cor­ner and work be­gan in earnest on the pickup.

There was never a plan to chop the top so Gary and his fa­ther in-law set about mod­i­fy­ing the chas­sis to get a lower stance. He kicked up the rear sec­tion an­other 2 inches and changed to hair­pins in the front for a lit­tle ex­tra ground clear­ance. The front sus­pen­sion con­sists of a 4-inch drop Mag­num tube axle, a set of Posies’ Su­per Slide springs and hair­pins. In look­ing un­der the truck you’ll no­tice that noth­ing hangs down or comes into sight, not to

men­tion every­thing is pow­der­coated and com­ple­mented with stain­less hard­ware.

If you no­ticed the lack of a pair of rear cylin­ders on the en­gine, it’s due to the fact that a 4.3L V-6 would pro­vide a bit more legroom than a small-block. And with such a light ve­hi­cle, Gary fig­ured the six would pack plenty of power. Just to make sure, he and his pal, Pa­trick Mon­aghan, swapped in a lumpier Edel­brock cam and roller rock­ers along with a four-bar­rel in­take and Quick Fuel 450-cfm carb. A set of head­ers, bul­let-style muf­flers, and cus­tom dual ex­haust ac­tu­ally give the V-6 a solid hot rod tone.

With the chas­sis and driv­e­train com­ing to­gether, Gary fo­cused on the orig­i­nal Ford cab. He blended in a cus­tom vi­sor formed of steel and crafted a wood roof with a cus­tom birch inset be­fore cov­er­ing it in black con­vert­ible top ma­te­rial. He was able to save all of the wood door pil­lars and fin­ished them with a cin­na­mon stain. The bed was smoothed, hinges were moved in­side, and brack­ets stripped, which were all the kind of sub­tle hot rod touches that Gary knew his dad would ap­prove of.

A lot of work was done to lay the fend­ers down a bit, in­clud­ing mod­i­fy­ing the fen­der braces and the stain­less light bar, which now se­cures a set of ’34 Ford com­mer­cial lamp as­sem­blies. The run­ning board belt­line also had to be re­worked to meld with the repo­si­tioned fend­ers. The hood is four pieces with deuce hinges and stain­less spears on the front and back. With the cus­tom body mods, Gary leaned on his friend Brad Davis of Red’s Body­works to

help with the fin­ish work be­fore spray­ing the Brook­lands Green basecoat/clearcoat.

Back in his home garage, the fi­nal as­sem­bly be­gan. Gary’s hot rod­ding pal Josh Adams spent a lot of time crunched un­der the dash to wire the elec­tri­cal com­po­nents as Gary crafted all the cab pan­els of the in­te­rior. The kick pan­els and bind­ing of the Ger­man square-weave car­pet were han­dled by his friend

Brian Willing­ham of BW Up­hol­stery in Phoenix and every­thing was covered in buck-col­ored Car­rara vinyl with the help of Kim “Bones” Lonesway of Bone-a-Fied Up­hol­stery in nearby Flint.

The ’28 has been on the street for three years now rack­ing up many miles in the sum­mer months as he and Amy at­tend a num­ber of events across the re­gion. With the help of his friends and di­rec­tion from his fa­ther-in-law, Gary was able to com­plete the truck in just about a year’s time. The amount of de­tails and hand­crafted de­tails that he com­pleted make the truck a gen­uine, one-of-a-kind build.

The cat­a­lyst to build a ’28 pickup was cast sim­ply by a young kid notic­ing a cool truck at a car show with his dad. Twenty years later, Gary’s cruis­ing a fine lit­tle Model A that he built with his own hands, sweat­ing the de­tails in his garage just like his old man did a gen­er­a­tion ago.

For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence:

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