In the world of au­to­mo­tive mag­a­zines, mis­in­for­ma­tion is rife. Some­times it takes the form of in­flated power fig­ures; other times it re­lates to a ve­hi­cle’s le­gal sta­tus on New Zealand roads; and, in a few cases, it con­cerns a per­son’s in­ten­tions with a ve­hi­cle. What­ever the mat­ter, we can con­clude that the av­er­age Kiwi car owner loves to spin a good yarn. Dave Pol­wart is not the av­er­age Kiwi car guy, though. He’s a no-bull­shit type of dude, so, when he says he’s go­ing to daily-drive the 1940 Ford pickup you’re see­ing on these pages, you’d best be­lieve it. “I was look­ing around for a new daily, and wanted some­thing dif­fer­ent. I was look­ing at Ford Rangers and that sort of stuff, but I de­cided to go away from that and [go] for some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent,” he ex­plains. “I liked the shape of the 1940 Ford — to me, it’s al­ways been the most at­trac­tive pickup.” Dave al­ready knew that, when it came time for the ac­tual build, the truck would be straight to Ian Kenyon at Ob­ses­sion Mus­cle­cars — a tal­ented car builder, Ian has done plenty of work for Dave, and al­ways to the stan­dard that he ex­pects. It is Ian who Dave cred­its with get­ting his wild ’69 Ford Mus­tang — fea­tured on the cover of NZV8 Is­sue No. 28 — to where he wanted it to be. If you’ve had the priv­i­lege of see­ing the Mus­tang in per­son, you’ll know just what a job that must have been. “The real good thing about Ian, and Adam his off­sider, is that he seems to have the same taste as me — we have very sim­i­lar taste,” Dave says. “He knew what level I was on with this, and how far I wanted to go with it. Even with the Muzzy build, he talked me out of a few things [that] I wanted to do with it, just to give it a bit more sub­tlety. He’s re­ally quite clever.” With the builder de­cided, the next step was to find a suit­able can­di­date. Rather than look for lo­cal of­fer­ings, Dave headed straight on­line to find the best pos­si­ble base to build on. As it turned out, an old fella in Texas had just the ticket, with a list­ing for a good-con­di­tion 1940 Ford pickup on a full To­tal Cost In­volved (TCI) En­gi­neer­ing chas­sis — a project that he had re­signed him­self to not be­ing able to com­plete, and the per­fect foun­da­tion for a re­fined daily-driver. “I re­searched it all be­fore buy­ing the truck,” Dave ex­plains. “I asked Ian, who asked the en­gi­neers over here whether they had seen TCI [chas­sis] be­fore, and they said it wouldn’t be a prob­lem, which is why I went this way.” De­ci­sion made, Dave couldn’t lock the deal in quick enough, and the truck ar­rived in the coun­try around March 2016. “When I gave it to Ian, I said I wasn’t go­ing to go too far with it,” Dave ad­mits, know­ing that the end re­sult is far nicer than either he or Ian ever planned for it to be. When the pickup first rolled in, Ian was un­der­stand­ably happy with its con­di­tion. Af­ter all, de­spite it be­ing some­thing more than 70 years old, the only ma­jor re­pairs re­quired in­volved a bit of rust at the rear of the cab. Al­though the orig­i­nal tray was long gone, the old bloke who orig­i­nally owned it had man­aged to source a brand­new re­place­ment. So, with such a solid base to be­gin with, how the hell did the build spi­ral so far out of con­trol?


“I’d thought about go­ing for a flat­head to keep it all pe­riod cor­rect, but it’s a daily-driver and has to be able to haul loads, so it made sense to go for a Ford Per­for­mance short block,” Dave re­calls. “Then it sort of es­ca­lated from carby to EFI [elec­tronic fuel in­jec­tion]. Then the trans­mis­sion — I wanted some­thing that wouldn’t play up, so I went for the elec­tronic one, and then I thought, well, it’s a small cab, so it’s go­ing to get stuffy and hot in here, so I want air con … and so on, and so on.” Sud­denly, Ian found him­self briefed to bring the en­tire thing up to a cer­tain stan­dard — which he was more than ca­pa­ble of do­ing. Not only did he find him­self re­pair­ing the rust, but also mas­sag­ing all of the pan­els to a mir­ror-like state. Con­sid­er­ing the curves and con­tours on the body of any Ford from that era, you can’t fault the job he’s done. Ian then handed the reins over to Ben at Mata­mata Car Painters, who sprayed the flaw­less pan­els in PPG ‘Root Beer’ brown paint — a re­mark­ably sub­tle colour, al­most black, that re­veals a deep shade of metal­lic bronze–tinged brown un­der cer­tain light. “I had the lights and all that I was go­ing to use, and I just ditched it all and got new shit — even the grille; the grille that came with it was dam­aged, and I thought Ian was go­ing to be able to fix it. I man­aged to find a gen­uine old grille in good con­di­tion out of the States — very hard to find, but I got it off a guy who deals just in 1940 parts, and [I] had it re-chromed,” says Dave. The mo­tor that es­ca­lated the build to this level is built on a Ford Per­for­mance 347ci Boss short block, done lo­cally by Gary Bo­gaart. As Dave wanted ev­ery­thing to look at home in the vin­tage en­gine bay, the fuel in­jec­tion was taken care of by a four-bar­rel throt­tle body as part of a Hol­ley EFI kit sourced from abroad. To en­sure Dave could also get his power steer­ing and air con­di­tion­ing, a full Vin­tage Air Front Run­ner ac­ces­sory drive was fit­ted; it in­cluded the al­ter­na­tor, power-steer­ing pump, air-con compressor, and com­plete mount­ing bracket and ser­pen­tine belt set-up. “I asked Gary to build it as a mild street mill,” Dave says of the small block’s lopey idle. “I should have fig­ured that a drag racer would have a dif­fer­ent idea of ‘mild’ to my­self! It drives beau­ti­fully, though.” That’s no doubt helped by the fact that the en­tire me­chan­i­cal pack­age has been spec­i­fied to­wards that end goal of cre­at­ing a smooth and re­li­able driver. The smooth-shift­ing Ford AODE auto, re­built by Kaspa Trans­mis­sions, is one such com­po­nent, and the full TCI chas­sis — which in­cludes tubu­lar A-arms, a four-linked rear, and a full suite of Ride­tech ad­justable coilovers — en­sures pleas­ant driv­ing dy­nam­ics. With that much mod­ern tech crammed into the vin­tage frame, there was no way the in­te­rior would es­cape un­scathed. The bare cab re­ceived a layer of Dy­na­mat in­su­la­tion, with the stock bench seat and


cus­tom door cards trimmed in a beau­ti­ful brown leather by Mike Rodger. “I kept the in­te­rior re­ally ba­sic. Ob­vi­ously, it’s all new, but I kept it ba­sic, es­pe­cially the roof and all of that — I didn’t want to go over the top,” Dave says, adding that “When you look at it, it looks real sim­ple, but there’s a lot of shit jammed in there.” He isn’t wrong. With Vin­tage Air air con­di­tion­ing, a full au­dio in­stal­la­tion mas­ter­fully hid­den by Neil Dodds at Phoenix Au­dio, and a re­vers­ing cam­era with screen hid­den above the sun vi­sor — all wired in by Char­lie Payze at Cus­tom Auto Elec­trix — Dave’s got all the mod cons that he wanted from a daily-driver with­out com­pro­mis­ing the pickup’s vin­tage char­ac­ter. “I re­mem­ber when I was build­ing my [ VW] Kombi,” Dave re­calls, “putting it through cert. It was tak­ing for­ever, and I re­mem­ber piss­ing and moan­ing to Ian — ‘I’ll never do an­other build again!’ Then I started look­ing at these and, what the hell, I’m do­ing it again!” — but with this as the end re­sult, we get the feel­ing that Dave’s not quite as op­posed to in­ten­sive re­builds as he once was!


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