Pickup Lines

United Pa­cific/ STREETRODDER Road Tour ’32 Ford pickup


This is the 23rd year of the STREETRODDER Road Tour. For 22 of those years, the di­verse col­lec­tion of pur­pose-built street rods that Road Tour leader Jerry Dixey has driven all over Amer­ica has in­cluded Fords and Chevys in about a 3-to-1 ra­tio. We have built ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s cars. We’ve built road­sters, coupes, sedans, phaetons, and con­vert­ibles. Ever sin­gle one of them has been in­no­va­tive, eye-catchng, road­wor­thy, and cool. Not one of them has been a closed-cab com­mer­cial truck.

That changed in 2018.

From a his­tor­i­cal stand­point, our tim­ing was per­fect. The year 2017 marked the 100th an­niver­sary of the in­tro­duc­tion of Ford Mo­tor Com­pany’s Model TT, the first Ford specif­i­cally built as a truck. Pre­vi­ous Ford trucks had es­sen­tially been con­verted cars with their rear sheetmetal re­moved and re­placed by wooden wagon beds or af­ter­mar­ket beds.

Last year also marked the in­tro­duc­tion of United Pa­cific In­dus­tries’ (UP) steel ’32 Ford truck body, un­veiled at the SEMA Show. UP had in­tro­duced its steel ’32 five-win­dow coupe at SEMA in 2014. The coupe has val­i­dated the com­pany’s place in the street rod mar­ket, and we had con­fi­dence that the truck would carry the same qual­ity.

The new ’32 truck body is of­fi­cially li­censed by Ford. David Ode­gard of UP said that the com­pany spent three years re­verse-en­gi­neer­ing the body to en­sure that it con­forms pre­cisely to the orig­i­nals and that UP parts (avail­able sep­a­rately) are com­pat­i­ble with fac­tory parts.

One dif­fer­ence is that the UP 18-gauge ex­te­rior pan­els are heav­ier than the 19-gauge steel used 86 years ago. The in­ner struc­ture uses 14- and 16-gauge, the same as Ford did.

Choos­ing the new ’32 Ford pickup to lead the 2018 United Pa­cific/ STREETRODDER Road Tour Pre­sented by Ford Per­for­mance Parts was the eas­i­est part of the project. For the build, STREETRODDER turned again to Hot Rods By Dean (HRBD) in Phoenix. STREETRODDER has worked with Dean Liver­more at HRBD on three ear­lier Road Tour ve­hi­cles

(’38 Ford coupe, ’59 Chevy Im­pala, and ’66 Ford Fair­lane). He knows what we like and we like what he builds. We wanted the truck to re­flect clas­sic ’60s hot rod style and we needed it to with­stand five months of vir­tu­ally non­stop cross-coun­try cruis­ing. De­signer Eric Black cre­ated some con­cept il­lus­tra­tions to get the style just right, and Liver­more and the HRBD builders turned it into the real thing.

Like many of the re­cent Road Tour ve­hi­cles, the truck rides on chas­sis built at Road­ster Shop in Mun­delein, Illi­nois. Neal, Phil, and Jeremy Ger­ber started with a fully boxed re­pro Deuce frame, re­in­forced with a Model A–style front cross­mem­ber and X-mem­ber. Pete and Jakes is a great source for tra­di­tional sus­pen­sion parts and sup­plied what we needed for our truck. The pe­riod fron­tend in­cludes a drilled, dropped Su­per Bell I-beam axle, ’37-’41 style spin­dles, hair­pins, tubu­lar shocks, and a monoleaf re­versed-eye spring—all chromed to shine like jewels. Flam­ing River pro­vided the en­tire steer­ing sys­tem from the Vega box and Pit­man arm all the way up to the tilt col­umn and Vette steer­ing wheel. Road­ster Shop added their Pan­hard bar to the Pete and Jakes rearend, fea­tur­ing a pol­ished Win­ters quick-change, heavy-duty four-bars, and a pair of AFCO ad­justable coilover shocks. The whole chas­sis is a com­bi­na­tion of tra­di­tional cool­ness and re­li­able per­for­mance.

UP pro­vided the truck body, doors, fen­ders, hood, grille, cowl top, and sides with wind­shield pil­lars, fen­ders, fire­wall, floor, bumpers, LED turn-in­di­ca­tor spreader bar, han­dles, mir­rors, and even the head­lights and tail­lights. Two cowl tops are avail­able with or with­out a vent; we chose a vent. Bob Drake Re­pro­duc­tions had the vul­can­ized rub­ber and steel ’32 run­ning boards we wanted for the truck (smooth steel is also avail­able). Dan Fink Me­tal­works shipped one of their ’32 Ford grille in­serts to

com­plete the ex­te­rior. The fas­ten­ers for this project were pro­vided by Au­to­mo­tive Rac­ing Prod­ucts (ARP).

All of the UP com­po­nents are of­fered in­di­vid­u­ally in their cat­a­log. For the most part, HRBD left the sheetmetal just as Ford de­signed it and UP recre­ated it. One no­table cus­tom mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the ’32 specs was with the bed. HRBD short­ened it 12 inches to even up the di­men­sions in front of and be­hind the rear wheels. There is still plenty of room for all of Jerry Dixey’s lug­gage plus the stain­less fuel tank, cus­tom built for the pickup by Rock Val­ley and equipped with a Hol­ley in­take fuel pump. The in­side of the bed is pro­tected with bed­liner coat­ing from 3M.

One dis­ad­van­tage of choos­ing a pickup truck as the Road Tour ve­hi­cle is that an open bed doesn’t pro­vide any se­cu­rity or pro­tec­tion from the weather. The easy so­lu­tion is a bed

cover and we had many to choose from. We re­ally like the re­tractable ton­neau cover from Re­trax. We needed our cover mod­i­fied for the short­ened bed and we wanted it to fit over the bedrails. Re­trax was able to ac­com­mo­date us in both cases and is now in­cor­po­rat­ing that de­sign into their prod­uct line. Ad­di­tional pro­tec­tion comes from the Cover­craft In­dus­tries cus­tom cover used when the truck is at rest.

When choos­ing a paint color for an early Ford, it’s hard to beat Wash­ing­ton Blue, or any color in that neigh­bor­hood. The PPG Nan­tucket Blue used by HRBD on the Road Tour truck is a cou­ple of shades lighter and is per­fect for the early Ford look we were go­ing for. Also in keep­ing with retro paint styling the fen­ders were sprayed black. Some­day, when the truck slows down for a few days, some lowkey black pin­strip­ing will be added to the belt­line. There isn’t a lot of bright­work on the truck, but the parts and pieces that needed to be chromed were sent to Sherm’s Cus­tom Plat­ing in Sacra­mento. Per­fect chrome is the fin­ish­ing touch to a project, and we have used Sherm’s for many years.

As with paint choice, wheel and tire se­lec­tion can be a make-it-or­break-it de­ci­sion. In this case they had to be tra­di­tional. We knew just where to look: Coker Tire and Wheel Vin­tiques. Our Fire­stone Deluxe Cham­pion bias-ply black­wall tires, now man­u­fac­tured by Coker from Fire­stones molds, mea­sure 5.60-15 in front and 7.00-16 in the rear. The 15x5 and 16x6 steel wheels are ’40-’48 Ford re­pro­duc­tions from Wheel Vin­tiques’ Gen­nie se­ries, pow­der­coated black and dressed up with trim rings and ’41 Ford–style caps. The retro-style wheels and tires are paired with up-to-date front and rear disc brakes and mas­ter cylin­der from Wil­wood.

STREETRODDER has al­ways pro­moted the idea of Ford in a Ford and have used the Road Tour cars to drive home the point—fill­ing the en­gine com­part­ments with a va­ri­ety of Ford en­gines from Flat­heads to 427 small-blocks, an EcoBoost, and Coy­ote mod­u­lar en­gines. Ford Per­for­mance has been a valu­able part­ner, sign­ing on as a pre­sent­ing spon­sor and pro­vid­ing us with en­gines. The UP ’32 truck is our 13th Ford-pow­ered Ford since we started do­ing the Road Tour in

1996. This time, the en­gine is a

Ford Per­for­mance Parts 347-inch small-block, which re­quired some mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the UP fire­wall to fit.

The 360-horse crate en­gine is built upon a Boss 302 block, bored 0.030-over, with Ford’s X-Head alu­minum cylin­der heads. The cylin­ders are loaded with Mahle forged pis­tons with I-beam rods con­nect­ing them to the Scat forged crank. HRBD topped the Edel­brock Per­former RPM Air-Gap in­take with a Hol­ley Ter­mi­na­tor Stealth throt­tle body EFI sys­tem and alu­minum air cleaner—mod­ern elec­tronic in­jec­tion with the ap­pear­ance of a tra­di­tional car­bu­re­tor. The MSD ig­ni­tion sys­tem in­cludes a bil­let dis­trib­u­tor and MSD6 EFI ig­ni­tion con­trol, with Ford Per­for­mance plug wires. Pa­triot Tri-Y head­ers draw out the ex­haust gases. The ser­pen­tine drive sys­tem is a Vin­tage Air Front Run­ner, which in­cludes the wa­ter pump, A/C com­pres­sor, and Pow­er­mas­ter al­ter­na­tor. Keep­ing things cool is not a prob­lem with a U.S. Ra­di­a­tor, shroud, and elec­tric pull fan.

The 4L60E trans­mis­sion from Hughes Per­for­mance was de­liv­ered with a Ford small-block com­pat­i­ble bell hous­ing for easy in­stal­la­tion and is con­trolled by a US Shift Quick 4 trans­mis­sion elec­tronic con­troller from Bau­mann Elec­tronic Con­trols. The cus­tom Dynotech steel drive­shaft con­nects the trans to the Win­ters Per­for­mance rearend. AMSOIL INC. has been a faith­ful Road Tour spon­sor, pro­vid­ing en­gine oil, trans­mis­sion fluid, gear oil, brake fluid, coolant, and chas­sis grease.

HRBD has used Hot Rod In­te­ri­ors by Glenn on many projects, in­clud­ing pre­vi­ous Road Tour cars. The first step in com­plet­ing the cab was a com­plete lin­ing of Dy­na­mat and Dy­naliner to in­su­late against heat, noise, and vi­bra­tion. Dakota Dig­i­tal built an el­lip­ti­cal ana­log in­stru­ment clus­ter, mounted in the UP dash. The sub­dash was fab­ri­cated by HRBD for the Vin­tage Air vents and HBRD bil­let V-8 col­umn drop. Power door glass and the wind­shield wipers from Spe­cialty Power Win­dows are up­dated com­po­nents. The leather­wrapped Clas­sic Low­back seats from Pro­car by Scat suit the ’60s hot rod style we wanted. Dark gray Ger­man weave car­pet sur­rounds the con­sole, fab­ri­cated at HRBD to house the head unit for the Cus­tom Au­tosound stereo, Vin­tage Air A/C con­trols, power ports, and the Lokar shifter and boot. Lokar also con­trib­uted ped­als and throt­tle link­age. Wiring the truck was easy with a Pain­less Per­for­mance Prod­ucts kit. Miller Elec­tric sup­plies the welders and ac­ces­sories used for build­ing our Road Tour ve­hi­cles. The United Pa­cific/ STREETRODDER Road Tour truck Pre­sented by Ford Per­for­mance Parts was de­liv­ered to the 2018 Back To The 50’s car show in June (thanks to the ser­vices of United Routes Trans­port), hit the road im­me­di­ately, and won’t slow down un­til the end of Oc­to­ber. HRBD’s ver­sion of UP’s ’32 hauler is a huge suc­cess and a fit­ting way to cel­e­brate 100 years of Ford trucks. In­ci­den­tally, 2017 was also the 100th an­niver­sary of the Henry Ford & Son Com­pany Ford­son trac­tor. We could’ve de­cided to build our first Road Tour trac­tor—but we didn’t. Jerry Dixey, con­sider your­self lucky.

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