As-Is Alternative: 1941 Ford Pickup

As the cost of restoring older vehicles soars past the ability of the average enthusiast to afford, wonderful things have happened as a result.  The first is that stratospheric prices for certain cars have plummeted.  The second is that many vehicles have been put back on the road in an unrestored state.  Take for example this 1941 Ford pickup currently for sale on eBay.  This Yerington, Nevada based truck looks like it was just drug out of the desert.  Despite its appearance, the truck is in roadworthy condition and bidding has risen to only $10,300 with a little more than a day to go.  Do you think this truck should be left alone or be restored?

1940 and 1941 model Ford half ton pickups are favorites of the collector world due to their handsome looks.  The great styling is borrowed from the front end of the 1940 car line.  That styling still looks fantastic today, even worn by this rather rusty pickup.  Speaking of this pickup, the seller has done a lot to get it back on the road.  The braking system was gone through, a new set of white wall tires were added, the windshield and back glass gaskets were replaced, and the truck received a new chrome strip for the hood.  The seller was even kind enough to replace the glove box liner and door pull.

There are some problems though.  There is rust in at least the driver’s side cab corner.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a clear picture of the passenger side cab corner to judge its condition.  The bed sides look pretty good, but the mostly wooden bed floor has been replaced by what looks to be a sheet of steel and some plywood.  There are also various dings and dents, and a cracked passenger door glass as well.

On the positive side, all of the panels on this truck are in good shape for the most part.  The corrosion is mainly surface rust and the dings are fairly shallow.  The chrome trim is in very good condition and the front bumper is serviceable.  The rear bumper is one of those wraparound types often seen on farm trucks.  People forget that pickups weren’t really considered to be anything other than tools for work back in the day.  Cowboy Cadillacs had yet to come on the scene.

A look inside reveals that the original seat has been replaced with what looks like the bench seat out of a van.  Additional pictures on eBay reveal that this seat is not centered, and may not be firmly attached.  The original floor, which I believe uses a wood panel only in the pedal portion, has been covered over with a sheet of plywood.  Perhaps the cab corner isn’t the only part of the cab that has rusted through.  The sills look a little rough, but the doors don’t seem to be that bad.

A look in the dash area reveals that the truck is missing a transmission cover, and light is peering out from the bottom of the cowl on the passenger side.  The steering wheel is also a wreck.  The new owner can remedy that with a reproduction piece from one of the major Ford vendors.  Some auxiliary gauges, most likely water temperature and oil pressure, have been added.  There is no mention in the ad as to the operational status of the original instruments.  There is no radio in the truck, but a heater is still under the dash.  Can you believe a heater was an option back then?

Under the hood is the real surprise in this truck.  The Flathead V-8 engine has been the recipient of a few speed parts.  Most notable are the Edelbrock heads and the Sharp dual carburetor intake with Stromberg 97 carburetors.  The seller tells us that a 3/4 “race” cam was added during the engine rebuild.  We are also told that the gas tank was replaced with a reproduction unit from Bob Drake Ford Parts.  The presence of a fuel regulator makes me wonder if an electric fuel pump has been added.  I am also wondering about the generator, which required a different mount due to the aftermarket intake.  The front end of it behind the pulley doesn’t look like a stock Ford unit.  Perhaps one of our Ford experts can set me straight on this one.  You can also see that one of the battery cables is disconnected.  Since the wiring looks original, it may be a precaution or it may be the sign of electrical problems.  I am also curious about the can resting near the steering box.

Despite some questions that a prospective buyer should have, the whole truck looks to be solid enough to be a good restoration candidate.  However, even for one of these desirable trucks, I doubt you would recover your money.  My choice would be to replace the seat with an original one, put a new wiring harness in it, address any issues with the floor and cab corners, and then proceed to drive the wheels off of it.  Not every truck has to be restored.

What would you do with this one?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Fix the rust, paint it, and as you said… drive the wheels off of it. Too nice not to preserve.

    Like 9
  2. geomechs geomechs

    It’s gone to the point where restoration is next in line. I’m talking about a driver quality restoration, which means: ‘Fix it completely and Drive it!’ The sheet metal in the bed is actually the original floor. Ford pickups all had a wooden base with the stamped steel floor with anti-skid strips stamped into them. The oak planks with the metal strips you see on a lot of restorations are not stock on a Ford. I don’t know what’s going on with that coil mount but it would definitely be changed; that one hose is kinked badly. And you do NOT want to have the flow of coolant impeded on a flathead V8…

    Like 8
    • Kurt Member

      Amen. I have seen too many impeller blades full of holes in water pumps younger than this one to not want to pull and replace this pump. Also, I’d put disc brakes on the front axle.

      Like 2
  3. A-body Fan

    I would leave it as is and enjoy but with an outside possibility of changing to a strong small block.

    Like 1
  4. luke arnott Member

    Why do people put whitewalls on old pickups? They ere built to work, not be a Trailer Queen!

    Like 8
  5. robj Member

    First off, yellow ignition wires should be fined on anything prior to 1970, [or maybe on anything]. The charm here is the engine but I think some fiddling there will be in order. As mentioned the cooling system needs to be 100% especially with the aluminum heads. I’m not too sure about the “patina” on this one but maybe…

    Like 4
  6. Ken Carney

    For heaven’s sake, paint the damned truck! Even a Rust-Oleum paint job would
    be better than this. Oh sure, you’ve got a few things to sort out, but once you’re done, you’ll have a very distinctive driver.
    As it was said earlier, restoration costs are now stratospheric which drives a lot of folks out of the hobby. Back in the day,
    you used what you had to make your ride
    stand out–and that includes the use of
    rattle cans. You guys should’ve seen the
    Volvo 544 I painted with a case and a half
    of Tropical Turquoise spray paint my BIL
    gave me. Remember folks, restos are
    nice, but beaters are neater!

    Like 5
    • geomechs geomechs

      It’s interesting that when you suggest painting something like this, many people give you that ‘Deer In The Headlights’ look. You can actually paint a truck (or car) without breaking the bank. Most hardware stores can mix up some single stage paint with a minimum of bother. When my friend painted his ’38 GMC he just went to the local ‘Ace Is The Place’ hardware store and had them mix up what he needed. Turned out just fine, fine enough for a feature in Vintage Truck magazine…

      Like 6
  7. Coventrycat

    Shiny painted or powdered coated wheels on a shabby looking vehicle look stupid. What’s the point?

    Like 6
    • Steven Ligac

      Likely decided to take care of the wheels while the tires were off for replacement. A step toward the look that was his dream on the complete restoration he planned to do.

      Like 3
  8. Gaspumpchas

    All good points espec Ken–get some paint on it. Do it was a work in progress and drive as you go. When you only had one car and it was beauty like this, that’s what you did–do a couple hours of sanding then hit with some primer. IMHO, the shiny wheels and whites look cool and traditional. ( I ain’t sayin Old school–I’m still looking for this old school everyone is talking about). Looking at this baby warms this ol gray hairs’ heart!!! Good luck to the new owner!!

    Like 2
  9. Joe Haska

    Not sure ,but I think what you are seeing on the front pulley is an extension for a fan.

  10. Wayne

    I live in this town. ( very small town) And I have never seen this truck. With this amount of rust it would indicate to me that the truck was not original to this area.
    Still a cool truck and a good basis for at least a mild redo, repair or upgrade to make it an even better cruiser/parts chaser.

  11. Ed Stembridge

    Ford offered these with the 9N tractor engine in 1940-41, and if this one were so equipped, I’d likely be bidding on it as a nice match (after a refresh and paint) to my 1950 8N. The take rate was very low, and not many survive with the N engine.

    Like 2
    • geomechs geomechs

      I read about the 9N engine in the light trucks. I’ve seen a couple of pics of pickups so equipped but never up close and personal. I wonder what the performance was like? Couldn’t have been much worse than a V8-60…

    • Paul Rose

      We are selling one with tractor motor.

  12. TimM

    The cab looks to high to me and it’s screaming at me for a chop!! The flathead looks good in there!! But I think if I went that far to chop the top I’d have to give it air ride to get it on the ground!! As for paint I’m not into the clear coat over rust so putting some clean looking paint on it wouldn’t be out of the question for me!! Just my way of doing it!! IMO!!

    Like 1
  13. Scott Valley

    The original seats in these are really uncomfortable. That one may need some work on how it’s secured but I bet it’s more comfortable than the original!

    (How do you add a photo? Wanted to add a pic of our truck. Thanks)

    Like 1

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