BF Auction: 1952 Ford F1 Ratrod

Sold for $8,900View Result

I have been involved in the classic scene for decades, but I regret that I spent too many years failing to understand or appreciate Ratrods. My attitude has changed as I realize that what makes these classics unique is that there is only one rule in their construction: There are no rules. The creators can let their imaginations off the leash as they construct genuinely unique vehicles. This 1952 Ford F1 Pickup is a prime example of the breed, and you could spend hours examining the photos and still not notice all the finer details of this stunning build. As stunning as it is, there remains scope for a new owner to add further touches that would personalize it. The time has come for this Ford to find a new home, with the owner listing it exclusively with us at Barn Finds Auctions.

The owner undertook this build as a father-and-son project, completing this beauty around two years ago. It carries the hallmarks of a traditional Ratrod, with parts coming from different manufacturers and some items performing tasks for which they were never designed. Nowhere is this more evident than in the rear fenders, made from corrugated steel. It seems like an odd choice in isolation, but the fenders perfectly suit the vehicle’s character. The cab is a 1952 F1 chopped to provide a lower and more purposeful stance. No attempt has been made to camouflage the welds, with rows of rivets adding to the visual impact. The bed came from a 1937 Chevrolet that was refinished to match the rest of the vehicle. The faded paint and surface corrosion have been treated with a hand-rubbed clear lacquer to protect its aged appearance while preventing further deterioration. The trim and chrome continue the aged theme in keeping with this Ford’s character, but the beautifully polished bed timbers provide a striking contrast. The trunk located in the bed offers a practical storage solution, and the graphics on the doors are vinyl that hides the remnants of the original handpainted grocery store advertising.

The Pickup’s interior reflects the “make do with what is available” approach to Ratrod construction. The leather-wrapped seats are modern, and four-point Tanaka harnesses hold the occupants in place. The painted surfaces wear a mixture of aged shades, and there are stickers for some of the more iconic brands scattered around the cab. The dash features a collage of images for decoration, and who needs carpet or mats for the floor when the plates of many states can serve the same purpose for free? The driver holds a chunky sports wheel and monitors the engine via a column-mounted tach and aftermarket gauges for volts and oil pressure. The factory gauges are inoperative, but getting them working could be a satisfying task for the winning bidder.

Ford produced flathead versions of the four and V8, but it took until 1941 to produce its first successful straight-six. The 226ci powerhouse would eventually produce 95hp and 175 ft/lbs of torque. That is what occupies this classic’s engine bay, with the power feeding via a manual transmission to a “Dually” rear end and brakes sourced from a 1997 F-150. The Pickup features a straight front axle, with stopping power provided by discs and calipers from a 1968-1972 Chevelle. The vehicle retains a 6-volt electrical system, which serves the purpose without any problems or shortcomings. The owner confirms this classic is in excellent mechanical health, it runs well, and it is fun to drive. I don’t doubt those claims, and the YouTube clip below allows us to hear the flathead in action. It sounds as sweet as a nut, with no smoke or odd noises.

Ratrods should be considered a modern interpretation of the traditional hot rod scene that grew strongly from the 1940s until the 1970s. Both allowed owners to create vehicles from whatever parts were available and affordable, leaving scope for creativity. While many hot rods were built with an eye to immaculate presentation, a Ratrod allows a more “freehand” approach where an aged appearance is the norm. The winning bidder could consider this 1952 Ford F1 complete and slip behind the wheel to enjoy all it offers in its current form. However, although it is essentially a finished build, there is scope for change if the new owner wishes to personalize this classic. If you aren’t in a position to undertake a complicated build but would like to add the finishing touches to a classic, bidding on this Pickup could make that dream a reality.

  • Location: Rockford, Illinois
  • Engine: 226ci Flathead Six
  • Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
  • VIN: F3R21V13486
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Auction

Sold for: $8,900
Register To Bid
Ended: Sep 11, 2023 10:00am MDT
Winner: Allan M (Made Offer)
  • RoWar
    bid $5,450.00  2023-09-09 14:52:49
  • mojavegreen bid $4,000.00  2023-09-05 16:28:01
  • 2manyvettes bid $1,500.00  2023-09-01 12:55:04

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Terry J

    That old 226 will get the Rat around just fine. How? Dually rear: I’d guess somewhere around 4.27 gears. If you want a freeway flyer this ain’t it. That six was built for 10 years and there were several sources of hop up parts for it then & now. While it will not leave 4 tracks of burned rubber, it would be fun to drive. Not suit you? Just put in a s.b.c. and automatic like everybody else. :-) Terry J

    Like 1
    • MikeG.

      SBC!!?– no, thsnk you !!!

      Like 2
    • James B Dillard

      What is an sbc?

      Like 0
      • Yblocker

        It’s a rubiks cube specially designed for simple minds

        Like 0
  2. John EderMember

    It appears as if we can make (some) derogatory comments about cars not offered via auction from Barn Finds.

    However, if we make derogatory comments about cars that provide income for Barn Finds via auctions then they get deleted? Is that the case? I certainly hope not. All comments regarding this car (?) that weren’t complimentary have been deleted. What’s up?

    Like 1
    • Pugsy

      The bid will show the value of this truck. Comments or not (deleted)

      First thing I’d do is lose the Harley sticker, why oh why, do people want motorcycle stickers on cars?

      Like 4
    • James B Dillard

      How big is her tank?

      Like 0
  3. Yblocker

    Hot damn, it’s got a Ford motor in it, there’s still hope for humanity. Creative creation

    Like 8
  4. Joe Haska

    When the Rat Rod movement started getting popular, it be came a big issue. I think that is over. One concern was always safety and you can’t argue with that. Allot of Rat Rods aren’t a whole lot different than show cars, They are more Art Work than transportation. The nice thing about them is you really can’t criticize, by definition there are no rules, which is the way it should be!

    Like 2
  5. Rosko

    Visually there is lots going on here. Maybe too much? IDK

    Like 0
  6. George

    Curious, that’s a very long wheelbase and heavy truck chassis. The lower front hood ornament says F6 which is also interesting. In 1948-1949 a test of the Ford F-6 COE was organised by the Belgian Ford Company for the Danish army. The vehicle was powered by a 6-cylinder 3.6 liter engine (Rouge 226 six) developing 110 HP and had a 4 x 4 conversion produced by Marmon-Herrington.

    Deliveries of vehicles had all ready taken place place to the Luxembourg army (Trucks chassis), the Belgian Air Force (Ambulances and sedan cars), to the Belgian gendarmerie (Radio trucks) and to the Belgian army (Radio trucks).

    Like 0

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