EXCLUSIVE: 1938 Ford Pickup Project

This 81-year-old Ford half-ton truck has been with reader Lowell L’s family for a long time. It’s been parked since 1986, so there’s a ton of work to be done here, but everything is present to put it back together and it has a clean title! It’s currently in San Antonio, Texas and has a clear title. So, if you’ve been looking for a good rat rod project or a good truck to restore, be sure to message Lowell via the form below.

From Lowell – My father found this truck on a farm, bought and used it as a daily driver for about 10 years. The brakes had been upgraded to hydraulic by the time he got it. In ’86 he turned ill and gave me the truck. I would start it every week but gave that up after a few months. I was into sports cars so the truck was parked at my family’s property. I took it apart to repair it but never finished. The place just went on the market, so I brought the truck home this month. I don’t think the motor turns but I can check. It has a 6-volt system.

When this truck was still on the road, it was motivated by its original flathead V8. Lowell doesn’t state whether this is the original engine, but chances are it is. It should be the 221 cui 85 horsepower model and is paired to a 3-speed manual. No attempt has been made to start it, but without the cooling system installed, that’s a wise choice.

It appears that someone had a custom interior made and installed at some point in this truck’s past. Based on the material used and the style, I’d guess it was done in the ’70s. What do you think though? And if you were to take this truck on, would you restore the interior back to original or restore this custom interior? Personally, if I were to go the rat rod route with the rest of the truck, I think this interior would be cool to reuse this interior.

Lowell really wants to see this truck go to a good home. Having been in the family for so long, he’d rather not see it get crushed. It’s looking pretty rough, but if the frame is solid, it wouldn’t be impossible to get it back on the road. And while it would definitely be cool to see it fully restored, the most cost-effective way of getting it back on the road would be to rat rod it. Then you could cut out the expense of body and paintwork and instead focus on fixing the mechanicals. So, what route would you go with this Ford?

  • Asking Price: $5,000
  • Location: San Antonio texas
  • Title Status: Clean

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  1. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Nicce truck for the money….looks like a later 8BA motor is in it which is more better…..

    Like 2
  2. TimM

    Take every nut and bolt out clean sand blast and put it back together with new paint new wiring new motor!! This is a $1000 truck!! I think I’m being generous!!

    Like 3
  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    Damn! Why do these always show up when my resources are committed elsewhere? I’ve wanted a ’38 Ford pickup forever! When I was a kid I used to stay with a family on their farm and the guy would take me to the field in his ancient (even then) ’38 Ford pickup. It was blue with off-white wheels. I vowed that if I ever got one for myself I would paint it up in the same livery. By the time I started school I could tell the difference between a ’38 and a ’39 Ford in a blizzard. It will always go down as my ultimate favorite Ford truck.

    I never thought that converting to juice brakes was all that much of a safety improvement. If you lose a wheel with a mechanical system you still have brakes left. If I got this one I’d probably leave it as is and just go with a custom set of artillery wheels. The engine is definitely an 8BA, I’m thinking from a ’50 or newer car. I believe the ’49 still used the single wide belt. I have an 81A, 21 stud engine that is the proper one for it but I have to admit that the newer distributor is easier to service. But I’ll add that the dual point frontal distributor goes a lot further between service intervals.

    I hate to see yet another one of these slip through my fingers but I couldn’t even hope to go get it before spring. Damn!

    Like 2
  4. Piros1

    I would love to have a resto rod the build, obviously it is not stock but could be returned to stock if so desired. I have to go along with TimM as to value based on cost to finish up the build in what ever manor you desire. I’m sure there are many that would disagree but the value is in the buyer or seller.

    Like 1
  5. ctmphrs

    Come on, one of you restorer types has got to take this on, or it’s gonna become a rat rod with patina.

    Like 4

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