Restore or Rod? 1941 Ford Pickup

When it comes to legendary toughness, there aren’t many vehicles short of those used by the military that can put a good pickup to shame. The British TV series Top Gear made some pretty serious attempts to kill a Toyota Hilux, but it refused to surrender. While this feat was impressive, the humble American pickups beat Toyota to the punch by decades. You only have to look at vehicles like this 1941 Ford to realize that these are seriously tough because there are still plenty of them kicking around today, even after decades of hard work, use, and abuse. If you would like to join the classic pickup fraternity, then you will find this one located in Billings, Montana, and listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $5,850 for the vehicle, but you do have the option to make an offer.

The owner of the Pickup is pretty candid about its condition. He says that the vehicle is missing the tailgate and that it does have some rust in it. There is some present in the bottoms of the doors, the rear of the cab, and the floors. None of it looks particularly bad, and should all be able to be repaired. There is also another option open to the next owner. The owner does know of a gentleman who has another cab, and you may be able to negotiate with that gentleman to get an extra cab for parts.

This is as close as we get to a photo of the interior of the old Ford, and there’s not a lot that we can really tell. It looks like the seat frame and springs might be sitting in the bed, but that’s really about it. You can see the rust in the floor, and it doesn’t look like it would be terribly hard to fix. I’m sure that I’m not alone in wishing that we could see more of the interior, but that’s just the luck of the draw with some of these listings.

When you look at this photo, you probably won’t be too surprised to learn that this Ford doesn’t run. Unfortunately, the 221ci flathead engine is locked, and the owner hasn’t made any attempt to free it up. I’ve seen people achieve this in a number of ways, but my favorite has always been by filling the cylinders with diesel. The beauty of this is that due to its relatively thin nature, it can work its way down around piston rings and other components fairly easily. I’ve seen plenty of success with this method. The Pickup is also fitted with a 3-speed manual transmission, but we don’t get any indication about its condition.

As project vehicles, people seem to be split fairly evenly between turning vehicles like this Ford into either a street rod or a rat rod. Faithful restorations do seem to be in the minority, and I think that this is a shame. These are a great looking vehicle when fully restored, so it would be interesting to see which route the next owner will follow with this one.

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Comments

  1. Howard A

    Ford had such nice pre-war designs and only ran them for a couple years, the ’38-’39, and these. I thought these were the nicest styled pickups of all time. We’ve been over this and over this, but there’s fading appeal to keep this original, and this style takes to resto-modding better than most other older trucks. It’s probably one of the most sought after trucks to do so with, and they come up with some beautiful rigs. So long flathead, hello LS6 and that’s ok, I suppose.

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  2. TimM

    I agree Howard but there’s nothing like the sound of a flat head V-8. However the reliability of an LS or better yet a coyote motor would get you to a car show many many miles away with a smile on your face!!!

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    • Howard A

      Don’t get me wrong, Tim, love a flattie, just not in today’s world, sadly, and there’s no reason to put some fire breathing motor in these, save for bragging rights. A flathead V8 can do the job just fine. Another thing that irks me, gotta have some mombo motor today.

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  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    You just can’t beat one of these fixed up original. The flathead V8 is reliable enough and fast enough to keep up with most traffic. If you want a more powerful one then put in a later Merc engine. As far as hotrodding goes those cabs are close and cramped whether they’re redone fancy inside or put back stock. I talked to a guy who street rodded one and he says about two hours is as much as you can stand. Of course I can agree with that as I have a ‘47 which has the same cab. I might add that when I drove it a lot it two hours tired me out .

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    • RAY

      80 hp on todays hiways will get a person in trouble when you have to travel to car shows….the motors were bullet proof to say the least, but safety needs to be no. one for the driver. my unc had a 51 4-dr led sled merc. column shift od…when shifting if you paused and lifted gas pedal between gears i did not have to depress clutch. the tranny made no noise…allowed the shift to be made. i replace plugs/oil/points etc when we moved from oregon to bay area. i knew he did not take care of the merc. i did the tune up. plug electrodes were burned off completely. car should not have been running but it did. it had a cup of the purple oil in the pan and it was molasses. i do not know how this car was running but it was. those old flatheads were tough but under powered….history for the day..big finn…

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        You’re right; 80 hp does limit your capabilities. But I can’t say that I’ve run into a lot of problems taking my old relics to the show and shine. There’s always some yuppies that want to get there faster. And they give me the most unique wave…

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      • moosie moosie

        Until June of 2017 I owned ( and drove the wheels offa ) a ’40 tudor sedan deluxe that was completely all stock and original. I was the 3rd owner, I bought the car in 1994. The only modification I did to it was a set of 15″ chrome reverse wheels with smoothy caps & big and little radials, In 2001 I decided that I would take a ride with my wife at the time out to Columbus Ohio to a GOODGUYS show from home in the Catskill Mtns. of New York. I had no doubts at all about the cars ability of making the trip, It drove quite nice on the Interstates all the way out and back , kept up with traffic very nicely, didn’t pass too many cars, went up and down the hills in Pennsylvania just fine, the only issue I had was when it started to rain close to the Ohio line and the vacuum wipers chose to stop and start. The only other issue I had was on the way home when the NEW fan belt decided to break halfway up the long hill on Rte. 81 from eastbound Rte. 80. Luckily I managed to have the forethought to save the old belt when I replaced it so once we hit the top of the hill I hit the shoulder and replaced the belt with the handy original little tool kit that was still in the trunk, after letting it cool down a spell we were off on our way to complete the weekend adventure. That old ’40 ran absolutely fine , it made me very happy. And yeah, I wish I still owned it but this dam MS took a lot of my abilities away.

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  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Back in my HS days, the shop teacher had a pickup similar to this one along with 2 four door sedans. He drove the pickup to school every day and it was a flat head with a manual transmission (I did get to see under the hood). More than once I got caught admiring it in the parking lot. After 50+ years, I can’t say I remember all the details on it but I can remember the sound that flathead made when started and driving down the street. Most of the towns people thought it was just an old truck, but I among others knew better. I never saw the sedans move (he lived along the school bus route) but even they had an elegance about them.
    Hope this one gets fixed up and back on the road where it belongs.

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  5. bobhess Member

    My last flat heads in my ’32 five window and ’33 pickup were slightly modified and had pretty good power. If I could have afforded to really build up either engine to the present day modified specifications it would have been loads of fun outrunning the street Chevys and Fords. This is a great truck.

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  6. Brakeservo

    Beater trucks are great!! I still drive this half million mile Toyota every day – although I have pulled the tailgate and quarter panel out from as seen in this photo!

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    • Chris

      Pretty good slam to the keister! But good for you for still running it!

  7. Joe Haska

    And the debate begins another round, and again, there will be no winner! Maybe we should discuss the chicken and the egg theory, we might have a better outcome. This discssion is certainly endless, the only thing, I think might help, if you don’t have the credentials and the experience, just listen. If you have owned, driven and worked on these cars and engines, in question fine. Repeating stories and seeing one in high school,and your grampa knew a guy, who said, dosn’t count!
    I have since the early 60’s ,owned and drivem literaly dozens of early Fords with Flatheads or SBC and I loved all of them. Its pretty simple there is a time and place for everything , if its not broke-don’t fix it!

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    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I know where you’re coming from. I grew up around flatheads and Chevy sixes. Worked for GM for a number of years and got fairly well read on those products. As a mechanic for going onto 48 years I’ve seen a lot. One thing that I have learned is that you’re not going to sway anyone to your way of thinking. I’m mostly purist but I’ve got lots of good friends in the hot rod camps. Lots of those run SBCs in Fords. While that’s something I’d never do, I don’t condemn them. I’m happy that we live in a country that allows us to build and drive what we want. I comment on what I would do if a particular car or truck came my way. I might express my displeasure toward something that I thought was overdone but I’ll leave the tar and feathers for the politicians…

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      • TimM

        I totally agree with everything you said geomechs but if you have ever seen someone put a Ford motor into a Chevy (which I have) it seems to me that all the Chevy guys can’t stand when that’s done!! Now I’m not trying to stereotype but I saw some guys that were really pissed about that at the Run to the Sun in South Carolina!!!

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      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Oh yes, when the shoe is on the other foot a lot of Chevy guys don’t play so nice. The reaction can get downright hilarious.

  8. Johnmloghry

    In my younger days like 3 or 4 decades ago I would have freed this engine got it running and drove it daily with or without brakes, but alas! The years have passed and the weight has gained along with arthritis, so now I leave these projects to the younger healthier car people.
    God bless America

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