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Significant Mods! 1946 Ford Hot Rod Pickup

A couple of days ago, I suggested that a hot rod conversion was a likely fate for Ford vehicles of a particular era – primarily from the ’30s decade. Some readers took exception to my suggesting that old Fords seemed destined to go the hot rod, restomod, or custom route, as opposed to a stock restore, but I base that suggestion on observed reality. It seems that the majority of  ’30s vintage Fords that I encounter are halfway to hotrod haven, or if not, the seller is suggesting that as the logical direction to take. I have no love or hate for hotrod conversions – I’m agnostic about it. If that’s what the owner or acquirer of an old Ford wants to do, have at it. A case in point is this 1946 Ford pickup truck. OK, it’s from the ’40s and not the ’30s but they’re fair game too – and hot-rodded it has been! It has some issues so let’s look it over and sort it out. Located in Wellman, Iowa, this extensively modified pre-F series truck is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $4,000 with twelve bids tendered so far.

OK, right out of the gate we’re told that this truck is in possession of a Ford 5.0 liter V8 engine, so relax, no Bowtie small block here to muck up the vibe. Also, it has a roller cam, and the short block has World Products Windsor Jr heads, a trick flow stage 2 cam, an air gap intake with an Edelbrock carb, and equal-length shorty headers. Backing it up is a Ford AOD transmission with a Lokar shifter and shift kit. It’s also using a Ford 8.8″ differential outback which houses 3.73 gears. How’s it run? Well, the seller advises, “I have not driven it much. It does need some work to the steering, has a nasty wobble above 40. Might need a new steering box“. BTW, said steering box is from a ’66 Dodge Dart. He further adds, “Engine starts and runs, could use some carb tuning“.

Exterior-wise, we’re looking at a four-inch top chop with a narrowed cargo bed out of a ’55 truck and the entire get-up is sitting on a tube frame that also supports a 1965 International front axle. Obviously, it’s missing a bunch of its original exterior body parts but that’s typical hot rodding for you. The finish is what it is, it’s passable, but again, this is a hot rod truck, not a show car competitor.

There’s no reference in the listing to the interior and I guess that’s something that was on the list for another day. It has been gutted but there are what looks like aftermarket gauges in place, along with a custom steering wheel, the previously referenced Lokar floor shifter, and a pair of racing-style seats. So, not exactly neglected, not just there – yet. We’re also told that all of the lights work, except the turn signals (which probably didn’t exist in ’46) and the speedometer is on the fritz.

The seller suggests, “I would call this a nearly completed project. It’s parade ready but not quite road ready“. That’s probably a debatable point depending on your expectation. So, while it was recently said to me that, “Restoring an antique car is a labor of love, for 98% of car guys, they work on their vehicle because it’s FUN, and it’s what they WANT to do“, I’d counter with “Building a hot rod from an antique car is a labor of love, for 98% of car guys, they work on their vehicle because it’s FUN, and it’s what they WANT to do”. And, as far as the skills necessary to turn a pickup into a hot rod goes, I’d posit that it takes every bit as much hands-on determination and knowledge to pull off a modified like this as it does to restore a worn subject car back to a rejuvenated original state – maybe even more as there’s really no instruction sheet. While this truck isn’t for me, I can really appreciate all of the effort that it took to get it to this state. And considering the size of that undertaking, fixing a steering wobble shouldn’t be too tough, right?


  1. BA

    I love it & let me second thank God it’s a Ford motor in a Ford ! I like whats done but there is a ways to go if it was mine of course you could just run to Home Depot on the weekends !

    Like 11
    • BigDaddyBonz

      I agree BA. Nice to see a Ford in a Ford. Could be fun.

      Like 3
  2. RKS

    Hot rodding is taking parts and engineering them to work together so you come up with a safe reliable vehicle. Right now this thing is yard art. Maybe someone can help it out but even then it’ll still get rat rod status. Poor truck should’ve went to someone who knew what they were doing.

    Like 11
    • Greg in Texas

      Yep. Power to rear wheels, and you’re going with junk V8 gas gulping power to do what exactly? If he’s beefed up frame and suspension to use as a towing rig, great. You think he did that as the priority? Nope. As I’ll advocate anytime I see a long nose hood: Inline 6, go light as possible. Might be too late on this one. It’s just parts. Oh you can put 12 bags of concrete in the bed over the axle. Taking a physics class would have avoided the abomination. He figured it out only after he finally got it running, “Doh!” What’s the old carpenter’s rule? “Cut thirty times, measure afterwards!”? That’s what you’ll be finding everything he did. So it’s parts. There’s something underneath. What else he’s done I’ve seen cobbled farm equipment. He shifter from tractors and implements to an old truck. As you said : Yard Art.

      Like 0
  3. Davey Boy

    AWSOME !!!! Love this one. Shame it didn’t show before I bought the lemon of a 66 Galaxie I ended up with. Take my advice. No matter what kind of reviews a person has, Make sure you find a way to check the vehicle out or have someone trustworthy do it for you. Totally ripped off on this one and learned a lesson the hard way. Hope this one goes to someone like me who would really appreciate it the way I would have.

    Like 6
  4. Rw

    ? is,Vin, registration,title ..

    Like 4
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Got your back JO. I’d guess the need to build a frame tells us that this one was built around a body only. Don’t know how many of you out there have driven a street rod with no fenders but having done so would surely have me putting fenders on this one. Lot of good backyard engineering on this truck. Just needs more touches to make a great one.

    Like 4
  6. Big C

    This could be a cool build. First thing? Lose the MOPAR steering box.

    Like 3
  7. matt

    I like what people do in the name of modifying all kinds of vehicles to make the rat rod they want to create. I know not everyone likes the same things, but I don’t think I could bring the same level of imagination to an old car or truck.
    I can weld, but not good enough for the structurals needed on a radical frame/body change such as this.
    Thanks for the write up Jim, good luck to buyer and seller.

    Like 1
  8. Yblocker

    At this point, I’d say more rat rod, than hot rod. The International front axle is a bit unusual, but maybe the only good one left out behind the barn, but that’s OK, I would accept that in lieu of a boring chevrolet motor, at least somebody had their heart in the right spot. Those seats would have to go, correct the other issues, could be fun

    Like 1
  9. KMA 367

    Love this truck. Fix what needs it and drive it with pride.

    Like 1

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