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Daily Grind: take it back to the ’40s!

30 December 2016


We want to see your cool daily drivers! If you’re passionate about it, and you drive it to work every day, we can showcase it! We recently had a chat with Grant about his 1941 Ford pickup.

NZV8Hi Grant, that’s a great looking truck you’ve got. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Grant: It’s a 1941 Ford pickup, and I’d always wanted one — I’ve lived on an orchard my whole life, and trucks and tractors have always been a part of it. I also own a ’39 Ford Deluxe sedan and a ’40 Ford panel van, so it had to be from that era. 

What’s the background of your particular truck? 
It’s a New Zealand–new truck that was brought into the country in 1941 for the Army, and all the chrome on it was painted in army green. I bought the truck in 2009, so it’s been on the road for around four years. I discussed buying it with my sons, Stephen and Philip, as they were going to help me with the restoration. 

What was involved in the rebuild?
We had the body off the chassis, and it was totally rebuilt at home. It’s got the original engine block — a 239ci flathead V8 — but we’ve got a Weiand manifold, twin Stromberg carbs, Edelbrock alloy heads, and a Mallory electronic distributor. The gearbox is a stock three-speed, but we recently installed a Gear Vendors electronic overdrive, which has made it a lot better to drive. 

Was originality a big factor for the build?
Yes and no. The body is almost entirely original, with the exception of the wellside tray, which is a reproduction. Stephen does a lot of work with Lexus V8s, so I did consider that, but I didn’t like the idea of cutting anything — it’s only original once. The chassis was pretty rough when I got it, so it’s been tidied up, and it now runs more modern telescopic shocks and the disc brakes from a 1972 Ford F100, although I’ve kept the original vacuum wipers. 

So the truck was built entirely at home — that’s very impressive.
Yes, all built in my garage. Stephen runs his own workshop, SD Performance, and helped with a lot of the work, including fabricating the headers and exhaust system, and Philip works for Exedy, so he could sort out the suspension and braking components. Philip rewired the whole truck, too. The only work we didn’t do was machining the engine block and balancing the bottom end.

That’s really cool — and the intention was always for the truck to be driven?
Yes, I built it to use, not to look at. A lot of people ask us when we’re going to paint it. The reply is always that it is painted! I use the truck three or four times a week to pick things up, or to go on runs with the Early Ford V8 Club. With the paint how it is, we can use it wherever — we’ll park up at the mall and do our shopping in it! 
My wife’s only requirement was for the seat to be upholstered and the interior to be painted, which I was more than happy to do — it makes it a good place to spend any amount of time. 

Those wheels really stand out as the shiniest things on the truck — what are they?
They’re actually genuine Berry and Chung [B/C Equipment] wheels, which I’ve owned for more than 30 years.

That’s a real bit of history! Any other notable parts that you reused on the truck?
The front fog lights belonged to my father back in the ’50s. He had them on his ’36 Ford at the time, and I reckon they look great on the ’41 front. The cross members beneath the tray are made from totara that belonged to my grandfather, who made wine barrels. There’s four generations of the Dean family in this truck! 

Knowing that makes it even cooler — thanks very much for showing her to us. 

This article originally appeared in NZV8 Issue No. 124. Grab a print copy or digital copy of the mag below!