View Full Version : Pickup Trucks

Scott Rosen
12-19-2004, 11:36 AM
I've wanted/needed a small truck for a long time. Being a little quirky, as most of us wooden boat folks are, I didn't want to just buy any old truck. I'm thinking I should buy someting to restore. What do you guys think of a '52 Ford?


12-19-2004, 11:55 AM
A local attorney has one just like you pictured Scott. Fully restored with a nice varnished oak rack and he drives it to the office and to court when the weather is nice. Dark blue with gold leaf letters on the door. " William Robinson Attorney at law" in a nice arched design. [Not his real name]

In his case the truck softens his image a bit. He is the area sleezeball, "you want it done dirty I can do it guy." Not that theres anything wrong with that of course. smile.gif

I would post a picture but I'm sure its put away till spring.

[ 12-19-2004, 12:06 PM: Message edited by: alteran ]

Bruce Hooke
12-19-2004, 12:21 PM

Two questions that I think may help move the discussion forward:

1. How do you plan to use the pickup truck when you are actually using it as a pickup truck? Will these uses really be compatible with an antique truck?

2. Does it bother you that by modern standards any of these old trucks is most likely a "death trap" -- lacking, as they most likely do, everything from seatbelts to airbags to cushioned dashboards and steering wheels, not to mention anti-lock brakes, etc., etc., etc.? Of course lots of people survived driving these trucks a whole lot more than you will, but some did not...it basically comes down to whether the safety issue matters to you.

12-19-2004, 12:21 PM
Here ya go, Scott... ;)

"1952 Ford F100 Red exterior, brown leather interior, 4 speed trans, 6 cylinder engine, non smoker, original owner and has invested over $23,000 to restore this vehicle to original condition. " It's nearby you (Leroy, New York), ready to roll, and only $17,000:



Scott Rosen
12-19-2004, 12:33 PM

My proposed use would be light. Mostly to haul boat stuff and the dinghy back and forth a couple of times year. Maybe a couple of trips to the lumber yard. I wouldn't be looking to enter it into any shows, and I wouldn't worry about a couple of dings and scratches in the bed.

The safety thing does concern me. I'm still thinking about it. I'd consider a restoration that was less than authentic, if I could make it safer. A folding or removable headrest and seatbelts would be good places to start. I don't know much about restoring old cars, and I'm sure with a little bit of research I can find others who have gone down this path.

12-19-2004, 12:35 PM
Make sure you can register it. Some states are cracking down on older vehicles. You might have to put a cat on it, if you can - I guess it would work on something like this. And seatbelts are easy to install. You'll find that apart from the aesthetics, many things, such as wiper mechanisms, are primitive by today's standards.

[ 12-19-2004, 12:35 PM: Message edited by: Victor ]

12-19-2004, 12:37 PM
Pick up a copy of Hemmings Motor News. It will stimulate a lot of thought even if you don't buy from it. The current issue has a large picture section of collectable trucks at the Hershey show I think. available at any good news stand or bookstore.

Wayne Jeffers
12-19-2004, 12:42 PM

IMO, it depends upon the reasons you want the truck.

If you are mainly looking for a truck that is practical and not too expensive, I would suggest a much newer model.

If, OTOH, you are mainly looking for another hobby, there's nothing wrong with restoring an old truck.

Would you contemplate restoring it to its original condition? Or would you swap out the engine and running gear for something more modern? Either way, you should probably check out the availability and cost of restoration/conversion parts before taking the plunge. Availability may vary greatly for different models/years.

Remember that early 1950's automotive technology is much closer to Model T than it is to modern technology. If you want to do a restoration that is passably modern, it would be better to look at something of late 1950's or early 1960's vintage.

To the safety items that Bruce mentioned, I would add that the gasoline tank in a '52 Ford is probably directly behind the driver's seat, in the cab. Best to relocate that unless you fancy the notion of burning alive. ;)


Bruce Hooke
12-19-2004, 01:32 PM
Originally posted by Victor:
Make sure you can register it. Some states are cracking down on older vehicles. You might have to put a cat on it, if you can - I guess it would work on something like this...So what the heck does bringing the household pet with you have to do with making a vehicle registerable? :D

12-19-2004, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by Bruce Hooke:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Victor:
Make sure you can register it. Some states are cracking down on older vehicles. You might have to put a cat on it, if you can - I guess it would work on something like this...So what the heck does bringing the household pet with you have to do with making a vehicle registerable? :D </font>[/QUOTE]Cat--that --licked -- it convertor

12-19-2004, 02:54 PM
If I was going to restore an old truck like that I would look at the 53 Chevy with the 5 windows. One like this but I'm not sure about the color.



John B
12-19-2004, 03:37 PM
You've seen my jailbar I suppose, Scott. Just slightly earlier model to one you picture. 1946/ 48. 1949 the model changed here to a base version to yours and it was called a 'bonus' here.90 hp flathead, 3 speed ,4:11 diff gears.I wonder if by '52 the suspension was upgraded at all because yes, in the jailbar she's fairly rudimentary.Pretty well the same as any truck up until relatively recently really.
I use it exactly the way you describe.In fact yesterday morning we delivered the sabot to the boat and bought back the glass dinghy.. and this morning we'll be delivering the sailing dinghy back down.
For the 2 months we had Waione out it was the weekend vehicle.. planks ladders tools etc. load her up and leave it all in there. My reasoning was that if you are going to have a toy , it might as well be a useful one.
A couple of comments.
I disagree that that year is closer to a "T" than present. Its got hydraulic brakes and the familiar generic layout of controls.
Yes the ride will be hard, but load some gear in and you might be surprised.
Yes the fuel tank will be under the seat. Do these have a reputation for lighting up... I think not. In fact , to use a modern car as an example... a perfectly good motor car here called the Holden Monaro just had its already limited bootspace( trunk) ruined when US regulations force a move of the fuel tank from under the boot floor to a position directly behind the passenger compartment up at seatback level. This car is the Pontiac GTO now. Monaros don't have a reputation for burning either. So US vehicle legistlators think its better to get right up and tight to the fuel.
Other safety aspects: You can put radials on. I have crossplys which are not as good in the wet. You don't have ABS but you have extended vision and warning through height.( prevention V cure) You don't have airbags but you have less likelyhood of a crash because of the same. also everyone will look at you so therefore you are noticed etc etc.
I can't comment on the catalytic converter aspect. Here, vintages get cut some slack on vehicle compliance issues.

Ken Hutchins
12-19-2004, 04:21 PM
If I wasn't building the boat I would have restored and be driving my '29 Model A pickup. :D Then using that for temporary transportation till I get and restore a '26 model T pickup. ;) Oh well the boat first. ;)

Kevin G
12-19-2004, 04:31 PM

I had wanted a pickup for a while. I saw an'88 Jeep Comanche sitting on the side of the road with a "For Sale" sign on it. Momma said OK as long as you get the "Grey Monster" (16'Brockway Skiff) out of the back yard. Well....the p/u is in the driveway and the skiff is still in the yard. But if it's not gone by Spring.... I may be.

Get the truck and enjoy.


Wayne Jeffers
12-19-2004, 05:06 PM
John B,

I was thinking more of the engine and transmission than the brakes. But my real point was that a truck of that vintage will require much more frequent maintenance than a modern one. Some folks enjoy working on early-model vehicles. Nothing at all wrong with that.

But I disagree strongly on the fuel tank issue. The fuel tanks I'm referring to on pickup trucks were inside the cab and directly behind the driver's seat until the late 60's or early '70's, with the filler neck on the side of the cab behind the driver's side window. Hard to get more intimate than that with the fuel tank! In an accident where the truck rolled over onto the driver's side, the filler cap was almost always torn off, spilling fuel which was usually ignited by sparks from the steel skidding over the pavement. The driver is inches away from this. Maybe the tanks on 1948/1952 Fords were different, as I don't have specific knowledge of that make/years. Anyhow, there are good reasons why all modern pickup fuel tanks are outside the cab and between the frame rails, where they are more shielded from rupture in an accident. ;)


Peter Malcolm Jardine
12-19-2004, 06:56 PM
Scott... If you want to have the job of restoring something, thats great... but it's generally cheaper to buy something already restored. Buy a southern truck, so there's not corrosion to speak of, and go from there. A lot of the time the classic car auctions have some deals if you wait it out. Lots of guys advertise prices that are out to lunch. Kruse Auctions publish a value guide that will help you get a handle on price. Search the Traderonline.com classic car website, and it will also give you a good idea of price.

SWMBO is kind of keen on a early fifties military M37 Dodge powerwagon. They're cool. I've been doing due diligence for a couple of months. Good luck... nothing cooler than an old truck.

12-19-2004, 07:33 PM
Yeah, I'd like to see some of our local yuppies bolt a couple of 2"x4"s to the bumper of the Escalade and move a mast :D


('66 Ford Econoline) :cool: :cool:

The seatbelt thing worries me, but I only do in-town driving, and like Dave said, "Honey you don't have to worry about a seat belt in this truck. If you're in a wreck, you'll be the first one there..." :rolleyes:

- M

Phillip Allen
12-19-2004, 07:43 PM
I learned to drive in a '55 f-100 (short box/step side). I got stuck on a lot of gravel bars at the local rivers and creeks and many other places...in fact, I learned to drive by the "Har-Har" method. To explain; my cousin and I grew up sorta joined at the hip...that is, when I got stuck it was really "we" who got out into the hinter lands, fishing, camping, shooting and just toolin' around. The "Har-Har" method of driver education involved us getting out on the river, usually at one of the many fords we had here before some fool built all those bridges. Out onto and then into the gravel we'd go. Then it required one of those embarrassing hikes to the third house down the road, the only one with a phone line going to it, to make the call. Here would come our dad's and as they both laughed (The Har-Hars) one would calmly climb in and drive out of the hole we'd made, leave the truck running, get out and climb in with the other dad and drive off...Har-Haring to beat the band. And THAT will learn a pimply-faced, easily embarrassed teenager to try a LOT harder next time.

12-19-2004, 10:38 PM
Margo: I really dig the old Econoline. Very cool.

As for modern conveniences and safety, as well as a silky smooth ride, I think I'll stick with what I've got...


...that is, when SWMBO lets me have the keys. ;)


John B
12-20-2004, 12:02 AM
That would be too easy Jeff. :D

Wayne... I'm sure that pickup of Scotts is the same general arrangement as mine . Fuel tank is under the seat and as you say , the filler tube comes up behind it and exits the cab just below door handle height on the right side. So yes... I can see it possibly being torn off in the ultimate crash situation . But.But it's a combination of factors here. I mean really if you want to play devils advocate, you are exposed to just as much danger driving your s2000... no roll bar in that. yes I know you're extremely unlikely to roll it because of its low C/G but you could get T boned by Jeff there and its all over rover.

My opinion is that the unsafe elements of that old truck are heavily offset by the inherent safety of the type.
Having said that, I agree that the significant leap from ( keeping with the ford theme here) the T to A is about equal to A to V8 and equal again from nominal 1950 v8 to say a 56 model truck. if I had my choices I'd be looking for something in the mid to late 50's as the best driveability compromise. Actually I really like the 56 Chev pickup.

PS. dropped the sailing dinghy off to the boat in mine today so she's earnt her keep this week :D

[ 12-20-2004, 05:55 AM: Message edited by: John B ]

Bob Smalser
12-20-2004, 01:27 AM
We keep a '53 Dodge 3/4T as a woods truck and a '62 Pete dump truck around on the job.

I think a '53 anything as a daily or even weekend driver is a bad idea.

The romance is offset by the mechanical skills (or significant expense) required, the discomfort, the lack of safety, horrific gas mileage, and the fact that those old girls just aren't that useful. You ain't gonna tow or haul much.

Remember last December I got head-on'ed on the ice by a family in a FourRunner at 50mph at 6AM in the dark. No way I coulda avoided that. Totaled my '87 F250HD Crew Cab...two in the other car required hospitalization...

...I and the dog were unscratched. If we'da got clobbered in the '53 Dodge, we'd have been seriously scuffed up, too....and I'm getting too old and my job requires too much fitness to deal with a major injury.


[ 12-20-2004, 01:29 AM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

12-20-2004, 01:51 AM
Well, you ask for advice and you sure get advice on this web site. Scott, the question is do you want the old truck or not? If you do then just get it. Geez. Obviously you would be getting the thing for the aesthetics and not the practicality. If you want practicality then just go find yourslelf an older Ford or GMC for a couple of thousand dollars. You apparently want the look, and just like wooden boats, there's not much justification there.

As well as my fleet of boats, I have a 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that I treat like a baby. Beautiful car, with 90,000 miles on her. I drive a Ford F-150 to work and around town every day, but I love that Jeep. If I didn't have the Jeep I would probably try and find an old pickup like what you want.

Man, just get the truck. Spice of life, eh?

Mickey Lake

12-20-2004, 10:29 AM
I hate'em. There is nothing worse on the highway, although you wouldn't believe it the way some drive. I can't think of anything that spins out faster on snow, and has wimpy traction.

If you want to carry things, why put it out in the open exposed to the weather and all the sticky fingers that walk by? If I need a truck, and I do a few times a year, I hire one and a good ol boy to drive it.

I drive a convertable.

Dan McCosh
12-20-2004, 10:41 AM
I owned a Dodge Power Wagon for a while. One limitation was the top speed was about 45 mph.

12-20-2004, 11:01 AM
The next 'truck' I buy will be a late 1940s or early 50s panel truck ...

Jim H
12-20-2004, 12:04 PM
Before I got into sales I owned a '67 Buick Riviera. Parts were always a problem but I could do the majority of the repairs myself. Ah, the days when you could point to and name everything in the engine compartment. I think the first question you should ask is how much of a mechanic are you or do you want to be? You are a Dad, a lawyer, a woodenboat owner - do you have the time for a truck restoration? I think it would be better to buy it restored, leaving you just the maintenance. My former next door neighbor did a frame off restoration of a 1950's Chevy and completely rebuilt a T-bucket, it was no small bit of work.

12-20-2004, 12:22 PM
Dan McCosh wrote:

I owned a Dodge Power Wagon for a while. One limitation was the top speed was about 45 mph Flat-to-the-floorboards on my restored 1963 Willy´s CJ-6 (101" wheelbase), "Hurricane" F-head 6-cyl. 90 HP engine and 5.88:1 diff. makes for less than 45 mph - literally screaming performance !

12-20-2004, 01:23 PM
I have 2 cars that are older than I am I love them both at times, I hate them both at times.
worked on my 50' CJ last nite to get ready for the snow today.... I plow my driveway with it.
in the winter and drive it on sunny days the trest of the year. my other is a 71' vw Bus I drove it 5 hours one way to the wooden boat school last year I use it mostly for camping put around 4k miles a year on it has over 310k... My
advice to you is to buy whatever truck you want
and when and if you get sick of it sell it. keep at least one modern car that you can drive unless you have nowhere to be. (work)
Good luck

John B
12-20-2004, 02:02 PM
The jailbar is comfortable at 50 mph but screaming at 60( our open road limit).
Which makes it perfect for driving around this town. :rolleyes:

Wayne Jeffers
12-20-2004, 04:18 PM
Originally posted by John B:
. . . you are exposed to just as much danger driving your s2000... no roll bar in that. . .John B,

Actually the Honda does have rollbars behind the headrest of each seat. Not the best, no doubt.

In my defense, I should note that my original plan was to replace my old Camry with a new one for transportation and also buy a Harley Davidson for fun. On a whim, I chose the S2000 instead of that combination for about the same money. Now, you've got to admit my chances in a crash are better in the Honda than on a H-D. ;)

Fires from those old pickup truck gas tanks were not so rare as you would like to believe. Remember: With their high center of gravity, pickups are more prone to rollover in a crash compared to a typical sedan. (Ford Pintos got more press because of their propensity to catch fire in low-speed rear-end collisions.)


Dale R. Hamilton
12-20-2004, 04:44 PM
Scott- For the past 10 years, my daily driver has been a 1954 Chevy pick up truck. I have restored it pretty much- still running on orig motor and tranny. I have added radials, seat belts, AC and a modern electrical system- but it is essentially a 50 year old truck doing its thing same as always. I assure you- its possible to drive an antique in everyday life. People will smile when they see you. Parking in front of a beer joint will always net you cash offers for the truck. And you won't be caught up with the trendy set- you will set the style. Go for it!

Alan D. Hyde
12-20-2004, 05:06 PM
Dale's right.

A simple older vehicle may be retro-fitted and may make an entirely safe and agreeable daily driver.

I drove TR3's for years, and they were no trouble once I understood the basics.

If you insist upon airbags, nothing much pre-1990 will suit you.

But an alert driver, who looks far down the road ahead, and who keeps a moving picture in his mind of the two-hundred-yard circle that surrounds his vehicle, will avoid most potential problems. There are two types of safety: that of the rabbit (active), and that of the tortoise (passive).


John B
12-20-2004, 05:57 PM
Definitely the best choice Wayne. I know a few motorcyclists and nurses and they say the same thing about the ( dare I say it) midlife Harley.( don't you hate labels? but thats what they call it) astonishingly bad crash/injury statistics ( here anyway).
I don't know about the burning thing with the pickup.. I can't say I've ever heard of it but then again , I didn't own one in the 40's or 50's when they were more common and being driven by all sorts.
I still haven't had a drive of your car. a bang for buck boxster beater. :D I had dinner with my Honda car dealer mate t'other night too.

12-20-2004, 06:06 PM
Originally posted by Scott Rosen:
I've wanted/needed a small truck for a long time. Being a little quirky, as most of us wooden boat folks are, I didn't want to just buy any old truck. I'm thinking I should buy someting to restore. What do you guys think of a '52 Ford?

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/works/nagano/cc-piku.p.jpgScott, I haven't followed this thread but when I saw your post I thought i would pass on some info. About a 1/4 mile from me a fellow just put a 52 Chevy 1/2 ton up for sale, I will stop tomorrow. It looks all original, faded paint, no rust to speak of.
If your interested I will post info.
ps asking $2,000

[ 12-20-2004, 06:09 PM: Message edited by: McB ]

Wayne Jeffers
12-20-2004, 08:15 PM
Originally posted by John B:
. . . I still haven't had a drive of your car. . .John B,

That's an omission you really should correct, soon. Summer's comin' on in your part of the world. :D

Mine's pretty much put away for the winter. :( But no mid-life crisis here; it's my "empty-nest car." ;)


John B
12-20-2004, 08:49 PM
exactly!If you can, do it. have some fun. I agree but anyone over 40 buying a sports car/ bike etc gets the label don't they." oh , must be having a mid life crisis" to heck with em I say. :D

12-20-2004, 09:45 PM
Just dug this up. Thought it might help to keep things in perspective... ;)

The Onion (http://www.theonion.com/auto/opinion_3707.php)


imported_Steven Bauer
12-20-2004, 10:03 PM
I had a '66 Ford 100 for about 5 years, 3 of them as my daily driver. It looked like this one but black, with lots of chrome, it even had a police style spotlight:


I sold it when our second child was on the way. It only sat three. :( I wish I could have kept it as a third car but couldn't swing it. I think one of this era would be safer and more practical than one from the early 50's. Do you know about the big antique car auction at the Owl's Head Transportation Museum? That's where I sold my truck and I made out pretty well.

This '50 Chevy went for $8000 this year:

Or how about this beauty:


It's a 1925 Ford Fire Chief's truck. :D

Owls Head Transportation Museum (http://www.ohtm.org)


[ 12-20-2004, 10:06 PM: Message edited by: Steven Bauer ]

Russell Sova
12-21-2004, 09:55 AM
Scott, when I lived for a year in Lincoln, Montana I bought a '54 Chevy truck, 3600 series. My old girlfriend had a '51 Ford pickup. That Ford was solid but it wouldn't run long before it needed to be towed and worked on. The Chevy I drove to Cleveland in January with only a brush job on the generator needed. An old guy came out of retirement, thrilled to be needed, knew exactly what to do and only charged me for the parts. The Ford would overheat, stall and then run beautifully for a few months before repeating it. It was fun to drive, though. Stock without modifications, they have plenty of power.

imported_Steven Bauer
12-21-2004, 02:31 PM
My '66 had plenty of power, too. All original 352 v-8, three speed on the column - 3 on the tree. smile.gif If you floored it putting it into second it would just lift right up in the air and haul a**! :D


Captain Pre-Capsize
12-21-2004, 05:34 PM
I drove a 53 Dodge 3/4 ton all through high school. Flat head six, oil bath air filter, glass gas filter. A tank of a truck. Four on the floor but never used "Granny Gear". Got it painted silver with black grill. The hood opened from each side into the middle - you coulda climbed in there.

Very, very dependable. Parked outside all winter long in Iowa with the radiator plugged in. One winter (may have been '76) we went forty two days until it warmed up to zero! Not freezing, mind you, but ZERO! (I don't expect any sympathy from our forumites in the northern kingdom but it may elicit a groan or two from our mates down under ;) ) I would start it up, run in and eat my breakfast and then off I would go on its bias ply tires. Its frozen bias ply tires.

As it sat all night the portion of the tire in contact with the pavement would freeze in its flattened state. Driving off for the first 1/4 mile entailed rolling slowly until all four tires hit their flat spot together and WHAM!! Roll....WHAM! Roll...WHAM! Roll...WHAM! :eek: :eek: After a 1/4 mile the flat spots seemed to soften up so I could shift into second gear. Thatsa cold winter and thatsa truck you could count on.

The filler cap was right at the driver's door and I could reach behind me as I sat in it and rap on the gas tank. Never thought a thing about it - teenagers are invincible, remember? I also had it hotwired by running a wire from the starter to the battery which was located under the driver's feet. Just lift up the trap door, move the wire onto the battery post and fire it up. Made the mistake of showing my buddy what I rigged up. Next I knew, "HEY, where did my truck go?!!" :D :D :D