Pro-built steel rod with a fantastic pedigree. Ken Thurm, Jimmy Shine, Lil’ John Buttera all had a hand in its construction. All-aluminum small block, 5-speed manual, Halibrand quick change. A fabricator’s dream, fully sorted, multiple magazine feature car. Want a real hot rod? This is one of the best.
It’s a genuine Henry Ford steel ’32 Ford pickup cab built by Ken Thurm. The cab was chopped four inches and channeled another six by Jeff Sherman. The work is so seamless that you almost can’t spot the modifications without a stock Ford next to it, and none of it affects your ability to get comfortable inside. He also fabricated the custom bed, tailgate, and chopped down an original deuce radiator shell to match. Once he’d made all the cuts and welds invisible, Jeff just shot it with some gray primer he had around the shop and told Ken to come pick it up. They weren’t sure what color they were going to use, but at least they could start assembling the thing.
Back at the shop, Ken already had the chassis ready to go, a custom-fabricated piece that was based on a pair of Hot Rods & Custom Stuff ’32 frame rails, but that’s as far as it went—no kit, no pre-engineered rolling chassis, no bolt-on stuff. They started by stretching it three inches to give it just the right stance and to push the front axle well ahead of the motor for that awesome rake. They also left the whole thing in bare steel so you could see his gorgeous TIG welds and exceptional fabrication on the brackets, mounts, crossmembers, and other critical parts. Up close this thing is a master class in the fabricator’s art. There’s a beefy X-frame reinforcing the center of the boxed frame rails, but it’s designed so the Tremec TKO600 5-speed manual gearbox can drop right out using a removable crossmember. Look around and you’ll also see a chrome Magnum 5-inch dropped I-beam axle and leaf spring, along with matching hairpin radius rods, all chosen because they were going to be visible. On the ends you’ll find Buick finned aluminum brake drums with disc brakes cleverly hidden inside for an old-school look and improved performance. The aforementioned Tremec 5-speed gearbox feeds a custom-made Inland Empire driveshaft and a genuine polished aluminum Halibrand champ car quick-change rear end, currently set up for 4.11 gearing. That Halibrand hangs on a set of Air Ride springs so it’ll slam itself on the ground or give you the perfect rake, your call. All the lines are stainless, as is the polished exhaust system, which tucks up in the frame so you don’t have to worry about clearance, even on something this low. Oh, and those are real Halibrand wheels up front, with 18-inch replicas out back.
Now, back to the cab. Once it was on that bare metal frame, it just looked so right that they left it alone. Who needs paint? It has a raw, unfussy look that we find extremely appealing in this age of guys walking around their cars at shows burning through Quick Detailer by the quart. But while you’re looking at the non-paint job, please also note how well the doors fit, the tight gaps, and the beautifully finished oak planks in the bed, which were stained ebony to add some contrast. The tailgate drops down and under the bed you’ll find the controls for the Air Ride system, and it tilts at the front to give you access to the spun aluminum gas tank underneath. ’32 Ford commercial headlights always look better than generic King Bees and ’37 Ford taillights tucked under the bed look like they were born there.
You’ve probably noticed the sextet of Holley carbs on top of the engine, but that’s probably the LEAST interesting part of the whole thing. Underneath you’ll find an all-aluminum Hawk small block Chevy V8 that comes from Lil’ John Buttera himself, one of his leftover Indy competition engines. It was sleeved and punched out to 412 cubic inches, all in a package that doesn’t weigh any more than a 4-cylinder Toyota engine. Those Holley 94s are on a vintage Offenhauser aluminum intake designed to emulate an Olds J2 setup and there are a pair of Edelbrock aluminum heads with custom valve covers, again designed to duplicate Oldsmobile hardware. The headers were also left raw, but they dump into a full stainless exhaust system or they can be left wide-open. A Taylor Vertex distributor looks just like a vintage magneto and there’s a fabricated shroud for the radiator up front built by Hoffman Radiator. There’s even a little tiny alternator tucked down low supplying plenty of juice for the minimalist rod.
It’s bare-bones inside but it’s no less beautifully crafted. A new Glide Engineering bench seat drops right in and it has been upholstered with a traditional Mexican blanket. A Bell 4-spoke dirt track-style steering wheel lives on top of a custom-made steering column, which also houses a trick tach mount that was whittled out of a single chunk of aluminum. Gauges from Classic Instruments monitor the basics and as you can see, with 3563 miles on it, this truck is far from a trailer queen. That wild shifter wears a one-off shifter knob that looks cool and feels surprisingly right in your hand. Nice!
If you want a truck that defines the word “craftsmanship” and has already been recognized with multiple show wins and multiple magazine features, this is it. This is hot-rodding at its best, and if you get it, you get it. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com
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