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Patinaed and Purposeful: 1935 Ford Rat Truck


By Tommy Parry 
 
Bill’s started out this particular build with plenty of rockabilly style and enthusiasm. He wanted a rat rod that was usable and sturdily built—and without any blemishes or shoddy welds. Not accepting anything less than his own incredibly high standards, Bill embarked on this ambitious build with a few ideas but plenty of gusto.
 
He was also committed to doing things with some respect for tradition; no disc brakes, nothing too modern. First, his ‘35 Ford was first fitted with the steering box from a Chevy Vega, and given a straight axle and bias-ply tires. Some serious fiddling took place try to get the pitman arm correct, as Bill didn’t have much in the way of metalworking experience. 
 
After several long years planning the build out, he had the majority of the relevant parts in place or, at least, mocked up. Now, Bill was ready to begin painting, polishing, or coating the hardware, and with such a classy looking body, and his love for stray cat fashion, the Ford was on the verge of transforming into something head-snappingly cool.
 
Next came the air ride system, an RCI fuel tank, a pair of Edelbrock valve colors in striking green, and a new radiator. The shell ornament and radiator cap were mounted so they were level, and then the entire truck disassembled for the paint booth. The foundation had been laid, but as this car was meant to drive to plenty of shows, it needed to look spiffy.
 
It pays to have talented friends. Bill’s friend was one of the best patina painters in the Cleveland area, and he worked his magic on the Ford’s body. Some line work and a bit of distressed classic font in the theme of a tow truck, and overnight the truck looked like something out of American Graffiti. 
 

Once the body was laid back on the frame, Bill pulled out his pocketbook and wrote a hefty check to have the original bombers covered in plush, brown leather. Since there would be plenty of long-distance touring in this beauty’s future, the interior needed to be a comfortable place for Bill to sit, relax, and soak in the scenery. 
 
After laying some pine slats in the bed, flaying the bed sides, and building a custom set of headers, all the final touches had been added. The aesthetic here blends both simple understatement and some strong focal points—like the seafoam green wheels and the red linework running around the bed. With the ability to shatter glass with those cannons doubling as headers, a sumptuous interior to enjoy the long-distance drive in, and some unquestionable style points to win the judges’ approval, there’s a bright future for this immaculate Ford that looks, at least at a distance, a little weathered.