1934 Ford Pickup
FORD PICKUP On loan from Harry Holck, Clifton Park, NY When asked to describe his interesting vehicle, Harry Holck thinks for a moment, then settles on the perfect description.
“It’s a little different than the average restoration,” he offers with a broad grin. “I guess it’s a combination of a hot rod, a ‘rat’ rod and a restoration.”
The first step on the project was taken 25 years ago, but it was a long time between the day his grandfather, Harry Holck Sr., found the truck in Colonie and the day the actual rebuilding process began.
“My grandfather found the truck, sitting in pieces in a pile with a ‘for sale’ sign on it, while walking his dog,” recalled Holck. “He called me, so I hooked up my small trailer, went down and bought it for $375. But I was in the process of redoing an old house, so the parts went in the attic of my barn for 17 years. Finally, a friend convinced me I should build something out of the parts, so I put everything in my garage and started on a three-year project.”
Rust had eaten away the bottom six inches of the cab and doors, so new metal was welded in. Replacement panels were used to repair other rust damage and a new floor and sub-frame to support it were fabricated.
“Then I chopped the roof 3” and stretched the cab by 3” to get a little more leg room,” added Holck. “The pickup bed sides had been made by a manufacturer in Colorado to the standard size, so then I had to cut 3” out of them to allow for the extra length of the cab.”
The resurrected pieces then went onto a TCI reproduction truck frame, as the original was found to be too rusty to use safely. The front end uses the typical Mustang II suspension and rack and pinion steering while a Ford 9” rear axle was installed beneath the new pickup bed.
“To complete the drive train, I bought a ’95 Chevrolet Caprice police car at a surplus auction in Schenectady for $325,” explained the thrifty builder. “It had the desirable LT1 fuel-injected engine and 4160E transmission. I cleaned and painted everything and had the transmission rebuilt, but the engine seemed to run fine when I got it so I left it as is. The computer had to be reprogrammed to remove the emission components but with that, a reproduction 1934 Ford gas tank, an electric fuel pump and the lines that were in the Caprice, we were good to go.”
Holck then found a set of old Chevy Z28 wheels, painted them dark grey and fashioned a set of “old style” Ford V-8 emblems to go on the center caps. After a friend who is an expert welder helped fashion a custom stainless steel exhaust system, Holck tackled the interior. “While looking for other parts in a junkyard, I found a bench seat from a mini-van that I thought might work. To make it fit in the narrow cab, I had to take it apart, cut 4” out of the frame, and weld it back together. Then I cut the foam and seat cover an equal amount, and sewed all that back together.
“The finishing touch was a coat of flat black paint. I was trying for a modern ‘rat rod’ look and I was pleased with the way it came out. It’s a fun truck to drive, gets 21 mpg on the highway and has proven to be reliable and worthy of long trips. It was a lot of work but also loads of fun. I’m really glad I kept with the project!
“Grandpa wasn’t around to see the project completed but it’s nice to know that he was the one who found the truck to get me started.”