1948 Ford rat-rod tow truck leaves Leno awestruck
Jay Leno has driven countless automobiles in his life, yet he still manages to find unique rides. Among the most memorable is the 1948 Ford F6 rat rod featured on the latest installment of Jay Leno’s Garage.
“This is what people will be driving on the last day of gasoline—when it’s all used up,” Leno jokes. “… In most modern cars, you go 100 [mph] and you feel like you’re going 60. In this one, you go 60 and feel like you’re going 200.”
Owned by Brett Gregory, CEO of the Circle G Movie Ranch in Agua Dulce, California, says the truck “checked three boxes” for him: rat rod, vintage tow truck, and blower motor all in one package.
“So you’re ready to die,” Leno says. “Leave this with me and I’ll take care of it. You’ve pretty much accomplished everything.”
Just about every major American auto manufacturer is represented in the F6. Under the hood, the ’48 Ford has a Chevrolet 350-cubic-inch roller motor with a 671 blower that’s mated to a three-speed Turbo 400 transmission. (The driveline averages 3 to 4 mpg.) The build also features ’42 Chevy headlights, Dodge motorhome wheels (19.5 inch tires on the front, 20s on the back), ’50 Pontiac running lights, and so much more.
The roof has been chopped five inches, the front axle raised two feet, and the back lowered to create its head-turning stance. Yet “it looks authentic,” Leno says. “There’s still a lot of 1948 there.”
Created by Larry Mason and Ed West about a decade ago, the patina-laden rat rod has numerous unique—and sometimes hidden—features. The “GPS” is a World War II compass. There are two antique brass fire extinguishers in back. A JVC stereo system with a back-up camera is concealed behind a drop-down panel on the dash. The battery is hidden inside a tool box. And the fuel tank is located beneath a hinged gas can in the truck bed; the can is secured in place by an old Winchester lock.
Though the license plates read BADNUWZ, this truck is anything but.
“It must be a lot of fun when you go to car shows,” Leno says, “because this is what people go crazy for.”
“They really do,” Gregory admits. “… It really makes people smile. They want to come up, they want to talk about it, they follow me on the street, the cameras come out … It’s very, very unique.”