$50 for a ’32 Ford: Still going strong after all these years

Janice Grush learned to drive in her dad’s 1932 Ford pickup. After throwing a rod, the truck sat for a long time before it was fully restored. Courtesy Janice Grush

This article first appeared in Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. Click here to subscribe and join the club.

My dad bought this 1932 Ford pickup in 1955 for $50. It was an old oil company delivery truck, and on the side of the door, it said Penn Oil Co. It wasn’t in the best shape, so we sanded it and painted it primer brown. It stayed that way for many years.

It was our second car and the vehicle I learned to drive in. I remember telling my dad there was no way I could step on the clutch, step on the brake, shift, arm signal, and turn the steering wheel all at the same time. Well, it turns out I could, because I drove it all through high school in the late 1960s and for several years after graduation. The little four-cylinder could not go over 45 mph. Eventually, a rod gave up, and Dad towed me home.

The truck sat in Dad’s garage for a long time. It became a storage unit, and he kept everything you could think of in the back of it. Every once in a while, I would ask him if I could take it and fix it up. He always had the same answer: “I am going to work on it!”

There it sat until 1997, when Dad passed away. Mom asked me if I wanted it, so I loaded it up, plus a 255 V-8 out of a ’66 Fairlane, and hauled them from California to Texas, where I was living at the time.

When I had it restored back in 2000, the only body modifications I had done were to remove the spare tire holder in the front passenger fender, to relocate the gas tank from under the seat to under the bed, and to push the firewall back so the V-8 would fit. The four-speed is out of an F-100, the rear end is a Ford 9-inch with an air-ride system, and the front end is a dropped straight axle with rack-and-pinion steering and disc brakes.




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