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jack neville 26-12-12 02:55

A little light entertainment: 1939 Ford 1 ton Utility restoration
This relates the story of a 1939 Ford 1 ton utility I rescued a few years ago from a paddock at Little River, in Victoria. Still under restoration with a target of Coroaw 2014 in mind. Hope you enjoy it. will post some photos when I work out how to do it.

Merry Christmas.

Years ago I found a truck beside a railway track,
Sitting in a paddock full of wrecks.
The owner was a greyhound trainer probably training hacks.
An interest in that truck his last expects.

I went and had a look at it and thought a piece of junk.
No way will it see the light of day.
Something like a Marmy, missing front end piece of hunk,
Some useful bits but quickly turned away.

Then later I was talking to a mate and told him more.
I thought I’d found a useful piece of crap.
It had a Marmy cabin but the running gear was poor.
“Could it be a one ton ute perhaps?”

Blankly I stared back at him. “A one ton ute is what?”
“They used them in the mighty world war two.”
“The Aussie Army made them back when they were in a spot.”
“There’s hardly any left but just a few.”

So quickly to Bart Vanderveen I made a quick refer,
And found the page that showed the very pic.
An ugly sort of duckling but a rarity for sure.
History tells there’s dead and there’s the quick.

So ventured off the daily train and drove my truck to work,
And on the way I made a slight detour.
I’ll go and see this bloke and flash some cash and swing this lurk,
I’ll offer him five hundred to be sure.

So in amongst a hundred dogs in kennels of all sort,
A tumbled wooden dwelling falling down.
At least a hundred other wrecks where rabbits did cavort,
A Ford of 1939 was found.

A sad and tired basket case with crane jib on the back,
Was used for hoisting carcass for the dogs.
It sat there for ten years where it died there on the track.
The owner blamed the dizzy’s broken cogs.

The tyres had all gone very flat and perished in the sun,
The wooden frame and metal work was sad.
To try and resurrect what did remain would not be fun,
I doubt it could be saved it was so bad.

But looking for the silver lining as we often do,
When contemplating what we can repair.
There is no seat the tray is gone the chassis’s altered too.
But all the other parts are sort of there.

The steering wheel and column they were far too gone for use.
The petrol tank had way too many holes.
The doors had rusted bottoms and the running boards abuse.
An Army truck? Way too much patrols.

So gingerly to sound him out I asked him what he thought,
And would he take five hundred with a nod.
“It’s handy with the crane right there.” “So it can not be bought?”
“My son has plans to turn it to a rod.”

“Well that would be a waste.” I said. “For such a noble beast,”
“Much better to restore this Aussie hack.”
But he would not be swayed right there no luck this day at least,
So thank you for your time, but I’ll be back.

So back was I commuting on the train and going past,
Twice a day I looked out on his field.
To watch this old girl aging as the train flew by so fast,
Six months later maybe he will yield.

Make I did another trip and nothing much had changed,
I doubt he’d even used it in that time.
The wrecks had grown in numbers and the dogs had rearranged,
Time to change my rhythm and my rhyme.

“So how’s your young bloke going with his plans to make a rod?”
“I’m glad your back.” He said. “It’s hot today.”
“The kid’s no longer interested. Lazy rotten sod.”
“The truck is yours. Just haul it all away.”

“My offer was five hundred so I’m glad to give you such.”
But “No!” He said. And raised his hand to me.
“I’m happy just to know that you have wanted it so much.”
“But leave me just the jib and take it free.”

So back I was within a week complete with labour force,
An old Toyota chassis for the jib.
A cinch to change the crane around the kids no help of course,
Just chased the rabbits round. (Well, that’s a fib.)

Another relic saved forever safe from cutting torch.
The ravages of time no longer feared.
The old bloke waved us off as he was seated on the porch.
A happy day was had as evening neared.

The old girl travelled slowly home a few bits falling off.
The timbers rattle loose and glass departs.
They’re fine while they are standing still in paddock some would scoff.
But travel home too fast they fall apart.

She bounced up on the trailer to the stares from passing car.
With smiles appearing from each looker’s lip.
The menfolk and the children were admiring from afar.
The women thought “They’re heading for the tip!”

So finally we got it home and made it in the yard,
Satisfied we made it no mishap.
We rolled it off the trailer. Said to kids, “That wasn’t hard.”
The wife appeared, “What is that bloody crap?”

“Darling it’s an asset! It’s a beauty! They are rare!”
“And better still so cheap it doesn’t rate.”
“The kids have had a ‘triffic day they haven’t got a care.”
“Yeah Mum thinks it’s a bloody ripper mate!”

The progress well it ain’t been fast in fact it has been slow.
But always since I’ve kept it in the shed.
You drink a lot of beer and stand and look and think you know,
And contemplate the action plans in bed.

And when the subject comes around and parts come up for sale.
“I’d better get that now before too late.”
And then you hear of other ones or some misleading mail.
And find he’s not the owner but his mate.

But slowly work had been accomplished even making way.
With other projects thrown in here and there.
It won’t be long till it is on its wheels ‘bout any day.
It’s buried under all that stuff somewhere.

And then I saw a date in year two thousand and fourteen,
At Corowa the March sun will be out.
That year it will be of the Ford that’s when it could be seen.
I guess I’d better pull me finger out.

I’ve kept an eye on this bloke’s yard on everyday commutes.
The old jib crane seemed idle everyday.
The pile of wrecks just kept on growing mostly worn out utes.
Until the scrappy took them all away.

Jan Thompson 26-12-12 03:18

Hi Jack,
It is good to see you are planning ahead. We will give participants a chance to nominate the theme for 2017 at Corowa in 2013. Make sure you complete a Voting Form and at the bottom you can nominate a theme.

In 2014 the themes will be Year of the Ford and Year of WW1
In 2015 the themes will be Year of the Emergency Vehicle and Year of the General Motors.
In 2016 the themes will be Year of the Tank and Year of the Chrysler (2)

We are also after restoration stories with a few photos. Jack would you be interested in sending us a resto story sometime next year?

jack neville 26-12-12 04:43


I still owe you one for the Marmon Herrington. Will try and get that organised soon.

Richard Farrant 26-12-12 11:38

Hi Jack,
I have sent you a PM

regards, Richard

jack neville 25-02-13 13:14

39 Ford update
5 Attachment(s)
Attachment 55220 Attachment 55221 Attachment 55222 Attachment 55223 Attachment 55224

Just a few photos of the cab I have to work with. I do have another 39 hard cab which will provide some sheet metal and out of the two I should be able to resurrect one decent roadster cab. The original is very badly rusted but straight. The hard cab is not badly rusted but was involved in a accident at some stage and badly bent on the left hand side, pushing the cab out of alignment all across to the right side. Much of the sheet metal on the left side is unusable despite the damage being repaired albeit very poorly.

jack neville 25-02-13 13:20

39 Ford update
5 Attachment(s)
some more photos

jack neville 25-02-13 13:27

39 Ford update
5 Attachment(s)
and some more showing where the chassis is at. It is almost a complete rolling chassis. Just needs a bit of paint and a bit more work on the front end. Also a photo of the rear body showing how bad it is. The other two photos show a patch over the vent and what I found underneath it. See what I am up against??

jack neville 25-02-13 13:39

39 Ford update
5 Attachment(s)
These show the remains of the cab lining on the left side near where the fire extinguisher bracket is mounted. The wooden bracket base was still there with what was left of the lining. I tried to tear it out but it was securely fixed. Unscrewing the bracket I then had to unscrew another piece of wood which was attached to the body as a mounting piece for the wooden bracket base. Have a look at the great lump of wood that was used. It is very neatly dressed and shaped and in perfect condition. The timber is about 75mm x 75mm and about 300mm long. That is some overkill for a fire extinguisher mount!!

jack neville 06-03-13 11:44

39 update
5 Attachment(s)
Just spent the last four days pulling the two cabs apart to salvage what will be reassembled to make one cab. Lots of cutting and grinding to get the good bits from one to replace the rusted out bits from the other. I will get them sandblasted and then reweld the pieces back together. The rear extension of the Aussie roadster cab is seen still intact. One thing with the 39 cab is the door pillars and other parts are riveted together first before some extra welds are added. This makes it easy when reassembling as you know you have the piece in the right place. Just line up the rivet holes.

jack neville 06-03-13 11:50

39 update
5 Attachment(s)
Some photos showing the rear part of the cab before disassembly

jack neville 06-03-13 12:01

39 update
2 Attachment(s)
A few more. I had to melt the lead out of the joins before disassembling the rear section.

jack neville 06-03-13 12:11

39 update
5 Attachment(s)
Some of the sheet metal appears to be bronzed together after the timber framework is put in place. These bodies, being made in very few numbers, are quite complex to rebuild. A combination of old timber coachwork and modern (40's modern) sheetmetal technology. After removal of the rear panel you can see how it attaches. It as a foded edge that slides up over another strip that is nailed to the timber work and then is welded at the top so that there is no visible sign of how that panel attaches.

jack neville 06-03-13 12:18

39 updates
5 Attachment(s)
You can see the strip that attaches to the timber. Some other shots of the rotted timber work. Also a shot of how the B pillar from the hard cab needs to be trimmed down to match.and the last shot showing the corner metal work after the lead has been melted out.

jack neville 06-03-13 12:28

39 update
5 Attachment(s)
Shots of the top of the B pillar and some of the bottom timber.

jack neville 06-03-13 12:38

39 update
5 Attachment(s)
Since I have salvaged the B pillars from the hard cab, I only need the side panels so I cut them away from the B pillar so the panel itself can be salvaged and repaired.The third shot shows the cab extension. These were done in the Ford factory at Geelong during the war I believe. Parts of the original hard cab bodies were used and the rest is just folded sheet metal to make the roadster cab the same length but squared off whereas the hard cabs were rounded. The last shot shows the sheetmetal to be sandblasted and the pile of sheetmetal to be scrapped. They look the same except what is to be sandblasted is on the trolley. Don't worry my wife couldn't pick the difference either!!

Bob Moseley (RIP) 07-03-13 03:51

Don't Forget
Hi Jack - don't forget the gauges. I know someone who can do them. Hint, hint.

:D Salesman Bob

Bob Carriere 07-03-13 04:56

How do you spell ambition......
C-o-u-r-a-g-e.......... and the word blind preceeds.....

Thanks for the wonderful pictures.... I will never complained about rusted Canadian CMPs again...... amazing what you can do wtih rust flakes.

Its no wonder Museums can't afford the restoration we are doing ...... there is no price !!!!!! for determination.

Bob C

jack neville 07-03-13 14:15

39 update
Bob and Bob,

The cabin is pretty straight forward actually now that I have salvaged all the bits required. Much of the work is working out what to cut from one and scrap from the other. Once it is sandblasted it just has to be reassembled. I had a practice run a few years ago when I did the Marmon Herrington. Although it is a 41 model cab, the rear extension is the same. I did intend to 'steel' the 39 out instead of replacing the timber but when looking at it, it is easier to replace the timber. There is only about a dozen pieces that need to be made.

The gauges in the original cabin are pretty stuffed Bob, but I do have some others. I might bring them to Corowa for you to have a look at.

jack neville 01-04-13 10:59

39 update
5 Attachment(s)
Back from Corowa and I picked up the sandblsted pieces and have begun putting them back together

jack neville 01-04-13 11:05

39 update
5 Attachment(s)
The previous photos show the door pillar re attached and the front and back sections rejoined. You can see half of the front cowl has been removed. For two reasons, one half was badly rusted but also to open the area for sandblasting. A replacement section was taken from the hardcab. Luckily it was not rusted in the same areas.

jack neville 01-04-13 11:13

39 update
5 Attachment(s)
A few patches chopped out and replaced. The worst areas in old Ford cabs are the front and rear corners. There is always rust in them and the laminated layers means you have to chop them up to access the rust to sandblast it or cut out the rusted sections for replacement. There are usually lots of vibration cracks to weld and they can be found any and everywhere.

cliff 01-04-13 11:16

very nice work. One thing I never learned was how to weld. :thup2:

jack neville 01-04-13 11:36

Get a mig welder Cliff. Nothing to it. And I just bought a chep Chinese electric spot welder. Very handy for this sort of work.

jack neville 08-04-13 14:04

39 Ford update
4 Attachment(s)
The half cowl went in perfectly after trimming up and matching the other half.

jack neville 08-04-13 14:14

39 Ford update
5 Attachment(s)
once the cowl was in I cut the top half of the windscreen off to replace it with the other top half I had previously repaired with the top section filled in. This is unique to the roadster cabs to take the hood arrangement. Small sections of frame were tacked in to help align the two halves. I have only tacked the two halves together until I check that the windscreen will fit properly.

jack neville 21-04-13 13:48

39 update
3 Attachment(s)
The bottom section of the left side was cut out both because it was rusted and to open up the inner frame for sandblasting. A salvaged section from the hard cab was good enough to repair and refit.

jack neville 21-04-13 13:57

39 update
3 Attachment(s)
The side panels were removed from the old body by grinding away the spot welds on the pillars leaving the panel intact to be reattached to the new pillars. The bottom areas are rusted out and will need replacement sections and cleaning up before reassembly. The dark green paint is the original colour, which is unusual for an Australian vehicle I would have thought. Khaki is visible but the dark green is the factory colour. The red would indicate some Country Fire Authority service post war. A common fate for many ex-army vehicles in Australia.

jack neville 21-04-13 14:01

39 update
4 Attachment(s)
These photos show the remains of the timber work which needed replacing. It would have been impossible to copy from these remains if I had not done the same job on my Marmon Herrington Gun Tractor a few years ago.

hrpearce 21-04-13 14:17

I takes me hat of to ya :thup2:

jack neville 25-06-13 14:45

39 update
3 Attachment(s)
I bought one of these cheap spot welders from ebay. Wish I had bought one years ago. Very handy for jobs like this. Welding replacement weather seal retainer strips to the bottom of the door frame.

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