Home Improvements

This double-huffed rat rod/truck hybrid came at the expense of a new kitchen, but having this on the driveway is definitely our kind of …
Home Improvements

Words: Dave Smith, photography: Andy ‘Fly’ Tipping

We’ve seen a massive leap in the number of rat rods over the past few years, and a good boost in the number of rat/patina pick-ups, too. Here’s one that’s a little bit of both, and its brought its own boost to the party.

It belongs to Angie Hawkins, from Nottinghamshire, and, under all that “ratina” (yeah, I just made that up. I Googled it, and apart from being a town in Serbia, nobody else has claimed it, so ratina is now mine!) it’s a 1949 Ford F1 pick-up. “It was on eBay back in May, 2014,” says Angie. “I’d always fancied a rod and this looked just right for me, so I thought I’d take a chance. I was going to have a new kitchen, but thought that a rod would be much more fun! It was a big gamble, because it was out in Arizona, and I’d only seen photos and video of it, but I just thought ‘Why not?’ I put a bid in, found he’d just lowered his reserve, and won.

“When it came over it was sort of complete but had been thrown together, with lots of loose bolts, so I basically had to start again. I do all the work myself, but if I need some extra muscle I can call on my partner, Paul. The massive Mickey Thompsons were totally impractical for the street, so I changed those for the chrome smoothies, changed the front shock absorbers, and changed the sump and transmission pan, which had been battered.

Of course, coming from Arizona, it didn’t have any wipers or indicators, so I had to fit those, and it didn’t have any windows except the windscreen – I made new windows from Perspex, and also made the Perspex bonnet. I had a custom radiator built from scratch by Notts Radiators, and Custom Chrome built me a new exhaust system which I fitted. I also gave it some new seats and mirrors, and did the chequers on the firewall. It’ll be having some more pinstriping done this year.

“That twin turbo set-up is what really sold it to me. I use the truck a lot – I drive it to work, drive it up to the gun club, I use it whenever I can. It’s really good to drive, very easy, the steering is light, plus it’s not massive so it fits me. It handles pretty well, but I don’t go stupid in it as I’d quite like to keep it, so I drive it sensibly, and besides, nobody can see you if you’re belting along. It makes me smile every time I start it up, and when you’re cruising along with the turbos whistling and the gear-drive whining, it doesn’t get any better than that. The exhausts are straight through, but it’s not too loud. It passes the MoT every year, anyway – I MoT it regardless, just for peace of mind, and it shows that you’re trying…

“This year, I really want to get out to more shows. I’ve got a few changes to make before then – new headlamps and an uprated fuel pump, nothing major – but I’m a woman so I might change my mind yet! Getting the time is the problem, as I run my own garage business. I like to work on it myself; I just put it up on the lift and get on with it, and nothing’s dropped off yet so I must be doing alright. I can’t sew, I can’t knit, but I can fix cars…”

1949 Ford F1 pick-up

  • 350 Chevrolet small-block
  • Twin turbochargers
  • RV gear-drive cam drive
  • Custom turbo cam
  • Edelbrock intake and carburettor
  • Stainless turbo headers
  • Custom exhaust system
  • Custom radiator
  • TH350 automatic
  • Lokar shifter
  • Tube frame
  • Speedway front end
  • Adjustable four-link rear
  • Ford 9” axle
  • Disc front, drum rear brakes
  • Four-inch roof chop
  • Custom firewall
  • Bed cut down to 4′
  • Billet slot front wheels, chrome smoothie rear
  • Bucket seats from Pop Parts, with harnesses
  • Extended console

Signwriting by Steven Kemp, pyrography by Mick Exton

Find Angie and Paul at www.knightsbridgegarage.com.