1937 Ford Pickup Split Window - One Glass Act
1937 Ford Split Window
All truck enthusiasts have pipe dreams of someday owning the planet's most ultimate tricked-out custom ride. For some of us, that dream lasts throughout our entire life, but typically never becomes a reality. However, for Scott and Jeanie Perry of Frankfort, Kentucky, their dream came true. After accumulating countless frequent cruiser miles behind the wheel of a number of Scott's previous street rods and custom trucks, he decided it was time to experience the ultimate dream ride.
Recently, well-known hot rod builder Jerry Beard had completed his Downs-bodied '37 Ford pickup. The first time Scott laid his eyes on the yellow truck, he knew this was his dream. After a year, Scott's curiosity got the best of him, and he asked Jerry about the possibility of purchasing the tricked-out Ford. Scott's perseverance eventually paid off, and he later purchased the unique canary yellow classic. Once he owned the truck, Scott pressed Jerry for information on how he turned the '37 into the show-winner it is today.
After Jerry took delivery of the Downs-manufactured '37 Ford pickup, he immediately began pre-assembly and applying some of his own modifications. This included a unique digital gauge cluster that was carefully removed from a '95 Chevy Caprice, then grafted into the center of Jerry's custom-built dash in the '37. Being very meticulous with every component assembled, it took Jerry seven months to complete the project.
This unique custom '37 Ford pickup is supported by a Downs steel frame with boxed rails. Up front, the Mustang II, independent front suspension (IFS) system, uses tubular upper and lower control arms, with a pair of Aldin coilover shocks and 2-inch drop spindles to acquire an aggressive stance. When Scott applies the Corvette front disc brakes, he knows it's going to stop straight and true. Out back, there's a tri-four-bar rear suspension, with a Panhard bar, and drum brakes. The ride height and damping is controlled with a pair of Aldin coilover shocks. A set of Boyd Coddington Extreme billet aluminum wheels, 16x8-inch in the front and 17x8-inch in the rear, are wrapped by P205/55R16 front and P255/50R17 rear Goodyear G-Force rubber.
Lifting the hood exposes the rejuvenated '95 LT1 5.7L, 350ci small-block engine. The 4x3.48-inch bore and stroke creates a 10.5:1 compression ratio, producing 330 hp at 5,000 rpm and 340 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Its sequential, multi-port fuel injection is hidden under a custom fabricated cover. A 4L60-E four-speed automatic transmission links up the horsepower to the Ford 8-inch rearend, stuffed with 3.80 gears. The truck also sprouts a pair of Jet-Hot-coated Sanderson shorty headers, which flow into a 2-1/4-inch stainless exhaust system, which is responsible for the throaty vocals.
The unique aspect of this custom is its Downs '37 Ford split-window fiberglass body, which includes the cab, fenders, hood, running boards, bed, and tonneau. All of the fiberglass body components are sprayed with a high-quality ISO resin and gelcoat. Multiple layers of fiberglass cloth are hand laid, with each laminated layer saturated with ISO resin, contributing added rigidity and strength to each of the fiberglass components. This technique is more durable than chopper gun application. All of the parts are then kiln-dried using selected oak wood. Each component is individually laid over steel substructures for a guaranteed precise fit. After the components were dried, the major parts were trimmed then packaged and shipped.
The body was then given multiple coats of sanding primer, and Jerry block-sanded all the exterior surfaces, eliminating any high or low spots. It was then delivered to airbrush and pinstripe artist Bill Canham, in Springfield, Illinois, where he applied his skills and dexterity for the custom graphics, and airbrushed highlights around the 1937 Ford's midriff. According to Jerry, the graphics were applied first, then taped over, prior to applying the overall color. This dyslexic approach of applying custom paint is unique to Al Summers of Mechanicburg, Illinois, who performed his talent behind the spray gun, as he sprayed numerous flawless coats of PPG Wheatland yellow. Then, he buried the graphics with multiple coats of clear, creating endless depth in the color scheme. To achieve an ultra-glistening shine, many hours were spent color-sanding, which was followed by buffing and polishing.
The leading edge of the Ford is highlighted with a Downs aluminum grille, flanked by a pair of Queen Bee headlights. The bezels received matching body color to blend in with the rest of the body. Six side marker lights were removed from the rear fenders of a '99 Ford dualie, then were frenched into the rear corners of the '37's bed.
Opening the doors exposes the crafty stitchwork done by James Comas of Adamsville, Indiana. The luxurious silver leather interior features a pair of Toyota seats, divided by a '99 Pontiac Sunfire console. Jerry built a custom dash to accommodate the '95 Chevy Impala digital gauge cluster that was mounted in the center of the '37's dash. A Howell wiring kit was used to link the engine and electronic accessory components to the dash controls and instrumentation. The interior climate is controlled by a Vintage Air system mounted under the dash. A Chevy van donated its tilt-steering column with cruise control, capped with a Boyd Coddington leather-covered steering wheel. The sound system was kept simple with a Kenwood head unit and amp.
Whether Scott and Jeanie are cruisin', or relaxin' under a shady tree at a show 'n' shine, they are sure to turn heads and attract a crowd. Their '37 Ford has been highly judged at several of the Goodguys, NSRA, and ISC events. The Downs '37 Ford pickup is a true show-stopper.