The Chevy Pickup Rat And The Black Tulip

In 1939, Ford chief designer E.T.Bob Gregorie gave the all-new1940 Chevy Pickup trucks prow frontstyling of the 1939-1940 passenger cars. Creating in the eyes ofmany die-hard Ford fans,the mostbeautiful pre-war Pickup evermade. Only surpassed in my eyes, by the 1955 F100. This model is a greatcandidate for modification. Whether its a Billet queen or a Rat Rod, everything looksperfect on this stately lady.

So how do you improve on the most beautiful pre-war Pickup ever made? Youstart off by taking away the lady part andgiving it some attitude. And if your nameis Leroy Tulip aka The Black TulipfromEdenvale, thats just the start of the transformation. In May 2011, he heard therewas an abandoned Rod at Sportech Carsin Jozi. When he got there he saw herstanding there looking sad, with flat tyres andcovered in dust. She was begging for love and thechance to be the best she could be. Heimmediately fell in love with herand tookher home to massage some much-needed life into the old shell. She was 80%complete but needed to be brought upto speed. So being a Ford fan, the decision was made to keep everything original Ford.

At the base, he started with a customchassis by Creative Carversions CustomCar Builders with a Ford Cortina front endand a Ford Grenada rear. Then this was mated toa Ford C4 three-speed autotransmissionconnected to a Ford 351 Cleveland block,pushing out in excess of 300hp. Furthermore, cold airis supplied by a 4-barrel Holley carb. Lastly,the used gasses are expelled by a customexhaust created byCreative Carversions.

All in all, a great start

The body was decent, so the House ofHotRod only needed to shoot it with a mean-looking mattblack paint job. And then Eric Brown toppedthat off with some custom hand-paintedgraphics. Adding to this, front stopping powerissupplied by disc brakes, and in the rearwith drums. It works for most cars, so whychange the formula. All the stopping power is transferred to the road via215/60/17 front tyres and 255/65/17 rear Yokohama Geolandar tyres with a white wallconversion by Jeppe tyres. They are connected to the car by 17 American RacingTorque Thrust II rims. Oooh yeah, it justlooks perfect. Sometimes someonejusthits a home run with a car. This is one ofthose rare occasions.

The headlights are one of the few partsnot supplied by Uncle Henry Ford. The lights are Harley Davidson Fatboyheadlights and they fit perfectly. At the back, lighting is supplied by round polished stainless tail lights from House ofHotrod. The top was chopped by Creative Carversions and Custom LoadBin worked on the doors and shaved the doorhandles. Furthermore, the electric windows weredone by House of Hotrod.

The interior is sparse in a beautiful kindof way. Sitting on the leather-coveredbench you look at the steering wheeland realize that there is no controlclutter around you. Leroy fabricated aseries ofswitches to control everything,a very elegant set-up. Info is relayedto the cap by a massive rev counter,oil pressure gauge, water temperaturegauge, volt meter, and fuel gauge. Yes,you read right,there is no speedometer. So, if you are interested in how fast youregoing, then youre not getting the idea behindthis car.

The only drawback with the cab isthe bench seat. Its very upright and a bituncomfortable, especially on longtrips. But at least you wont fall asleep behindthe wheel. The only extras in thecab are two fire extinguishers. This is aHot Rod, with the figure of the MotherMary on the dash for the times whenthesituation gets a bit hairy. It might soundsparse, but thats all you need in a classic Hot Rod.

In the back is the custom fuel tank and while 40 litres might sound like a lot, with 5 km/lit doesnt go far. If you think about it,filling this tank today costs more thanbuying the whole car in 1940. Oh, how timeshave changed. Shes not a trailer queenand gets driven around a lot. The furthest was from Jozi to Kimberley for the Nationals and she is taken out to as manycar shows as possible. The next build is a 1975Chevy C10 and like the 40, it is going tobe a one-make car as well. This will be done with a350cuChevrolet and a new interior. Well bekeeping our eyes on this one.

I asked Leroy if there is anything hedchange and his answer was no shesperfect like she is. I tend to agreethat perfection isnt something you can buy. It just happens when you really love yourproject. This is a car I wouldnt mindparking in my driveway, but I suspectgetting her away from her current ownerwould be impossible.

Ford, matt black, V8, and chrome, whatmore could any petrolhead want.