A Fine ’41
While I was cleaning out my closet the other day, I came across a stack of magazines that I had basically forgotten about. I knew they had been there since I moved into my apartment three years ago, but that was the extent of it. Were they copies of Hot Rod from the ’50s? Car Craft from the ’60s? Or some rare copies of Wizzz from the mid-2000s? A few nights ago, I finally plopped down on my floor and started sifting through them. Even though they weren’t all treasures, I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.
As I was flipping through pages in a vintage magazine-fueled bliss, I stumbled upon a ’41 Ford pickup that caught my eye. The truck was owned by John Kuchka of Salinas, California, and I soon learned that it was originally built by Wilber Mitchell sometime in the ’60s
Starting with a clean, stock hauler, Wilber brought the old Ford down to earth with a dropped front axle and reversed eye rear spring. Rather than running a flathead, he installed a Corvette 283 and outfitted it with a pair of four-barrel carbs. Internally the Chevy was stock, and it was linked to a ’41 Ford transmission via a Hurst adaptor.
As clean as the underpinnings may have been, this truck’s impact revolves around the paint. From nose to tail, it was sprayed in cherry red lacquer and expertly finished. Although I can’t say for sure, there’s a strong chance it was Rod Powell’s handiwork, judging by the location and era. When combined with blackwalls, black running boards, a black Naugahyde interior and chrome reverse wheels, it creates an undeniably tidy presentation.
Other than the custom rear pan, taillights and radiused wheelwells, not a whole lot has been done to the Ford’s lines. It’s simply a classic truck that’s been treated to just enough customizing, making it an eye catcher then—and now.
Photos by Andy Southard, Street Rod, September 1974. Please ignore the strange crops…different days, I suppose.