My 1948 Ford F-1 Panel Truck Story


I have always wanted a panel truck to go along with my F-2 pickup truck. In 1999 I opened my own business, building industrial control panels, and decided a panel truck would make the perfect truck for my panel shop. During the summer of 2000, I found a panel truck on the internet that was for sale in Wisconsin. I toyed with the idea of contacting the person for a quite a while.

The one event that changed my mind was the time my wife, Michelle, came home from a pool party and told me how the women were telling each other how they control their homes. My wife told me she had told the other women she had me "under her thumb." Well, that was all it took — The next day, I called the person who had the truck listed and told him I would be over to see it that weekend. I looked at the truck and bought it, along with a parts truck. So I guess we all know who runs the house, don't we!

After getting the truck home, I tore it apart and started restoring it by welding the roof from the parts truck onto the main truck. I had it sandblasted and primed. While the body was being blasted, I was able to find a rebuilt chassis and engine, again on the internet. When I got the body back from the blaster, I set it on the new chassis. I did most of the welding work on the truck's main body before I had it blasted.

After doing a lot of work on the truck the project came to a standstill because lack of time, and money. In the summer of 2006 I found another panel listed on eBay that was more complete and looked in pretty condition so decided to bid on it. I figured I had a lot to do on the original panel and if I were buy this panel I would be much further ahead so I bid on it and won.

'51 F-4

These are the pictures of the panel truck as they were posted on eBay. I basically bought it sight unseen. I took a big chance but I thought it looked pretty nice and the seller has excellent feedback.
(Click on either picture for a slightly larger image)

'51 F-4

After making the 1600 mile round trip to pick up the truck I looked the truck over and decided it wasn't as nice as I hoped. I still think I got an OK deal, but not a great deal. The body needs some body work. The eBay ad stated "There is absolutely NO rust dents or body damage on this vehicle". Well, there is some rust repairs that weren't done the best so they will have to be cleaned up. The front of the floor had patches from another truck welded in with the welds not ground smooth. The front doors were patched on the bottom and the back doors were poorly patched up, leaving a fair amount of pin holes and ugly patch work on the bottoms. Overall, the body is very solid, I only found patches in the areas behind both front doors. The areas prone to rust out, the area above the rear wheels looks to be very solid.

Also after looking the truck's chassis over I decided it would be easier and more practical to swap complete chassis' with my original panel truck. The shocks and brake system were in poor condition, another part I was hoping that would be in better condition. The original panel truck's chassis had better components including rebuilt flathead V8 engine and transmission, new brakes, shocks and exhaust. I had originally just planned to yank the engine out of the old panel and drop it in the new one but I figured it wouldn't take much more to do a complete chassis swap. With the help of my two sons, Charlie and Andy, and my wife we were able to swap chassis' in less than seven hours.

Items that I plan to do this year, 2008:

  • Swap chassis'--Done

  • Rewire entire truck--Pretty much done

  • New tires-I found a set of original stock wheels, need to paint them

  • I found a newer rear axle to swap into the panel

  • Make road worthy so I can attend the Dash to the Dells on September 12-13, 2008Click here to get the 2008 Dash to the Dells flyer

  • Items that I plan to do next year:
    • Clean up body work

    • Paint truck red to match my F-2

    • Work on engine and install dual intake

    • Add trim pieces and dress up items

All original images and text copyright ©2007 by Robert A. Jones. All rights reserved.

Last updated on April 3, 2006