’38 pickup projects abound on South Shore

One of the most enjoyable aspects of writing this column is that in addition to seeing some beautifully restored and customized vehicles, I get to see numerous car projects all over the island. Some of the projects are basket cases; others are drivable vehicles that simply awaiting the finishing touches.

1938 Ford Pickup

Lawa‘i resident Elroy Farias purchased his 1938 Ford pickup several years ago from O‘ahu. It was part of a “package deal” that included a 1963 Chevy Nova, which is the Ford’s stable mate. Graphics on both doors define what the truck means to Farias: “38 Special.”

The flathead V-8 is long gone; the oval-grilled Ford pickup is now powered by a 350 Chevy mill with an “Isky” (Iskenderian) cam and an Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor. The Turbo 350 automatic transmission delivers power back to a nine-inch Ford Positraction differential with 4.11 gears. A Flowmaster exhaust system gives the truck a menacing growl.

Finishing touches for the ‘38 Ford pickup will be a fresh coat of burgundy paint with black running boards. The seats and door panels will also get new upholstery. So, with his ’63 Nova and a basket case 1930 Model A roadster waiting in the wings, there is little doubt as to how Elroy will be spending his free time.


1938 Plymouth Pickup

Over at Bonilla Motorsports in Puhi, Chris Bonilla is putting the finishing touches on a rare 1938 Plymouth pickup. Plymouth produced a pickup as part of its commercial line from 1937-41. Bonilla’s pickup was purchased about 15 years ago from a man in Hanapepe. Chris and his dad, Dennis, fabricated a new frame out of 2×3 inch rectangular tubing. A dropped front axle, street rod style, has four-link suspension.

A “built” 383 small-block Chevy engine is in place, backed by a beefy Turbo 400 transmission. The rear differential is a durable Ford 9-inch unit with a four-link suspension system with coil over springs. To accommodate the wide rear tires, the pickup box was widened two inches and tubs were extended into the box. The entire floor of the truck’s bed is hinged at the front, allowing the floor to be lifted to provide access to the rear undercarriage.

The next steps for the rare Plymouth are to remove the body, sandblast it, smooth it out, and give it a nice new coat of forest green urethane enamel, hopefully by the end of the year.


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