1 Painless Way to a Roadster Pickup

At SEMA, it’s easy to find a great car, they’re in almost every booth!  But like the 70 Chevelle with a Duramax diesel motor, it’s a the different and sometimes unique builds that really get my attention.  That’s what I found in this “Painless” Roadster Pickup.

Hot rod roadster pickup at SEMA 2009 with flathead

This style of roadster pickup, also called a “Truckster” was penned by well known hot rod artist Thom Taylor back in August of 2007 for Rod and Custom Magazine. The concept  is simple, but you’re gonna get to know a sawzall and grinder real, REAL well to get it done. You take 50-70’s pickup, then chop up the cab and the bed until proportions of a hot rod. Easy for Thom to say!

Custom Hot rod roadster pickup SEMA 2009

I saw a Thom Taylor sketch in the pickup bed of this truck, so I’m sure he had a hand in the proportions, color and stance that make this truck one of my favorites from SEMA.

Hot Rod Roadster Pickup with 1938 Dodge GrilleSo what is it? It started as a 1978 Ford Pickup. Recognize it?  From there, the cab was narrowed 16 inches, then the top and A-pillars were chopped off and the remaining cab shortened 8 inches. The reassembled jigsaw puzzle and newly created “roadster” body was then channeled over the frame. The rest of the body includes a 1938 Dodge grille and believe it or not an MGB windshield with 4 inches cut off each side.

Up front you’ll find a mix of wholly (or is it Holy?) traditional 1952 Merc flathead topped by a pair of Stromberg 97 Carb-like fuel injection bodies complete with, of course, Painless Performance Products wiring. Clean, simple and brand new! The owner and Executive VP of Painless, Dennis Overholser, told me they barely had time to tune it before SEMA.

The tough stance is courtesy of 18 and 20 inch Dayton wire wheels. Straying from the traditional on the wheels like they did is a nice compliment to the fuel injection and adds to the, “What is that?” stares at the show. I guess those folks don’t read Rod and Custom?

Hot rod roadster pickup custom leather interiorHot rod roadster pickup custom shift knob

On the inside, you immediately notice the perfectly weathered dark brown leather that’s straight from the actual “King Ranch” in Texas. Everyone’s heard of King Ranch from the Ford pickup option package, but this is more than just a name.  So now will rodders be on the look out for patina’d paint and leather? Interior is custom work by Eddie’s Rod Shop. The gauge is a one-off from Classic Instruments that features the name from 2007: “Truckster”

Finally, the shift knob is an old friend from Mad Magazine, Alfred E. Newman. Hand made by Bob Boudreaux, I believe it’s one of a kind.  Bob also gets credit for the PPG “Hot Wheels Orange” paint. (Click on any picture to see it full size)

SEMA brings out just about everyone in the car world, and if you’re Chairman of SEMA’s Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) then you probably know most people, like Dennis Overholser of Painless. Follow closely because another Dennis,  Dennis Gage from the show “My Classic Car” dropped by and I snapped a picture of the Dennis pair test fitting the Truckster.

Dennis Overhosler and Dennis Gage of My Classic Car

So there you have it, 1 Painless way to make your own roadster pickup. Will we see more?

Special thanks to Optima Batteries for the trip to SEMA.