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Old 02-04-2007, 08:14 AM
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40 Ford Roadster Pickup in Australia

This is for our fellow Down Under rodders. Yesterday, I ran a cross a lead to something I did not know existed and would like to feel sure before I follow up. Supposedly, there are two 40 Ford roadster pick up cabs in shipping crates. These were crated up by FMCO back when and shipped to Australia but for some reason they were shipped back and remained in the warehouse of the shipper. I am not aware of any 40 Ford roadster pickups produced in the States, but know that Ford (and other US auto makers) provided stamped parts and pieces for the Aussie industries until they came on line for their own production. My question to our Aussie members is: Did you produce 40 Ford pickup roadsters and if so, could you provide pictures and availability of top cross bows and other unique parts for this truck?

Trees

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Old 02-04-2007, 12:27 PM
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If there was such a body, Ford here in the States did not produce it. The "sloper" bodies, utes, and other unusual bodies (for us in the USA) were produced in Australia or perhaps Argentina's Ford factory.
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Old 02-05-2007, 04:54 AM
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I've never seen a 40, but I've seen a 42 Ford and a 42 Pontiac hardbody roadster pickup. Both were military.
Some weird stuff got built during the war.
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Old 02-05-2007, 05:03 AM
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An Aussie came up with the first 'coupe utility' as a 1934 model Ford. GM and Chrysler followed in 35. The first local 'slopers' were 36 Chev, olds etc. As Holdens body works (GMH) were building both GM, and on contract, Chrysler bodies they pre dated the Ford slopers which came out in 38.
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Old 02-05-2007, 01:21 PM
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So if I am reading this correctly, there maybe a possibility the two 40 Ford "slopers" in shipping crates may exist, but would be a product of Holden. This sounds interesting enough to follow up since if they exist, they would be truly rare. Maybe I could buy one and sell the other to pay for mine? Well, I'll be off on the chase...maybe be a wild goose chase, but I have been there before and have even had a few to pan out in the past.

Trees
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Old 02-05-2007, 03:15 PM
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I have seen pictures of some military Ford trucks in a droptop style.
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Old 02-06-2007, 02:07 AM
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No sorry trees, I musn't have been clear. GMH built bodies for all American, Canadian and English GM products including Vauxhall and Bedford.
Ford Australia was set up in the 20s to build their own bodies.Because the running chassis were imported and so the bodies were the only Aussie part, there was always fierce rivalry between the 2 companies re new body styles. This obviously trickled down to Chrysler, Willys and all the non GM brands that bought GMH bodies.
Chev, GMC and Bedford trucks shared the same cab for years. Inth e late 50s International Harvester were selling more trucks in Oz than anyone else, so a deal was struck and Dodge trucks up to bogie drive (6x4) prime movers shared Inter cabs and sheet metal into the late 70s.
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Old 02-06-2007, 05:14 AM
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I asked a couple of guys on my forum ozrodders.com a sister site to this one.
Carps got back to me and this is what he said > Yes, Ford Australia did produce a '40 and '41 Roadster Pick-up, I believe they pretty much all went to the armed services, but every now and then one surfaces.

Dunno where you'd find the top bows but a good place to start might be the Military Vehicle guys as I'm sure a few of them would know where there's one or two of these vehicles
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Old 02-06-2007, 06:40 AM
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There were two kinds of Roadster Pickups built by Ford Australia. First the 'Roadster Ute' built on a passenger car chassis and using passenger car sheetmetal. These were last produced up until 1937 and after that date only 'coupe utes' were produced. Ford Australia did however build the small English Anglia and Popular bodies as Roadster Utes right up until around 1950!

The second type was the Roadster Pickup which was built on the commercial chassis. These were built for civilian use up until 1940, when war production took over and after this virtually all production went to the military. Most of these were actually trucks of 1 1/2 ton or more and used the 1940 truck front (though a pickup front would bolt on). If you can imagine a 1940 Ford truck with the roof cut off and a folding roadster roof in its place and Roadster rolled top doors with no windows or frames. These were built by Ford Australia in their local Australian factories (which were very well established by then) using some imported chassis and mechanical parts from Canada but the cabs themselves were all built and stamped here.

It is quite likely that one or more cabs were shipped to the U.S in 1940 or early 1941 as it was common for both Holden and Ford to do so to their parent companies. The U.S. had not joined the war at that stage either! I have a picture of a Chevrolet Sloper body crated and shipped to Detroit. As an aside, the first of these was 1935 (not 36) by the way.

These Ford cabs were used extensively by Australian Forces in the Middle East and Asia/Pacific regions as well as locally along with Ford and Chev 'Blitz' trucks. Many would have made their way into civilian use after WW2, though Australian farmers prospered into the 50s and 60s and most old trucks would have been replaced with newer ones. Being open they were prone to rust and were often left to rot when they finally stopped. Not many exist downunder any more and I have never seen a rodded example.

The Australian War Memorial have one as do many military collectors. The Roadster Utes are also quite rare but there are quite a few rodded examples on the road. The bows would have been unique to these trucks but basically similar to passenger car top bows from that era. I do have some photos of the various different bodies and can post them if interested. I also have pictures of many of the other unique Aussie bodies!
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Old 02-06-2007, 08:37 AM
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Okay here are photgraphs of these in Military Service during WW2.

Brand new Cabs on the assembly line at the Australian Ford Manufacturing Plant in Geelong, Victoria

Here are a whole bunch of them together!

And another on its own.

And another!

Four Wheel Drive version shown being checked over.

Here is a picture that shows one in the foreground. These pictures should give you a good idea of what they looked like with the top and sheetmetal!
Note the huge fender cutouts on the 4 wheel drive variants and a number of closed cabs behind in some pics. These vehicles really did exist and I believe were uniquely Australian. If there really are 2 cabs put me down for the second one!

All these photos are held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and are shown for eduacational purposes (copyrighted for reproduction other than that). I have a photograph of one of these actual vehicles restored and in their vast collection (though not presently on display) which I will locate soon. If you visit Australia you should make time to visit the War Memorial and allow yourself at least half a day! They have an amazing collection of WW2 stuff, not a lot of vehicles on display (many are held in storage) but a fabulous aircraft collection including an ME262, ME 109, Zero, V1 bomb, Lancaster, P51, Kittyhawk, etc.

Last edited by DaveDownunder; 02-08-2007 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 02-07-2007, 06:25 PM
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Ian, Dave, Barnsey, thanks for the great inputs and pictures!!! I have started the ball rolling to take a look at the crated cabs. These things sometimes fade away when it comes time to show the goods. I hope this is not the case. I would almost take bets the cabs, if they do exist, are Aussie military cabs like in the pic of the assembly line. I will keep you posted on the progress and send pics if there really is something to photo graph. I may be asking for some inputs when and if we get to a negotiating stage.

Trees
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:40 PM
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If they really exist I believe they would be military cabs, though they were used for civilian use prior to WW2 with the 'beer barrell' grille. Here is a link to one that was on Ebay a short while back. I nearly bought this but the cab was damaged by fire in places. This is the Marmon Herrington 4 wheel drive version and was probably a civilian model from 1939. All the military ones had the 1940 front. Roadster Truck on Ebay

Below is another of these trucks in storage at the Australian War Memorial (not currently on display to the public) One of our Forum members works here so may be able to get more photos and detail if required. Of course if it is an Aussie Cab it will be RHD.


Last edited by DaveDownunder; 02-08-2007 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 02-08-2007, 03:56 PM
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Dave, thanks for sharing. The automotive culture sharing between Australia and the US is very interesting to me. Our histories as "Rogue" colonies of the British Empire has made
our cultures very close cousins. Do you have any historical data on why Australia chose to turn to US manufacturers vice the Brits?

By the way, the eBay truck would be a 38 in the US. The museum truck pics included a glimpse of the top bows (frame) and it would be a front runner of our later day extended cab design!!!

Trees
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Old 02-09-2007, 04:09 AM
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Tyranny of distance and extreme temperatures made most english vehicles prone to failure. Many Australians point out that a lot of Rolls-Royces were sold in rural areas. This is true, but they generaly went to wealthy landholders. Country mail runs and other hard work fell to Buicks, Packards and to a lesser extent - Cadillacs.
The national motor museum in Birdwood SA has a 28 Cad parked near a 28 Packard and a RR Silver Ghost just down the line. The Ghost looks robust compared to a model A, but pales badly when compard to a Cad or Paqckard - American kingpins, bushes etc are over twice the size of the RR parts.
Tax on 'non commonwealth' vehicles was much higher, so whilst the Large and robust American cars were very expensive, the more fragile English and cheap American cars ( imported through Canada) sold well but failed under pressure.
European cars, then as now, leaked enough oil to seal dirt roads.
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Old 02-09-2007, 07:55 AM
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Ian, do you think it may have been a space thing. Space as in real estate. The demands on a vehicle to get around in the small confines of the British Isles is not near that of the more vast spaces of North America or the Outback of Down Under. Road conditions were much more extreme on this continent and Australia than the Isles I would think. I am getting a bit long in tooth to do it, but I certainly would like to spend a year seeing your great country like a native; not a tourist.

Trees
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