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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #5
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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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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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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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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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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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.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
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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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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Discussion Starter #15
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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There are probably numbers of these trucks in India and/or Pakistan as well. There are British Army WWII surplus stashes of materiel offered up by the Indian goivernment occassionally. We had an agent there at one time and bought a lot of stuff, NOS and mothballed used and rebuilt. There were several 1000s of 21A (42) V8 distributors, 37-41 distributors, headlamp assemblies, and pallets of engine parts and chassis parts(primarily for big trucks of course).
India makes early Ford spring shackles(28-48 and later I imagine), some transmission gears, motor mounts, and many many parts for the original style Jeeps.
Another interesting place to find early Ford parts is in equipment depots of oil companies. Some years back SUNOCO was "cleaning house" and offered up literally tons of pre-50 Ford truck parts, much of which was chassis parts for big trucks but there were also 100s of new distributors assemblies for 37-41 Fords and 42, and 42-48. These were boxed complete with caps, wires, coils, ready to bolt on the front of the engine flop the wires up and plug 'em in and go riding. WWII & later surplus stuff from Canadian Army. How about 100s of new complete 40 Ford headlamp assemblies, complete with bucket wiring, bulbs, and doors, ready to bolt into your fenders. This stuff was bought for weight!!
 

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What Ian says is pretty correct. Australia was and still is a vast country and the English vehicles really were too small, fragile and unsuitable for many areas of our country. The U.S. cars developed a reputation for good service and reliability plus had much more room and comfort and were beter suited to our conditions. Most chassis were brought in from Canada, which was (and still is) a Commonwealth Country (but built U.S. vehicles). Holden Motor Body Works produced GM and many other bodies and when Ford started manufacturing in Geelong did likewise for many years. The vast majority of bodies were made here with many subtle differences to your bodies, though we did have some full imports from time to time. Both Ford and Holden produced many 'special' bodies on standard chassis, often in small numbers. We also had Willys tourers until 1940 and many other special and unique body styles.

We had Ford roadsters up till 1940 and Chev Roadsters until 1939. We had Ford 4 door Tourers up until 1936 and Chev until 1938, plus we had our unique Slopers in GM from 1935-1940, Ford in 1939 and 1940 and Dodge/Plymouth in 1937/1938. We also had many 3 window coupes in Dodge and Plymouth that were unique to Australia in 1933, 1934 and 1939 (I have one of these and they are very much like a Willys coupe to look at). Don't forget we also invented the coupe ute and had Fords in 1934 that ran through till the Mainline ute in 1959 (retained the 55/56 body) with Chev following later in 1934 and ran through until 1952. These very much preceded the U.S. Ranchero (1957) and ElCamino (1959) Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler made them in 1935 and then in various years (but not continuously) up to 1961, though many of the later Chrysler models were completely unique to Australia. Have photos of many and could them put up in a new thread if interested. Moral of the story is that if you here about some strange looking Ford, GM or Chrysler (plus others!) body style before you dismiss it as BS (many people just do not believe some of the cars we had!) check that it wasn't made here in Aussie! It really could exist!

We actually still have coupe utes made here today and have had them continuously since 1934 but Ford changed to the unitary Falcon in 1960 and Holden stopped the Chev utes shortly after they started building their own Holden utes in 1951. Our current Holden coupe ute could well be a Pontiac over there soon. The hipo sedan version is set to be the Pontiac G8 built LHD here for you guys! We no longer have any roadster utes though!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dave, I think there would be a lot of interest in seeing any and all the pictures of your early to modern day autos and light trucks. Why not start another thread and then all the Aussies on this board could start posting photos of their favorites and share the burden of posting photos!!!

Trees
 

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trees said:
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
I'll be driving 16 hours to Lake Gairdner on the 3rd of march for speedweek. Many Americans come over and the last 80 miles (dirt) gives them an idea of why our cars had to be robust. Some meet new friends and stay with them on later trips. One well known rodder from Missouri keeps a 77 Falcon at a friends' place in Adelaide.
Come for a look, most people have a spare room.
 

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Trees, I will dig out some photos of some of our other Aussie stuff and spend some time putting them up in the next week or so, working flat out at present. If you ever decide to get to Australia jump onto the Ozrodders Forum first and we should be able to hook you up with some people to visit in every state and territory. You would be best to hire/buy a vehicle you could sleep in and drive around, staying on the opposite side of the road to what you are used to of course!

Oh and for info these trucks were unique to here but used by Australian Forces in various places during WW2 and probably immediately after. I have seen a photo of one in Palestine. They were never used by the British and I doubt that any would have made their way to India or Pakistan, however those countries certainly modified and adapted existing vehicles for their own uses and it would not surprise me if a number of old trucks had the roofs removed.
 
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