MARCH 2023: 1950 FORD F-47 PANEL—GRANDPA AND DAD’S OLD WORKHORSE LIVES AGAIN

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There’s a basic rule at MyStarCollectorCar—if there’s a deep family connection with the old car (or truck), then you have a slam-dunk owner’s story.

This 1950 F-47 Ford panel van is a slam-dunk story.

Jerry Sutherland

Brian Moe is the proud owner of this rare workhorse—his roots with this old truck are deep because his grandfather was the second owner. The first owner was the Canadian government because this truck was a Department of Agriculture transportation for work crews in the Peace River region of northern Alberta Canada.

The Ford panel led a short life with the Canadian government before Brian’s grandfather Olef bought the truck for some light work as a hunting-fishing vehicle. Olef drove it until—as Brian explained, he “couldn’t drive any more”.

Then Brian’s father Art grabbed the truck to use on the family farm as a fuel storage/hauling vehicle, so the back of the truck was often full of diesel and gasoline barrels. Brian explained how this was before the slip tank era on the farm, so that’s how they hauled fuel on the farm. He said the also hauled other things like tools but the ’50 Ford’s primary job was to transport fuel to other farm vehicles.

Time moved on and eventually the old panel van was retired from active duty because it had no brakes. Brian said the truck was parked in view of the road in front of the farm, so there was a steady steam of would-be buyers for the Ford. They solved that problem by moving the van to a shed for the next 25-30 years.  

Brian said he drove it “a little bit” when he was a kid in the late 60s and early 70s, but that was just before it was retired. He added the truck was not registered for the road for the last few years because it was always driven on the farm.

There was a point where this old van was going to go away for good because time marches on, so that was when Brian jumped in to save it. Brian said he was lucky because the car was all original steel with a few minor issues in the doors and some patches on the front fenders.

Brian was happy with the F-47’s flathead, but he wanted a completely dependable powertrain, so he opted for a major rebuild on the trusty old V-8. He also added an alternator and upgraded to 12 volts, because he wanted to make the truck more modern on the electronics side.

He completely rebuilt the brakes and suspension after he took the truck down to its bare frame. Brian also rebuilt the original radiator with a new core because flatties like to generate heat, so he wanted to give the panel van a fighting chance on a hot day.

This was a ten-year project because Brian admitted he, “worked on it on and off over the years”. He liked the 2013 Ford color (ginger ale), so that replaced the factory green.

Brian gets asked why he didn’t put a small-block Chevy in the truck because it peaks out at 50-55 mph thanks to the 4:27 rear gear ratio—but an SBC was never on the table. In fact, he said the question “irks me”.

There are many reasons why the SBC question irks Brian, but the biggest is obvious—that’s not what was under the hood when his grandfather bought it.                                                      

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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