JUNE 2024: THE OWNER OF A 1952 FORD F-1 PICKUP TRUCK MADE IT EVEN BETTER

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Tim Pearson is the proud owner of a 1952 Ford F-1 pickup truck that is an improved version of the factory model.

The description refers to the fact that Tim’s Ford retains a flathead V-8 but has undergone many improvements over the years.

Jim Sutherland

Tim bought the truck 11 years ago after his late wife negotiated a deal with the former owner. Tim is a machinist by trade, but he wanted a vehicle that did not require a major overhaul because Tim wanted to spend his spare time behind the wheel–not working on the pickup. 

The ’52 Ford pickup had already undergone a solid cosmetic upgrade, but it needed work to meet Tim’s high standards. For example, the truck’s original manual transmission was upgraded to a 5-speed manual overdrive tranny, but it did not have a proper mount to the chassis and was hanging precariously by a few rods, according to Tim.

He was able to install a proper mount to ensure the transmission stayed in one place on road trips.

Tim described the pickup as “mostly together and running–but not done well”, in his words, so Tim was able to use his sizable skill set to take the truck over the finish line.

The flattie is a legendary engine in the vintage hot rod category and Tim decided to make it even better for his 1952 Ford F-1. He added an O2 sensor to the exhaust system so he could monitor the airflow mixture in the flathead’s carburetor and tweak the air/fuel ratio more accurately for better performance on the road.

Tim also replaced the flathead engine’s original distributor with a Chevy distributor that allows him to dial in the timing more efficiently, a change that added an extra 30 horsepower, according to him.

The upgrades included an alternator with a built-in voltage regulator that looks like a generator but delivers a more consistent charging system to the 6-volt positive ground flattie. Another change was an aluminum radiator to replace the original rad since flathead engines run hotter than OHV (overhead valve) engines from the same era.

The truck retains its factory vacuum windshield wipers and original brake system because both still function very well, according to Tim. However, he intends to modify the Ford truck’s bench seat with a contour that will give him more room in the cab and make it more comfortable on longer excursions.

The comfort factor is important to Tim because he likes to drive his ’52 Ford F-1 whenever he has an opportunity. He added a tool chest to store extra equipment for extended road trips because “I am not a car show guy”, in Tim’s words.

His late wife asked him to look after her dog, so the little guy was with Tim when MyStarCollectorCar interviewed him at one of his very rare car show appearances. Tim noted the dog’s color “matched the truck”, so maybe that factor influenced his wife’s decision to negotiate the truck’s purchase.

Whatever the reason, Tim and his dog can hit the road in style any time he feels the urge to get behind the wheel of his very stylish and reliable 1952 Ford F-1 pickup truck.                                      

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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