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Dave Gunnarson

Hi, my name is David Gunnarson. I'm standing in my first, and probably only restoration project. It's a 1935 1-1/2 ton truck. Here's my story, at least so far.


A fellow at work asked me why I had joined a "car" club if I was the only one that had a big truck. I explained the Ford and V8 connection but I could tell that it just didn't excite his imagination. To understand why I have a Ford 1935 1 1/2 ton truck, you have to understand how my imagination got excited.

When I was 15, I fell in love with the VW bug, the older the better. Amazingly my parents allowed me to purchase a 1957 bug for $50 that was on its way to the scrap yard. I jumped at it because it was the first oval window bug I had ever seen. It was black with a very nice clean red interior. I attempted to restore it but eventually gave up due to a lack of money, experience, storage space and its severe body rust.

During high school and college I owned many cars all VW's and began to accumulate experience and tools. About 10 years ago I saw a 1936 Chevy on the side of the road with a for sale sign. I purchased it and realized that this was my first American-made car. I wasn't prepared to for this car either. I had no garage, on experience and no place to store parts. What was most discouraging was the body was primarily wood and much of the wood had rotted. I also discovered that there a lot of parts and pieces to a big 4-door passenger car. I sold it and thought that some day I would find a simpler all-steel vehicle.

While I've always liked cars, I've liked trucks more. I realized that most of them only have a cab and fewer parts making restoration a bit easier. Also, the initial cost of a truck was less than most cars. Since I do numerous projects around the house, I also knew it would be handy to have a truck to haul supplies. Finally, I liked the idea of restoring a truck since it was somewhat out of the ordinary.

For about a year I looked for a truck that was in my budget but wasn't a basket case. Finally in May, 1999 I saw an ad in Hemmings for a 1935 Ford fire truck located in Bowie, Maryland. As you can see in the photo, someone had sprayed a coat of primer on the truck, and removed some of the fire equipment. The hose reels sitting on the wood pile had been mounted on the cab roof. The pump was loose and sitting on the front bumper. It was fairly complete, but very rough.

The seller agreed to cut off most of the rear body that consisted of a 500 gallon tank water tank and plate steel body. I wanted to restore the truck to the way it was delivered, so off it came. The deal included a spare engine and with the help of a flat bed it arrived at my house.

Without too much trouble, I got it to fit into my garage.

Once home, I started the cleanup process. This included demounting the "spare" engine and pulling the stuck engine out. I've removed enough to see what parts I'll need for the restoration and have begun to accumulate parts. Here's how things looked in mid-2000.

I purchased a low mileage original 1935 engine and have had it rebuilt (that's another story that I will add to this web page later). Here's a photo just after it was delivered.

I've been having fun collecting parts including trips to Kansas and Texas (yet another story to be told later) but mainly at Hershey and through eBay. I don't have a schedule for completion but I am having fun learning about the Ford trucks. I have a good selection of 1935 big truck sales and technical literature and reference materials. If you have a similar vehicle, I'd be glad to share information.

Updated 03/25/04