- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

Many 2001 model trucks are more luxurious than premium automobiles of only a few years ago.
Still, the basic no-frills work truck has a certain honesty about it that is undeniably appealing, regardless of the era in which the truck was built.
Bill Selley was looking for a plain and simple truck a dozen years ago this month when he located a 1941 Ford panel truck. A Manassas, Va., man had purchased the Ford a decade before with the intention of restoration.
Mr. Selley convinced the owner that if he hadn't done anything to the truck in a decade he probably never would. The owner concurred and the truck changed hands.
The original 221-cubic-inch, 85-horsepower flathead V-8 came with but not in the vehicle. Mr. Selley had the truck and miscellaneous parts hauled to his Fairfax, Va., home in June 1989.
He intended to give the old Ford a quickie restoration and enjoy the truck.
The plan was good but the Ford didn't cooperate. After all those years of setting unused, the gasoline in the tank, along with debris, had solidified to the extent that the tank either had to be cleaned or be replaced.
That's when Mr. Selley discovered the 18-gallon gasoline tank on his Ford could only be removed by lifting the body off the frame.
Ford engineers and designers really can't be faulted since the vehicle was not expected to last into the next century.
Once Mr. Selley accepted the fact the body had to come off in order to get at the gas tank, he changed his attitude and decided he would do a proper restoration.
"It kept me off the streets, out of mischief and broke," Mr. Selley said.
While the gas tank problem was being resolved, Mr. Selley had the all-black vehicle sand blasted. The good news was rust was located in only two spots near the rear fenders. The bad news was that 10 years later Mr. Selley still finds loose sand on the 10 new floorboards in the cargo area. Where it originates he doesn't know.
From the faded lettering on the sides of the vehicle Mr. Selley discerned that it had been a bakery delivery vehicle in Tefts, Pa. As a workhorse model the Ford was equipped with painted (instead of chrome) headlight rims as well as a painted grille.
As far as extra-cost options go, the Ford has two neither of which were in place 60 years ago. Mr. Selley found a passenger seat and has installed the optional larger 6.50x16-inch Allstate Super Safety Tread tires.
The original owner more than likely ordered no options. The Ford came from the factory equipped with one vacuum windshield wiper, one seat and one taillight but no sun visors. It has no bumper guards or any brightwork along the sides of the body. "This was a working truck," Mr. Selley said. "It's not made to be pretty."
During the restoration process Mr. Selley decided to paint his vehicle red with black fenders leaving the original green interior the way it was.
All the glass in the 16-foot-3-inch-long Ford is original a little bubbly around the edges but original. The Ford was fairly complete when Mr. Selley got it, however, he decided new rear fenders made more sense than straightening the somewhat bent originals.
While the vehicle was being painted at High Expectations in Front Royal, Va., Mr. Selley was having what little chrome there is replated.
After almost nine years the Ford was back together probably in better condition than it was when new. Mr. Selley had the handsome red and black paint scheme highlighted with Tacoma cream pinstriping.
The simplicity of the dashboard is a testament to its working class heritage. A 100 mph speedometer is visible through the two-spoke steering wheel. To the left is the starter button, while the hand throttle, headlights and choke controls are on the right. The windshield wiper switch is atop the dashboard and that's about all there is in the way of controls.
A 112-inch wheelbase supports the vehicle, which Mr. Selley says is somewhat difficult to drive in traffic only because of the limited visibility.
The pair of small windows at the rear, one in each door, aren't much help. Mr. Selley installed a twin on the right side to the outside mirror on the left side, which helps visibility dramatically.
Since the project was completed the farthest Mr. Selley has driven his restored Ford has been to a Ford gathering in Reading Pa.
"It'll go 65 [mph] on the highway," he reports, "and gets about 15 to 16 miles per gallon."


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