Gary Nooney wanted to build something unusual that not only looked good, but made decent gas mileage. His flag-draped 1936 Ford pickup powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder Ford engine covers all the bases and then some.
A furniture upholsterer, Don Welch, sewed up the slick black vinyl interior as a favor to Nooney, who identifies the nicely bolstered bucket seats as coming out of an `English Ford,' although that is open to interpretation.
Compact, but potent, the power plant that Nooney built for his pickup is a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine sourced from a 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. The owner had to build many of the parts, including the intercooler and intake boxes that he fabricated from aluminum and welded himself. The mighty mite produces an estimated 250 horsepower.
Another view of the cozy confines of the truck cab reveals the original dash panel outfitted with white-faced gauges and the understated black vinyl upholstery scheme. A modified late model Ford pickup tilt column is fitted with a Billet Specialties steering wheel.
Nooney enlisted Mike `Wet' Wiley of Claremore, Okla., to do the colorful American flag graphics that wrap back from the nose of the truck, over the hood and down the sides. Note the fold incorporated into the furled design, along with the `slipstreams' flowing from the stars' points.
The cargo bed of the truck features hickory wood finished in six coats of hand-rubbed urethane, secured by polished stainless steel runners. Nooney built the chrome-plated folding hinges for the tailgate assembly.
The straight rear bumper is an original '36 Ford piece, cleaned up and replated to better-than-new standards by Metal Finishing Co. of Wichita. Nooney built the gas filler neck himself and says the LED tail lights below the tailgate `can be seen from outer space.'
Nooney wanted to pick up on the shape of the grille shell, so he used a 1936 Ford car bumper with a subtle bow in the middle. The truck's tiny turn signals are incorporated into the face of the bumper guards, another custom touch added by the owner.
Nooney says he spent an estimated 200 man-hours perfecting the grille shell fitted with an Alumicraft insert. A close look at the chrome plated bumper brackets reveals contoured chrome tubing that houses the wiring for the bumper guard-mounted turn signals.
A closer look at how the hand-painted Old Glory graphics stream back along the truck's flowing lines. Nooney cut the centers out of the original running boards to removed the ribbed sections, then painstakingly welded in smooth sheet metal and reinforced them with square tubing underneath.
The windshield of the truck has been seamlessly molded in using urethane and a simple rubber gasket to hold it in place. Nooney filled in the cowl vent and even made his own windshield wiper stanchions out of billet aluminum turned on a lathe in his home shop.