When Alan Pinaire first began thinking seriously about getting into the vintage-car hobby 14 years ago, he wasn't sure what to go after. A friend suggested he go to a national street rod event in Oklahoma City.
"He told me, 'You'll see four of everything there,' " Pinaire recalled. He followed that advice and when he came back to Wichita, he knew what he wanted: a 1935 Ford pickup. "The '35 is the first rounded cab, which I think really makes it stand out," he said. But he knew it would be hard to find.
"I figured I would have to go out of town, probably out of state, to find one," he said. But as luck would have it, he soon spotted a '35 Ford pickup for sale in a local classified advertisement. He wasted no time checking it out.
"It belonged to a farmer out on west MacArthur. It hadn't been messed with... so I wrote him a check for $500 and told him I would go get him the rest of the money," Pinaire said. "He said before the weekend was over, he had 38 calls on it."
Also fortunately, Pinaire was in the process of buying his first house after 30 years of apartment living, and his new place came with a garage. The previous owner, who had only put a few hundred miles on the truck and always kept it garaged, agreed to store the truck until Pinaire had a safe place to park it.
A long, steady restoration process began. "I took everything off but the running gear and the cab. I'm ashamed to say it, but it was down about four years. I had four or five different people painting on it," Pinaire said.
One of his first upgrades was installing a stained oak bed floor with stainless steel ribs over the original steel floor. He also added a reproduction tailgate to the bed, after replacing a stake pocket and a cross-member.
The body and bed of the truck are finished in a deep, dark Midnight Blue, while the fenders are painted black. In certain light, the truck appears to be entirely jet black. The dark paint is highlighted by red vinyl pinstriping from Brite-Line, with the Ford script on the tailgate done in matching red by Nadine Ward.
To accent that look, Pinaire removed the factory 16-inch wheels and replaced them with a set of bright red 15-inch Vintage wire wheels. For tires, he added BF Goodrich Silvertown radials with wide whitewalls and used ribbed beauty rings with the original '35 Ford hubcaps.
"I just recently added 'juice' brakes to it," he said. He also replaced the factory 4:11 rear end with a 3:59 gear set that makes highway cruising easier. The truck has been slightly lowered by modifying the springs.
Under the hood is the original 221-cubic-inch flathead V-8, outfitted with a Stromberg 97 carburetor, a chrome air cleaner and a set of Red's headers flowing back into dual Smithy mufflers, ending in chrome exhaust tips under the rear bumper. The water pumps were sent off to a professional rebuilder and help keep the flathead cool.
Inside the cab, Pinaire had a friend, Warren Brandes, modify a reproduction banjo-style steering wheel to fit the original steering column. The inner door panels and headliner have been replaced with authentically textured black cardboard pieces and the seat is covered in cloth. Pinaire wants to have the seat redone in more authentic-looking Naugahyde and he has a correct 1935-36 Ford radio he plans to mount eventually.
He also plans to swap the original engine for a 1941 flathead V-8, but retain the existing 3-speed transmission.
"I'm not a purist," Pinaire says. "I'm making it the way I wanted, but I wouldn't cut anything up," he added.
Pinaire belongs to the Wichita chapter of the Early Ford V-8 Club of America and credits club members with helping him with his pickup. He says it is very easy to put more into a project like his than he could ever hope to get out of it — but that the enjoyment he gets out of the truck makes up the difference.
"It's just a driver," he said. "I want to be able to drive it, not just show it. I get excited whenever I get to drive it. I guess I'm just going to be an old man in an old truck."