The Simple Complex – Greg Weld’s Deceptively Sophisticated ’40 Ford Pickup
Greg Weld wanted to build a truck the average guy could look at and say, “I could build that.” A bit of an ‘everyman’s truck’ that wasn’t flashy or had a bunch of complicated modifications, but one that had scores of details emerge when you started to look closer. And he did.
At first glance the simple gray Ford sits right and looks clean. However, a closer inspection reveals the art of simplicity to be a complex game where things are far nicer than they seem.
The project was inspired by a truck Greg saw at the Deuce Days event in Victoria, Canada. Eric Peratt from Pinkee’s Rod Shop had driven his ’40 Ford up from Colorado with a group of Denver hot rodders. Greg had been admiring the truck on Instagram, and though it wasn’t for sale, Pinkee’s found him this one languishing in the weeds of a Wyoming yard.
He says his original goal was to build a nice daily driver that was reliable enough for open road touring on events like the Goodguys Hall of Fame Road Tour. After roughing out a build plan and rounding up a few parts, he decided to turn it over to the capable hands of the crew at Customs & Hot Rods of Andice in Texas, or “CHRA” for short.
He gave them a “macro goal” to keep it simple within a traditional style, yet make it functional enough for daily duty. Every component was chosen and designed to fit within these parameters. Admittedly Greg ended up with a much nicer truck than he originally wanted, but it also does everything he envisioned. “They just kept having great ideas,” Greg said.
For starters, the custom Roadster Shop chassis gives the old truck modern day performance. It was stretched one inch to center the front wheel in the fender and fitted with a DSE steering rack. Coil-over suspensions fore and aft connect to big Wilwood brakes, with a trusty Ford 9-inch rearend on a four-link. The 17- and 18-inch Wheel Vintiques are just the right size without being too flashy.
Greg is not one to leave anything stock when it comes to engines, so his Connect-and-Cruise LS3 crate engine was given to engine builder Don Hardy with the instructions to “jack up the power a little bit.” Don had built the engine in Greg’s blue Brizio-built ’33 Ford and knew exactly what to do. The 480hp mill emerged from his shop with reworked heads, a Holley sheet-metal intake, and a 550hp ticket from the dyno.
CHRA then took the engine to the next level with a little splash of color, 3D printed badges for the valve covers, de-burred cast headers from Hooker, and a full stainless exhaust with cutouts. Take a moment and soak up the details in the custom engine bay. They are indicative of the meticulous detailing found throughout the truck. Everything was built to work together.
At the heart of the truck’s design theme is an Art Deco embellishment taken from the chrome trim of the ’40 Ford nose. The team liked the often-overlooked “step shouldered” motif on the main grille bar, and keen eyes will notice that the trim has been reproduced in billet aluminum by Evod Industries. Greg felt there was a lot going on with the ’40 Ford front, so they used paint and redesigned components to simplify the essence, or “dumb it down a bit” as he put it.
The sleeker ’39 Standard headlight buckets have been modified to accept Polaris lights and flank the painted grille halves nicely. In keeping with the classic look the windshield was left as a two-piece unit, and the wipers and factory side view mirrors were retained. A closer inspection reveals one-off Art Deco door hinge pins from Evod and ’32 Ford door handles.
The bed-to-cab gap was tightened up by extending the bed forward an inch. A custom storage box was fabricated and trimmed with leather straps to securely hold plenty of road tripping gear. The stunning rear roll pan was originally drawn up on a napkin by CHRA’s Mike Kaiser after a lengthy discussion on the proper amount of style and bumper choices. Greg didn’t want bulky nerf bars or a big bumper and in the end the Corvette-style center bumperette and Mike’s sculpted rear roll pan with ’39 Chevy taillights was a home run.
Of course, many hours went into finessing the sheet metal to perfection before the PPG gray went down. It was then finished off with subtle pinstripe detailing by Gasoline Art.
The interior is also chock full of cool touches that reward those who keep looking. Greg’s one requirement was that everything needed to be functional on the road. “What’s easy and simple?” he asked. CHRA then responded by making the simple elegant. Careful consideration went to into the placement of all vital controls, including the cup holders and switches, before they were detailed in execution.
The ’40 Ford gauge panel was reworked by Classic Instruments to retain the stock flair. Evod’s CNC machines were kept busy whittling out the detail pieces, all the way down to the smallest step-shouldered washers for the panel fasteners. The aluminum floor panels and seat riser were also custom crafted.
Even the central Vintage Air vent is housed in a trick stepped panel. JJ Upholstery trimmed the cab in yards of distressed leather, following the path laid out by Dotsen Design. One of the more unique features is the seat, now essentially two supportive bucket seats in one good-looking bench.
The flat screen in the dash is easy to overlook thanks to the other elements, but it controls vital road tripping essentials like GPS and the full hidden sound system featuring Macintosh amps and JL Audio subs. A Juliano’s banjo wheel rounds things out inside.
With tight constraints on keeping things subtle and simple, and CHRA’s known level of quality work, Greg Weld’s gray hauler is a little further away from his initial plan of a clean daily driver. However, it is still exactly that and drives so nice that he never hesitates to drive it around town on errands or to dinner and on long road trips.
It’s a truck for the discerning car guy, and yet durable enough to hold its own on any long-haul adventure. Simple, but very nicely done.
Photos by Damon Lee & Steven Bunker