aussie desert pickup
as published in Australian
Street Rodding 161
story - Knackers - 0413 341 501
This superb 1940 Ford street rod pickup was built and owned by Norm
Hardinge, a man who has made such an impact on the rod scene over the
years. Norm recently received an award form the ASRF in recognition of
all his input to the hobby. He was genuinely surprised, as Norm is a
humble gentleman who doesn't seek any attention. His Aussie Desert
Cooler radiator business, situated in Preston, Victoria, produces many a
quality radiator for a wide range of special vehicles, not just rods,
but everything from Bentleys to street machines and beyond.
Norm is no Johnny come lately, he really has been into the scene
since his juvenile days, regrets nothing, but has gathered heaps of
knowledge and wisdom along the way and is greatly respected by the
rodding community. Norm campaigned a big block Ford powered '34 roadster
in the salt racing format where his persistence has paid off with a mind
shattering 184 mph pass on Lake Gairdner. And he says there is better
still to come. This speed is already of world standing in its class.
Norm's other passion of recent times is this wild, but very much a
street rod, 1940 Ford pick up. It displays many fabricated additions but
retains basic practicability for regular street use. The time frame for
the project extended to just over five years.
Starting with an American Ford cabin, Norm added a pair of Rodz North
front guards and later a '39 Mercury grille was added. The power plant
was a smart investment, it's a Goodwrench motor, guaranteed to produce
350 HP, straight from the crate. The only changes that were made to the
small block Chevy, was the carby, replaced with a 780 Holley. Electronic
ignition also made good sense.
The front end is from a HK Holden with shortened A arms, P76 disc
brakes and a set of Center Line Warrior rims. The gearbox is a Top
Loader four speed fitted with a very tall gearstick from an A Model.
Norm finds no problems with it while driving and the character on top
adds to the entertainment. The power is transferred to the final part of
the drive train, a Ford Granada rear end. Exhausts exit from under the
running boards on each side in front of the rear tyres. Highly polished
wood lines the bed floor and it was fabricated in Norm's workshop too. A
polished fuel tank looks comfortable in the bed, but in reality it's a
battery box, made by Waddington's in Castlemaine. That high rear wing
has a history of its own, originally coming from Rod Hadfield's salt
Shaker. The visual impact is more than worth the effort.
Interior trim was stitched by Gavin Hill of Bendigo Trim. Custom
additions inside the cabin include a '56 Chevy dash, XT Falcon steering
column with a cut down '39 Ford steering wheel and XE Falcon pedals.
Power windows came from an EA Falcon. The V8 emblem in the radiator tank
was hand beaten by Tom Peach, a master in sheet metal work. It really is
an example of quality workmanship. Other additions are the Ford
taillights and the '55 Cadillac bumperettes.
The final duty was to paint this wild ride. Marty Everitt got the nod
and Norm is more than excited about the end result. He loves this rod
and is extremely grateful to the people who helped him out. In
recognition of that fact he would like to say many tanks to Bob Kelly,
Darren Milburn, Mark Pelligrino, Russell Spark, Rod Hadfield and Marty
Everitt, for their contribution to the project. Now the pickup is seeing
plenty of tarmac. ... Knackers
An update From Norm
not that humble, I've been married twice so I definitely have regrets
and the Salt car (2006) now does 195.5 mph.