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READERS' PROJECTS

Mike Ryan's 1929 Ford "Huckster" Pickup Truck

Satch Reed

Mike Ryan's 1929 Ford Pickup (named Ethel after a buddy's Mom) began its second reincarnation as a basket case 1929 Ford pickup and a rolling chassis that seemed to have more potential than the truck did. The truck was a gift from Mike's wife Lynne to celebrate his retirement, it soon turned into a labor of love and took nine years to complete.

Here's where it all started
Here's where it all started.

The first step was spending 3 to 4 months picking and cleaning 75 years of dirt, dust and grease, and general cleaning of the chassis, and then restoring it to its original condition. Next came the decision as to what type of body was to go on the chassis. Being from York, PA, home of Martin-Parry, Corporation, builder of truck bodies during the 1920's and 1930's, a Martin-Parry inspired Huckster Farm truck-type body seemed to be a natural.

After setting about drawing the plans for the wooden body, Mike turned his garage into a woodworking shop. Soon it became apparent that the garage shop wasn't adequate for the project, so he build a separate woodshop.

The Huckster in front of the wood shop.
The Huckster in front of the wood shop.

The first iteration of Ethel was the Huckster Farm truck bed shown with Mike son Casey and daughter-in-law Michelle.
The first iteration of Ethel was the Huckster Farm truck bed shown with Mike's son Casey and daughter-in-law Michelle.

The Huckster interior.
The Huckster interior.

While the truck was being driven and shown at various events, Mike was designing the tool boxes that were installed in the final version. "I would fill the tool boxes with antique and period tools to show as well.... The best shows were the ones where the 'old-timers' would come up and ask if I actually knew what the tools were for," said Mike. While showing the truck at Make-A-Wish shows, Mike would let kids climb on the truck and blow the aaahooga horn until the battery got low. Fortunately, it only took a slight coast to bring the engine to life.

The Huckster as tool truck.
The Huckster as tool truck.

After experiencing some serious back trouble, the harsh ride of the old truck became too much for Mike to continue driving it and he had to sell the truck. The new owner is continuing the tradition of driving the truck to various car shows.

Mike's next project is an MGB...it rides smoother and allow Mike to stretch out a bit further so that it's not affecting his back as much as the old Ford did. Mike says "I don't think I'll be able to devote another 10 years to this project but I will make it safe and drive-able before setting out on a jaunt with my wife of 43 years and friend since kindergarten."