John Lane's 1924 Ford Model T Roadster Pickup
1924 Ford Model T Roadster Pickup owned and built by John Lane of San Leandro, California. The story of this iconic hot rod dates back to the Depression era, a time when a young and cash-strapped Lane could only dream of fully indulging in his hot rod hobby. This unfulfilled desire lingered for years until the 1950s saw Lane as a successful owner of a diesel truck fleet. Then, he saw the opportunity to merge his passion with a practical business need – creating an eye-catching hot rod pickup as a rolling advertising billboard for his company. This vision took form over five painstaking years, culminating in a sensational debut at the 1957 Oakland Roadster Show.
Custom Frane and Shortened Body
John bought the Model T in the 1940s, but he didn't start building it before 1951. The stock frame was scrapped and replaced with a custom-made frame that ran a 1934 Ford cross-member. The frame was dropped below the cowl, and the front was fitted with a special lowered axle and spring hangers to maintain a low yet functional profile. The rear featured lowered springs and special hangers, ensuring a balanced and even stance. The side view of the hot rod revealed a chromed, custom-made exhaust system by Lane and a pickup body that was artfully shortened 12 inches to align with the new frame.
Full Race Engine
Between the frame rails, Lane installed a 1940 Ford V8 60 engine that he had transformed into a powerhouse. It ran two Stomberg 81 carbs on an Edelbrock manifold and a Swiss Vertex Scintilla magneto. The heads were also of Edelbrock make, and according to an article published in Rod & Custom June 1957, the engine had a 14 to 1 compression ratio proven by its performance in a 7,000 rpm dyno test. Other sources claim that it had a 9.5 to 1 compression ratio, which sounds more plausible. Either way, meticulous porting, polishing, and balancing increased the engine's output. The transmission system perfectly complemented the enhanced engine, featuring a Ford box with Zephyr gears and a stock 60 rear end. John ran 6.70x15 tires up front and smaller 8.20x15 tires in the back. The steering wheel, borrowed from a 1956 Ford, was mounted on a Willys column that Lane hooked up to an International truck pitman arm. Juice-brakes were taken from a 1940 Ford.
Chromed 15-inch wire wheels, borrowed from a Cadillac, a fully chromed front end, a chopped 1932 Ford grille shell, and the expertly crafted hood and fenders by Jack Hagemann added to the truck's deluxe appearance. Once the bodywork was completed, the car was given 17 coats of hand-rubbed Hawaiian Blue lacquer, leaving a lasting impression on all who saw it. It was also dressed up with subtle pinstriping by Von Dutch. Inside, it ran a handmade dash with Stewart-Warner gauges and a custom blue and white Naugahyde interior. Completed in 1956, it made its debut at the 1957 National Roadster Show in Oakland. George Burnley did a story on the truck that was featured in Rod & Custom June 1957. A year later, it landed the cover of Hot Rod Magazine April 1958. Titled "Honey of a Henry," the story inside the magazine was done by Al Paloczy.
Hidden Away in Storage
The truck was also entered in the 1958 and the 1959 National Roadster Show before it, in 1961, was put away in storage at Lane's trucking company. The car stayed in storage until Lane passed away in 1989. After that, his daughter moved it to her place in Alburqureque, New Mexico.
The hot rod stayed in the family from 1951 to 2023 until Lane's daughter passed away. After the daughter passed away, the family decided that the time had come to sell the old family relic. A buddy of Bob Owens came across the car and ended up buying it. Bob went to check it out and was blown away by its condition and quality, so it came back home to Wellington, Texas with him. "Like I needed another car," he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in November of 2023. The pickup hadn't been seen in the public eye in 40-plus years. It was completely untouched and, according to Bob, in a super condition. "It is unbelievable quality and condition, and I am so excited to own it," he told Kustomrama, adding that only five items were missing when he purchased it. These were the horn, one license tag, the tag frame, the bed cover, and the quad lights. Late in 2023, Bob was working on getting the pickup ready for its big comeback in the spotlight at the 2024 Grand National Roadster Show, and he had replicated all of the missing parts.
Magazine Features and Appearances
Did you enjoy this article?
Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.
- Help us keep history alive. For as little as 2.99 USD a month you can become a monthly supporter. Click here to learn more.
- Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive regular updates and stories from Kustomrama.
- Do you know someone who would enjoy this article? Click here to forward it.
Can you help us make this article better?
Please get in touch with us at email@example.com if you have additional information or photos to share about John Lane's 1924 Ford Model T Roadster Pickup.
This article was made possible by:
SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like www.suntecautoglass.com. They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!
Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can advertise your business on Kustomrama.