Nichols Fab 1932 Ford Truck
From Dakota Digital
Somewhere around the year 2000, Justin Nichols was doing what a lot of hot rod guys were doing in Study Hall, reading car magazines, catalogs and drawing their dream car or truck. A lot of us can relate, maybe we didn’t give 100% in High School, maybe we did, but in the end, life just works out regardless. Fast forward to around 2020 when a customer walked into Nichols Paint and Fab in Watseka, Illinois with a Brookeville 32 Ford body that he wanted to have added to his collection. The light bulb went off, Justin found his 20 year old drawing (yes he still had it) and showed it to the customer and here is what happened!
There is a lot going on with this 32 Ford Truck. One of the questions I asked Justin was, “What was the biggest challenge for this project”? He replied with, “The beginning, all the way to the end”! There are so many hidden features and components in the truck to keep the “clean” look. The engine is a late model Ford Coyote 5.0 liter. Yup, he put a Ford in a Ford, people still do that! The belly pan under the passenger compartment is completely enclosed and houses, or hides, the Ford ECM, fuel cell, transmission, Dakota Digital components and a variety of other things. The rear suspension in the bed of the truck that pokes through real oak planks, is a one off cantilever system that is pretty unique on a traditional hot rod like this. According to Justin, it rides incredibly well also.
The front of a 32 Ford is a pretty iconic look that’s tough to mistake. The radiator shell is stock dimensions, in the stock location. Inside that shell is a split radiator that houses an inter cooler in the middle. Why does it need an inter cooler you ask? Take a look inside the giant headlight buckets…there are 2 turbos nestled inside those! And, they even have working headlights and turn signal integrated in them.
The interior is impeccably clean and simple and ties in with the entire truck, including more solid oak for the floorboards. The dash houses one of Dakota Digitals RetroTech series gauges designed for 33-34 Fords. Justin was sent the bezel ahead of time and painted it to match the body in “Blown Headgasket Gray”. Once it was sent back to Dakota Digital for assembly, it was inverted per his instructions and the gauges and their components were installed. The Volt gauge however, was deleted and replaced with a needle Boost gauge. With the large center TFT digital screen, Volts can still be monitored with the push of a button to make sure the charging system is keeping up.
I was never an artist in school, or ever for that matter, I don’t think any of my doodling’s in High School would have amounted to anything, but the fact Justin had his drawing after 20 years and was able to bring it to life with the right customer is pretty amazing.