Independent AMSOIL Dealer Martin Cranford, in his own words.
“I purchased the van about 10 years ago. I found it in the back of a chicken coop across town. I have always liked the old fat-fender Ford trucks and had never really seen a van before. And it caught my eye, and I thought it would be something cool to fix up.
“I thought it was going to be a very easy project at first. When I first picked it up, the body looked fairly straight and had been painted yellow. The more I got into it, I found out how bad the rust and cancer was above the wheel wells and in the back.”
This was a much bigger undertaking than I ever would have imagined
“It got really discouraging because it ended up adding four or five years to the project. There were a few points where I was ready to throw in the towel and even contemplated selling it. My wife and family actually, a couple times, talked me out of it. They always came through and said, ‘No, we want to see you finish it.’ And I’m glad they did.
“It did teach me some patience as far as I had to work side jobs to buy the materials. The front half of it is nothing more than a truck. So you can buy pieces for the front half, but the van part of it, nobody makes anything for them. So that’s where I had to make my own floor panels and rust patch panels.
“I had to learn to do all of the suspension work and the metalwork, and it was basically a learning experience building a vehicle piece by piece. My 15-year-old son has been helping me out for a few years working on it. I converted this thing over to rear disc brakes, and he came out and helped me bleed the brakes and get everything set up just right.
“The younger two are just now starting to get into it, especially my youngest one. He’s wanting to do his own oil changes. He’s nine years old, so he’s wanting to get out and do oil changes. The goal is to try to incorporate them as much as possible, so I’ve had to learn to kind of step back and try not to interfere. That way they can learn for themselves.”
“Patience…lots of patience”
“Some of the things that I’ve learned from doing this project with my dad is patience, lots of patience,” said Devin Cranford. “We’ve had this thing for, what, 11 years now we’ve been working on it, and we’ve done so much work to it. I like spending time with my dad because he has a lot of skills to pass on.”
“My wife and I both believe that they need to know how to work on vehicles,” said Cranford. “And, even if they don’t become mechanics, it teaches you to think and work with your hands. So it’s still a good trade no matter what they do.”
“After I’d owned it for a few years, it dawned on me that the truck was a 1948, and my mother was born in ’48. She died in 1998. So from there on it kind of became a memorial build, if you would.”
“It’s mostly complete. It’s mostly where I want it to be. I’ve still got interior work to do. I may end up putting a little more horsepower into it, but right now the main thing I’m looking at is the interior and making it a family outing vehicle.
Let’s go cruisin’
“Devin, my 15-year-old son, and I went on Hot Rod Power Tour. It’s a week-long road trip. You drive to a new destination every day and meet new people and talk about each other’s cars.
“Friday night they have a cruise spot in Wichita, Kan., so usually every Friday night I’ll take one or two of the boys and we’ll go cruising. The wife and I go cruising Douglas sometimes. It’s a big cruise spot they do once a month in Wichita, so it’s kind of a date night where we’ll go cruising Douglas.
“It’s just fun to go cruise around in an old truck. I have to say ‘Thank You’ to my wife, Angie. It was very humbling and heartwarming that my family did rally behind me in saying we’re not going to let you sell it. You need to finish it.”