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Home/News and Feature Articles/Car History - Car Stories/ **Boyd Coddington's Garage/

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Build a '29 Ford Pickup completely from aluminum? You bet!

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Were it painted, you'd never know. Great work Boyd and crew!

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Alumatruck - a Boyd Coddington Original
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By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

The Alumatruck Story

Growing up, I remember my dad was always covered from head to toe in aluminum chips that came from his old manual Bridgeport machines, when the shop was in our backyard garage. My dad loved those manual Bridgeport’s, in fact, even when the wheel shop and hot rod shop combined had 200+ hi-tech CNC’s (computer numerical controlled) machines, he always kept his own manual machines just outside his office door. He could perform magic with those machines and could fabricate anything from wheels to calipers. From an early age I can remember my dad talking to me about building a complete hot rod from raw alloy stock.

One day in early 2001 he called me into his office to show me a rendering of a hugger orange pickup based on a 1929 Model A Ford. Looking at the rendering my dad said, "Jr., this is the one." Because my dad had "the one" all the time, I had to ask, which one is that dad? With his trademark belly laugh and goofy smile he replied, " The hand fabricated all aluminum hot rod".

Over the years I had seen variations of this concept drawn by other artist, so I knew my dad had been thinking about building something like this, just not out of aluminum. We talked about how it was time to build this hot rod, and in doing so, raise the rod-building bar one more time by incorporating every bit of his well-known and often-copied high-tech style into a traditional-appearing highboy pickup. Then, roll it into the midst of this 21st-Century rod-building scene.

The Goal: To build a completely aluminum vehicle, that mixes retro style with the latest in high technology manufacturing processes, materials, and design concepts.

This low-weight truck is all Boyd, except for the talented Marcell & Sons who handcraft the body. The body is a remarkable piece of art that Michelangelo would be proud of, and it deserves a close look. Completely done, soaking wet it weighed in at around 1100 pounds. We chose a small block Chevy 350 power plant based on a GM Performance aluminum block and cylinder heads. The inner workings of the alternator are hidden within the confines of the water pump pulley. We used a Powerglide automatic transmission because of its lightweight compact size and peculiarly enough, aluminum case. Mattson’s in Stanton built the aluminum radiator.

The I-beam front axle is a completely handcrafted from aluminum, with the radius rods and brackets all milled from chunks 6061 T-6. The frame and componentry was fabricated from 6061-billet aluminum. The chassis cross member was bent from a piece of 1¼ round tube. The frame rails themselves were from 1-¼ x 5 inch 6061 rectangular aluminum tubing that was tapered to a height of 3 inches. For the rear end suspension we chose a V-8 style Winters quick-change with aluminum coilovers. The spindles were designed and fabricated in house from 2024 aluminum and designed to give the suspension a little extra drop. 

We chose a classic style four-spoke steering wheel that we milled from a solid block of aluminum. Gabe's Upholstery built the bench seat from scratch and wrapped it in aluminum colored vinyl. The wheels are a one-off design, or an ET-III style (and one of my favorites). To keep it traditional, we put 15x7 in the front and 17x8’s in the rear.

The Result: The Alumatruck, a unique blend of retro and modern, based on a 1929 Model A Ford, and designed by Boyd Coddington and Marcel and Sons of Corona, CA. The Alumatruck is the result–a great example of what can be achieved when mixing traditional style with state-of-the-art new technologies and space age materials.

The original rendering that
gave Boyd Sr. the idea.

Boyd Sr. commissioned this rendering of what would be the aluma-truck

Everything was smoothed and fitted with careful attention to the seams -
like here at the junction of the bed
cover and the tailgate.

The sun shade was carefully designed to look period, then finished beautifully

Here is the tail light bumperette detail

Go underneath and you'll see aluminum pieces wherever possible - including the rear.

At the front, you'll find an alumim radiator, enclosed by an aluminum shell.

OK, aluminum interior, seath frames - and an aluminum-look leather seat!

The wheels are a one-off design,
or an ET-III style. Note Coddington signature Brake pistons - also aluminum.

The small block Chevy is also aluminum and those injectors are super-cool.

The alumatruck out in the open - it dominates the landscape.

This black and white photo says it all.