Old American pickup trucks are becoming popular in Australia right now. Flipping through a Unique Cars mag you’ll see a range of Chevy pickup’s and Ford trucks, either beautifully restored or imported for avid fans to rebuild.
Pickup trucks have a cool retro look, especially when left with a patina finish, and are undoubtedly a distinctive choice. But now something a little bit different has hit Australian shores, an original 1951 Ford F1 Panel Van.
While you will, if you’re very lucky, still catch a glimpse of an old F1 truck generating rust in a country paddock or gathering dust in an old unused warehouse, this panel van is even more uncommon. But now it’s here, there’s the potential to create something unique.
How this panel van will be refurbished is still up in the air. When the right buyer comes along, it will be restored meticulously just the way they like it.
The car was imported by Chris from Benzine Works in Murrarie, Brisbane. As a rolling shell, the car was delivered to his workshop by Australian car transport service Door to Door Car Carrying. As experts in moving project cars and non-runners, they know how to fasten them safely and get your project car to you in one piece.
Chris is no stranger to complete restorations projects. His personal collection includes a Mustang he worked on from start to finish – everything from running gear to panel work. He loves to leave his car original, just like his 1956 Ford Zephyr (a car his old man has also restored). But ultimately, the cars he restores for customers are made-to-order, fully-customised to the desired style (and budget) of the owner.
Even in its current state, with a patina, patches of rust and exposed flooring, it’s a sight to behold. If you want a car to be noticed in, this is it. Parked on the street it would be impossible to miss. And what’s most interesting about this restoration is that Chris is looking for a buyer to determine which direction it goes.
From the cabin forward, it’s essentially the same as a Ford F1 pickup truck, but the extra van space in the back makes the car an imposing figure in the garage. It has the benefits of a fully enclosed panel rear, making it ideal for businesses to use as a promo car. Chris believes that by adding sign writing, or loading the back with a coffee machine or other stock, it’s a great way for a business to be noticed and remembered wherever they go.
Up the front is a flathead V8 motor, which has original paperwork from being factory re-manufactured in the 60s by Ford. As the engine isn’t seized, once it’s cleaned up it should be a good runner (if not, Chris was happy to report that he knows a specialist in these motors).
Inside, the car a left-hand drive model, and has its original dash, even the original stereo. Two individual seats are in the front (although there are F1 bench seats around that fit).
Space is something the panel van has in spades, and the rear doors open wide. Online, you can find examples of similar models fully-restored. There’s one on Wikipedia, for example, that was originally a postal truck. Restored models look fantastic both still in the patina paint finish, or with a company logo down the sides.
History of the car
There is still some history in this car to be discovered. Faint sign writing on the front-drivers door shows what looks to read ‘Transfusion Service’, so perhaps it’s an ex-services car. What we know is that it was imported from the US in the condition it’s in now. It also has the original ford badges on either side of the bonnet – a huge score seeing as how rare they are. You simply cannot get them anywhere today, so that’s bonus.
So what’s the plan for this car?
Chris is looking for the right customer. In particular, he believes a panel van perfectly suits the business owner who wants something unique and that will stand out. But for collectors, Ford fans, or other classic car enthusiasts, there’s something to like for everyone.
To get in contact with Chris, or follow the progress of this project, read on to find his details at the end of this article.
Until he has a customer in mind, he’s cautious to do much work on it. As it has the original dash, engine, even the stereo, whatever happens it’ll be a show-stopper. And Chris has the passion, the know-how, and the efficiency to bring this panel van back to life for one lucky customer who’s after something just a little bit different.
There are many benefits to working with Bezine Works to restore this car. The first is that you won’t have to wait as long to get your car. As well as being an efficiency expert, Chris focuses on individual jobs, so you’ll have his full attention. Next, for anything Chris can’t do himself, he has all the contacts you need. Need a showroom quality paint job? No worries. He knows everyone, from award-winning paint jobs, to getting automatic gearboxes rebuilt. Chris has done it all many times before.
Are you interested in this restoration?
We’ve included a bunch of photos below, but for current progress on this and other projects from Benzine Works, you can follow them on both Facebook and Instagram. Or if you have a project or dream car you’d like to get built go to benzineworks.com.au and get in touch with Chris.