Restoration: Ford D750—Part 10

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

Deals on Wheels' resident restorer Lyndsay Whittle takes a quick look at the progress made so far on his Ford D750 restoration project

Now I know the door fits, the next step is to prime it

It’s a scary thought sitting down to write part 10 of this restoration, as I can hardly comprehend where the past 300-odd days have gone.

I must have been looking at the world through rose-coloured spectacles when I started out on this journey way back in the spring of 2019 because in all honesty, the truck only looked like it needed a bit of a tidy-up and paint; a big mistake on my part.

My restoration buddy Murray and I have this little joke going on between us where we say that I’m not going to get too carried away and be too pedantic about this one, both knowing that it’s not in the DNA of either one of us to not give everything our very best.

Don’t get me wrong in reading that statement; it doesn’t mean that I think everything I do is fantastic, as nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, one of my major motivations in being in this restoration game is to show other people that if this dork can take an old truck that’d otherwise have ended up on the scrap heap and bring it back to life, then surely anyone can do it.

Fortunately, from the feedback I’ve received from many readers, there are a lot of people out there who are way smarter than I am and are just as keen to see these old wagons back on the road again. People like Graeme Blackstock who operates a suction truck business in New Plymouth.

Graeme served his time as a mechanic with a Ford dealership. He told me that he loves D Series and has picked up many dual-steer ex-road sweepers as soon as they came on the market over the years. By the look of the photo he sent me of one of his rigs, it’s easy to see that he takes good care in keeping it in good working order.

Being fortunate enough to be able to share my trials and tribulations with guys like Graeme and Lance Slater whose D Series’ featured in last month’s article, helps me to solve many a problem that’d be difficult to get my head around if I didn’t have the help of folk who have specific prior knowledge of the thing I’m trying to solve.

A recent example that I can share came from my new friend Graeme (who I’ve yet to meet in person) when I told him that one of my next jobs was to get onto the grille. While my grille is intact and will only need a sand and paint to get it looking all shipshape, there are two curved extensions that sit behind the bumper that would be difficult to make; not impossible but difficult all the same.

I have one that’s in quite good nick but the other is missing altogether. I haven’t figured out which one I need yet, but Graeme thinks he can supply me with one when I get around to figuring it out. Thanks for that Graeme!

It seems that everything on the right-side front of the cab has been pretty good, whereas the left has been a nightmare even though at first glance both sides looked to be in a similar condition to the other.

Anyway, getting back to my opening comment regarding the time I imagined it would take to get this job done based on the time it took me to get through each of my four previous restorations. I fully expected to be between 70 and 80% of the way through this one when I was writing about it in Part 10.

Sadly, that isn’t the case, as we have a little way to go yet as can be seen in the photos.
Everybody who’s been following this job from the beginning will have realised by now that the one and only thing I’m quite clever at is conjuring up plausible excuses for being a little bit slow at getting things done.

Not wanting to let anyone down, of course, but I have a bunch of excuses this time around as well. First, there was the COVID-19 lockdown, and secondly, that dreaded rust in the
left-front of the cab slowed things down.

Getting tired of making excuses to myself and everyone around me, I decided to get stuck in this month and finish the panel and priming part of both the mudguards. Following on with the theme of right versus left—the right being not so bad and the left leaving a lot to be desired—the right guard needed minimal work to get it looking okay but the left one was pretty badly squashed and had me thinking if I was going to have to call in the experts for a while there.

Raw fitting of the left-hand side mudguard

Everybody needs a little bit of luck on their side from time to time, and somewhere along the way, I must’ve got lucky and I managed to get the job done myself. Now, I know the finish is never going to be as sweet as it would’ve been if it was done by a panel beater but hey, people who don’t love D Series as much as some of us will probably tell me it’ll be good enough for a D. Cheeky devils.

That leads me to where we’re currently at with the cab. All the rust has been removed from under the steps on both sides and replaced with new panel-work, both mudguards are now ready for a final coat of paint, and by the time this instalment goes to print, the left-side door will have been repaired and primed and ready for painting.

First fitting of the left-hand side door

This door proved to be quite a job, as when all the paint was scraped off, a lot of rusted metal and body filler came away with it, leaving me with something that closely resembled a block of Swiss cheese.

It’s only temporary but good to see the door back in place

The task of finish-coating the doors and guards would normally be a simple case of blowing the paint on each of the components but not so with this job. Just to make things a little bit more difficult for myself, the inside of the doors will be painted the same blue as the rest of the interior, as will the underside of the guards to match the underside of the cab, while the outer skins of the doors will be metallic green and the top of the guards are to be metallic charcoal.

This door needed some serious work

It all just goes to prove that I do tend to make things as difficult as I can. I’m now a month behind with my previous reckoning on getting onto some mechanical work so I can move the truck around once again. Here’s hoping I don’t let the readers and myself down this time, eh.

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