Restoration: D750 Ford—Part 20

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

With only about 15 hours thrown at the restoration this month, it’s hardly surprising that there’s precious little to show photo-wise even though quite a bit of mechanical stuff has been achieved

Back in a familiar spot but in a better state of completion than late last year

The question as to why so little work done for this issue is bound to be quite rightly asked. COVID-19 restrictions had a bit to do with it as did the week off I took to have a bit of R&R with my wife Christine in the South Island; well, even restorers of old trucks are entitled to the odd bit of relaxation, aren’t they?

We’re still waiting on the two 600mm long bits of window channel to arrive ex-England, although, I can say with a high degree of certainty that they will be fitted to the truck soon but too far away to make this issue though unfortunately.

Jeremy, the glass man, tells me he has them in his hot little hands but that he won’t be able to get to my side of town until after the magazine’s deadline. Once those go in, it’ll spark a chain of events that should lead to the cab’s interior being finished off, with the exception of the headlining, which will be fitted right at the end of the restoration.

As I said, the largest portion of the amount of work carried out this month has focused on the mechanical side of things rather than the ‘pretty’ stuff such as painting and fitting panels.

Hoist working once again

I’ve been trying to figure out a way of taking a photo of a low-air pressure buzzer not buzzing, and then after a little tinkering, starting to work.The same has been the case with the two-speed axle, which wasn’t shifting but now thankfully is.

Both items having now been repaired and have moved the restoration in the right direction immeasurably, but alas, they don’t add anything to the visual content of the article. The good thing though is that I’ve been able to move the truck to some new locations for a photoshoot, thus ending my need to be creative when photographing the old truck from different angles in the same spot it had been in for the past few months.

Looking better with the quarter guards fitted

Body panel-wise, the only additions this month have been the fitting of the two quarter-guards that fit behind the front wheels and the fitting of the lower grille. While these items don’t go a long way to finishing-off the truck, they are nevertheless a few more items out of the way.

Another small job that I suppose could be classed as panel-work was the removal and refitting of the Ford letters on the grille. I may have mentioned a couple of issues ago that my good friend Colin Dunn, owner of CRD Automotive in Avondale, had let me loose on a D Series in one of his yards, telling me to help myself to any useful bits.

Even though most of the mechanicals aren’t able to be used on my truck (his truck is a larger V8-powered version with a full air braking system), the body panels are pretty much the same.

My truck is a 1970 model, while the parts truck was manufactured in 1975. However, I was able to forage two nice interior sun visors, which will be fitted at the end along with the headlining.

The Ford letters on this truck were of the chrome variety and had rubber gaskets fitted behind them, giving the appearance of having drop-shading, just like signwriting. I toyed with the notion of replacing my painted letters with the chrome ones but gave up, as they didn’t look as authentic; at least I didn’t think so.

In the end, I reached a compromise: the old letters but with the rubber gaskets to set the lettering off. I have a small confession to make—I took the truck for a short run up the road a couple of days before writing this update.

While with the last few restorations we were able to do most of the testing on the tracks and driveways around the property on which all the restoration work is carried out, the D being quite a bit larger than previous vehicles needs a lot more space in which to manoeuvre.

Having had a modicum of success with getting the brakes up and running, it was time to try things out at a little more speed, and there was only other place for that—on the road. The run up the road was no more than a few hundred metres but at least it was enough to get into high third.

The strangest thing about that statement is that the two-speed diff was working, something it hadn’t done in all the time I’ve owned the truck, not that I’ve moved it around very much.

I’m still trying to figure out what I inadvertently did to make it work, and the only thing I can come up with is that earlier in the day, a couple of us spent half an hour clippin the wiring and pipework to the chassis. Perhaps it was bad earth; I don’t really know.

The D’s first trip up the road

The short trip back down the hill proved that although the brakes did pull the truck up, albeit only at 20km/h or so, an awful lot of effort had to be applied to the brake pedal. Obviously, the booster wasn’t working as it should, and while that’s not the end of the world, I knew it’d be something I’d have to get my tiny head around sometime soon.

So, I’ll have to head back in the workshop manual, I guess. Suddenly there was light to be seen at the end of the restoration tunnel, and I got out of the truck feeling pleased that things were at least heading in the right direction.

Knowing that those long-awaited window channels would soon be fitted, allowing us to fit the door glass and finally finishing off the rest of the interior door panels helped to end the day on a high note.

Work is soon to start on the deck

However, we all know that anything that’s going well isn’t going to last long, as I was about to find out when I put the truck away for the day. I started it up, put it in first gear, and drove slowly into the shed, put my foot on the brake and it went straight to the floor.

Fortunately, I brought the truck to a stop without hitting anything. Suppose I should be thankful that it didn’t happen out on the road, which could’ve been most embarrassing.

Well folks, there wasn’t enough time to go and figure out what caused the problem and report it in this story before it went off to the Ed, so I guess that part will have to wait until the next instalment.

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