One of the things we like most about the recent “patina” phenomenon is that you never know what to expect

At a glance, this 1946 Ford pickup looks like an old antique barn find, complete with pre-war styling and the requisite rugged exterior, but you’d only be reading the book by its cover. Look under the hood or at the chassis and you’ll find great workmanship and newer components throughout, featuring a 350 V8, an automatic transmission, and an upgraded suspension that were all designed to make this a first-rate cruiser that dances to a different tune.

The look of the ’46 Ford pickup is familiar to anyone that’s driven through the American countryside, yet when you set the stance low to the ground, it takes on an entirely new personality. Finished in what we can only call Patina Bronze, it’s got an incredibly cool weathered look in a very consistent way, and the clamshell hood, round fenders, and running boards are staples of the Ford’s pre-war design. That’s right, this is still technically a pre-war truck since Ford used the 1941 design after the war until 1948, with only minor changes to the grills and trim on some models. The result is an old-school truck that demands attention but doesn’t shout about it, and we love that what’s left of the front grille and hood trim was retained when this little bruiser was built. Looking past the bumps-and-bruises paint job, you’ll find all-original Henry Ford steel, and yes, it has dents, dings, and even some minor rusty spots that don’t go beyond the surface, but it’s still a very solid truck that’s ready for the rigors of the road. Doors fit well, the hood sits surprisingly flush, and even the front and rear tailgate survived decades of use and open-air preservation to make their way into the new millennium. Out back, the bed floor is made of fresh wood panels and bright chrome slats that are stark contrast to the rest of the truck, and a black toolbox was fitted with a fuel cell inside for a killer custom look. It’s a very unique pickup, and we can all but guarantee that this Ford will be all that’s talked about at the car show.

Climb behind the wheel and you’ll see things feel totally different, starting with a neatly installed wide-bench seat wrapped in beautiful two-tone red and black upholstery. The pleaded vinyl seat is all-day comfortable and features stitch work usually reserved for higher-end interiors, while the red steel door panels, plush black carpets on the floor, and red vinyl headliner are great complementary pieces. It’s obvious this cabin wasn’t just thrown together last minute, and spartan or not, it was purposely restored for the comfort of the driver and passenger. The original steel dash was painted bright red to match the rest of the cab, and a billet gauge bezel filled with classic-looking VDO gauges was installed right ahead of the driver. An aftermarket A/C system was also neatly installed in the dash, discreetly enough where it looks like it always belonged, and although it’s pumping R134a refrigerant inside, we’re thinking it could use a service soon for optimal performance. A later-model GM steering wheel with a custom ’46’ horn button sits atop a tilt column, anchoring the interior and providing a lot more room for the driver behind the wheel. A Pioneer AM/FM/CD head unit was installed under the dash, but it’s been a long time since it worked so it could use a modern upgrade. Simple and clean, with a couple much-needed creature comforts that really put this ’46 ford over the top.

There’s big news under the hood delivered via a swapped-in 350 V8 Chevy small block that’s running great. With lots of torque, it makes this Ford plenty agile and very streetable, reliable, and easy to service. Topped with an Edelbrock 4-barrel carb and Edelbrock aluminum intake, this lightweight truck can get and go with immediate responsiveness, breathing easy through a chrome Edelbrock open-air filter and staying nice and cool thanks to the giant radiator up front. Chrome Edelbrock valve covers add a little bling to the red engine bay, and a modern alternator and A/C compressor are further proof that this truck was built for modern driving. Underneath, you get the aforementioned TH350 3-speed transmission feeding a beefy 10-bolt rear end, so it’s an easy cruiser at higher speeds โ€“ something most Pre-War trucks cannot brag about. Giving it great road manners is the Nova-style front clip with power steering and front disc brakes up front, and upgraded shocks throughout. Ram’s horn manifolds feed a cackling dual exhaust system featuring throaty Flowmaster-style mufflers that sound great the moment the V8 motor sparks to life. Matching red steel wheels adorned with Ford center caps and beauty rings finish the look and they’re wrapped in 215/75/15 whitewalls that looks fantastic.

Price: $27,995

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Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States