Henry J to Pickup modification / retrofit.
This Henry J pickup conversion was done by one of this countrie's most avid Henry J afficianados. Unfortunately, looking back, it may be painful to some to know that it was actually a 1952 Henry J Vagabond. A rare one that came with no trunk and no continental spare. The owner/converter purchased it in 1959. Since he already had a family car and a new infant son, he had the idea of converting it into a pickup. In 1959, nobody wanted Henry Js anyway so the pickup would be a good project. It took 6 months to complete. The back window is from a 1937 Pontiac, the box and back of the roof were fashioned from sheet medal and angle iron. Angle iron supports had to be welded behind and down around the bottom of the doors to reinforce and make up for the lost structure when the top was cut off. All welding on the pickup was actually done with nothing but an acetalyne torch and bronze rods!
The car was originally maroon, and then painted white. When the pickup conversion was completed in 1959, it received a new white paint job.
In 1960 the pickup was traded in for a peacock blue 1953 Henry J Corsair Deluxe he spotted on a used car lot. Five years later, in 1965, a co-worker spotted the pickup in a yard full of junked cars and told Erv about it. He purchased the car back only to find it had a cracked block. After calling every salvage yard in Omaha, Council Bluffs and Lincoln, it was determined that no Henry J 6 cylinder engines could be found. Since he did not yet know about KFOC, he latched onto the first engine he could get his hands on which was a Cheverolet 283 V8. The 283 fit right in the Henry J, it required a bigger radiator and stronger coil springs in the front but you couldn't tell from the outside. Unfortunately, the stock 4:55 (41/9) Henry J rear axle was no match for the 283 with a Cheverolet 4 speed and the engine roared at 50 mph. In fact, 1st and 2nd gear were not even necessary! You could get rubber in high gear from a dead stop! After the 283 was installed, it was painted a tutone black over white and red boards were added to match the 53 Buick conversion he also did in 1961. It was completed the second time in early 1966, and again, being unaware of KFOC, Henry J hub caps could not be found. Pontiac hub caps were used.
Since the rear axle ratio was geared too low, it was rarely driven. The Henry J pickup was sold in 1971 to a vagrant who used his winnings from a poker game to pay the $120 to purchas it. He took poor care of it. He added a hood scoop, made massive changes to the interior, and also involved it in several accidents. It was last seen sitting in a yard in Council Bluffs, IA in the mid 1970s. It is most likely long gone by now. Quite a unique vehicle!