Sometimes, all we need is a little inspiration to get us on the right track.
Rick Flake has been a rodder the bulk of his life, but for whatever reason, he became put off by the high-zoot movement of the 1980s and 1990s.
“I wasn’t really sure why, until I saw Jimmy Shine’s ’34 pickup at the LA Roadster Show in June of 2003,” Rick said.
Recognizing the appealing rawness of Shine’s ride, Rick found himself inspired to build another ride to add to those he had already built or owned.

Finding perfect project fodder is not always easy, but an inspired Rick found what he searched for at a popular Internet auction house. Soon, a 1934 ton-and-a-half Ford pickup was on its way west from Texas.

One should be aware that “perfect” is a relative term here. The ’34 was moderately solid, but being a flatbed, it had slight damage in the back of the cab and the roof got caved in somewhat. No biggy. After all, that is what Bondo® is for, right?

Perhaps something got overlooked here. This drop-dead gorgeous ’34 is a bare metal rod. Now there is a basic rule of thumb that everyone goes by: if your bodywork is poor, you blow flat paint on it. Flat paint will hide a multitude of ugly. If it is straight as a string, you can hose it with glossy paint, and if it is perfect, paint it black.

To run butt nekkid though, it has to be better than perfect. There is no way in creation to mask a single imperfection if all you have showing is metal.

Do not do this at home, kids.

This is also probably a good time to mention that this is not a checkbook ride. Although a garage-grown rod, it should be mentioned that Rick is not new to the hot rodding game. He has been building his own rides since he was about 14 years old, and enough years have passed that at the time, a 14 year old could afford a Deuce 5-Window.

The truth is that there exists very little done on this ride that was not touched by the owner.

This particular ’34 not only was repaired, but the lid is lowered 5” and the whole thing channeled 6” over a Deuce chassis. That would not be an original Deuce chassis. Rick started with a pair of American stamping ’32 rails and fabbed his own.

When it came time for a mill, a ’46 Ford gave up its heart. What else can be expected for a rod this TRADical. A whopping 239 inches @ 8.5:1 compression, this little flatty got the full treatment: 3/4 Isky cam, Smith heads, three ‘97s on a Sharp’s intake, Mallory ignition and a set of zoomies all add up to full house flatty. And, of course, all Rick’s handiwork, including the zoomies.

Those 18-inch Artillery wheels are a Shine design, built again by Rick then slathered in PPG Medium Blue. Well, even a bare metal rod can benefit by just a touch of color. They are wrapped in Coker rubber, 6.50x18 and 7.00x18 front to rear.

Now as said, Rick did not personally attend to just a couple parts of the car as some things are just better farmed out.

Three of the most prestigious strippers in the Fresno, Calif. area were called upon to pull lines on the little ’34. Before the last line had been pulled, Jimmy Ogawa, Neil Averill and Dale “Soggy” Oftedal had all worked their magic on this Shine-inspired creation.

The other part that Rick does not take the credit is for the tuck’n’roll inserts on the seats. That bit of handiwork is the product of Wall and Eads Upholstery. That done, Rick has a comfy place to park it while his nekkid creation is busy not being parked.

All said and done, an inspired Rick Flake built himself a winner. But you do not need to take anyone’s word on that. Ask Blackie Gejeian himself, who invited Rick to bring the ’34 to the Fresno Autorama. I wonder how many bare metal rods have shown at the one of the nation’s most prestigious shows?

Sometimes, all the skill in the world is not good enough without just a little bit of inspiration. That said, this writer will end Rick’s story and beat a retreat to the garage, as there seems to be a chassis out there that could use just a little TLC.

1934 Ford Pickup
Owner/Builder: Rick Flake
Fresno, California

Frame manufacturer: American Stamping Rails/owner/Deuce
Modifications: Pinched/kicked in rear
Rearend/Ratio: ‘29 Ford 3.7:1
Rear suspension: ’39 Ford Cross leaf
Rear brakes: ’40 Ford
Front suspension: Drilled I-Beam
Front brakes: ’40 Ford
Master cylinder: Corvette
Steering column: SO-CAL
Front wheel make, size: 18” Shine designed/owner built
Front tire make, size: Coker 6.50x18
Rear wheel make, size: 18” Shine designed/owner built
Rear tire make, size: Coker 7.00x18

Dashboard: Custom by owner
Gauges: S/W
Wiring: Owner
Steering wheel: SO-CAL Sprint
Seats: Vintage midget modified by owner
Material/Color: Leather Inserts/Blue
Carpet: N/A


Year and make: 1946 Ford
Displacement: 239
Camshaft: Iskanderian 3/4
Compression ratio: 8.5:1
Heads: Smith
Horsepower: Just Enough
Torque: Yes
Manifold/Induction: Sharp’s with three Stromberg 97s
Ignition: Mallory Electronic
Headers/Mufflers: Owner-built Zoomies

Year and make: 1939 Ford
Converter: N/A

Body style/material: Steel 1934 Ford
Body manufacturer: Ford
Body mods: Chopped 5” Channeled 6”
Bodywork: Owner
Painter: Owner
Paint type: PPG Medium Blue under clear

Other: “Hopefully Jimmy (Shine) will take this as a huge compliment. My thanks to him for dragging me back into this sport.” Rick Flake

Pinstriped by Jimmy Ogawa, Neil Averill and Dale “Soggy” Oftdal