Doane Yawyer: Cars

My Favorite Ride: Atwater father, sons restored 1939 Ford pickup

Ken and Wes Unruh’s 1939 Ford half-ton pickup truck is pictured.
Ken and Wes Unruh’s 1939 Ford half-ton pickup truck is pictured.

The car: 1939 Ford half-ton pickup

The owner: Wes and Ken Unruh, Atwater

What are the key features of your vehicle?

It has been restored to about 98 percent original, including an 85-horsepower flathead V-8 engine.

What did you have to do to get it in its present state?

Complete frame-off restoration, hunting down the flathead engine and many days walking through swap meets. My father did all the mechanical work, with a little help from my younger brother, the transmission builder.

What else do you want to do to it?

Drive it!

How did you acquire your vehicle?

My father bought it in Minnesota for a move to California; the year purchased was 1955. It’s been in the family a long time.

Why did you pick that particular vehicle and what do you find appealing about it?

I picked it for the family memories. It was my dad’s daily driver when I was a kid.

What started your love affair with cars?

Just following in Dad’s footsteps.

What advice would you give others about starting such a project?

Make sure you have a thick wallet!

Do you have any other collector vehicles or project cars?

I have three old Honda motorcycles, the best one is an early 1960s Honda Dream.

What’s your favorite memory about this ride?

Watching my father drive it after the restoration was complete; that was a very cool day. I also have a nice four-generation photo with Dad, me, my son and grandson.