All gearheads are guilty of the same thing, cruising Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for our next project vehicle. It doesn’t matter how many rolling chassis and half-built rides are sitting under tarps around our property, we’re always looking for that next build. Tim Connor found a 1946 Ford truck on Craigslist that was supposed to be flip a build, but turned into one radical rat rod he decided to keep.
Growing up, Tim’s father, George, and older brother Randy were always doing something vehicle-related. George even built a dune buggy out of an old Corvair that the boys would drive all over the family’s property when they were young.
“Cars have been in my blood since I was young and never really went away. Growing up, my dad was a heavy equipment mechanic; he was a jack of all trades who could do all kinds of stuff. Seeing him tinker with all kinds of mechanical items got my attention. When I was a kid, I would build lots of model cars and draw hot rods on sheets of paper. My older brother had a 1969 Olds Cutlass that he had modified in the early 1980s, and that helped fuel the fire,” Tim says.
Tim has owned and built a wide assortment of different vehicles, but he really enjoys stuff that’s out of the ordinary. So, it’s no surprise that a 1946 Ford truck that had spent its life in the logging business caught his eye. The truck showed up in a Craigslist search Tim had done and he decided to save the ad for further review later. When Tim took a second look at the truck he decided he had to have it.
“The thing that popped out to me was the fact it was an old logging truck and it had the cool door art. I was able to picture a rat rod in my mind based around the truck and that made it even more appealing. I contacted the seller, and he actually planned on putting it on a motorhome chassis to make a rat rod out of it. Due to health issues, he decided to sell it and I had to have it,” Tim states.
With a head full of ideas, Tim hooked up his trailer and made the trek to pick up his new project. But that turned out to be a bigger challenge than he anticipated. Tim’s 16-foot open trailer barely held the massive Ford, so the rear wheels were teetering off the back of the tow rig. After some creative strapping and chain work, Tim secured the truck and headed home to begin his build.
“The body was in good shape and the floors were nearly perfect, so I felt bad cutting it up. Since it was a logging truck, and it had been used in the woods and fields, the rest of the body panels were pretty beat up, but that added character to the rat rod. Some people would have viewed all of these things as flaws, I viewed them as inspiration for the build,” Tim explains.
Now remember, Tim’s plan was to build the truck as a rat rod and then sell it to make some cash to fund another build. Well, everybody has a plan until sparks start flying and a vehicle starts to take shape. Tim’s plan was about to move in a different direction.
“After I got it home and started working on it, I started to change my mind about what I was going to do with the truck. I’ve had a lot of ideas in my head for many years that I wanted to use in a rat rod build, and I was pouring them into this truck. I told my wife when I was about halfway through the build that I didn’t think I could sell the truck because I had put so much of my personality into the build. My wife looked at me over her glasses and said ‘I knew you weren’t going to sell it’. That was my green light to keep the build going and finish it how I wanted,” Tim says.
The Ford truck body was just part of this build, it would need a chassis to ride on. Tim found a 1996 extended cab S10 to serve as the foundation for the Ford. The truck came with a running 4.3-liter V6 that was backed by a 4L60E transmission, a great combination for a cruiser like Tim wanted. Well, after Tim did some thinking, he realized that the engine would look very underwhelming between the fenders of the Ford. That was going to be a problem since it wouldn’t match the vision Tim had for the truck.
Like any resourceful hot rodder, Tim started looking around his shop for something that could replace the anemic V6 the S10 came with. He had an old 307 cubic-inch small-block with a gnarly cam that was in his C10. He thought that engine would work since it made more power, plus he could dress it up to look nice.
That plan changed after Tim was on Facebook Marketplace and found a deal on another engine.
“Well, one day I was on Facebook Marketplace and found a guy that had a 1987 S10 Blazer with a built 400 cubic-inch small-block. The owner said they just had the engine built, but it had a nasty vibration. I had a good idea what the vibration was, so I went to look at the Blazer and got it for a steal. I brought it home and confirmed my suspension about the vibration, it had the wrong flywheel installed. I tore the engine apart, went through it, put a big cam and AFR heads ln it, and put it in the Ford truck,” Tim says.
So, Tim put together a rather rowdy small-block that sounds like a big-block out of the 400 cubic-inch mill. A TH350 transmission that was built by Ricky Richardson was mated with a Summit Racing Equipment torque converter to send power back to the S10 rearend that’s under the truck. Tim added a slew of Belltech suspension and chassis parts to the truck to give it a killer stance.
Tim couldn’t leave the body or chassis of the truck stock. The S10 chassis was shortened 10 inches and narrowed to fit the body. Tim channeled the truck’s body over 5 inches, then he channeled and lengthened the hood so it would fit properly. The truck also has a custom floor pan and transmission tunnel. For the interior, Tim used seats from a tour bus of unknown origins, oh the stories those seats could tell…
There are countless cool details that can be found from front to rear on Tim’s truck. Tim’s inspiration to create all of these unique touches came from a multitude of places.
“My wife and I like to go to yard sales, flea markets, and swap meets to find cool items. We went to a swap meet and split up to go look for different things. When we met at the car later, I had an aluminum milk box that used to sit on your porch for the milkman and a couple of bizarrely shaped wrenches. She asked what I was going to do with that stuff since she thought I just purchased a random box and some wrenches. I told her that I had found my taillight brackets and a battery box. That’s my way of thinking of things and finding ways to make different items work as parts for the truck,” Tim explains.
Tim has really enjoyed building his rat rod logging truck and is thankful for those who have been there to help make it a reality.
“I need to thank my father George and brother Randy for their inspiration. A huge thanks goes to my wife Stacy for supporting me and my automotive passion. A special thanks to all of my Full Throttle Cruisers family. I also need to thank Mike Harris and Barry Young for all their help too,” Tim says.
Tim Connor really put a lot of thought into his wild rat rod truck build. The little details he incorporated into all facets of the build really make it cool. Now, don’t think for one second this truck is a trailer queen. Tim built this truck as a driver and has put over 12,000 miles on it since it was finished. So, you have to give Tim some serious credit for building a really awesome truck that gets driven, and driven a lot.