Landon Rush likes to keep busy. He’s a husband, a father, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who is still serving in the National Guard, and he owns five, no wait… I think it’s six, hot rods. I’m really excited to have one of those hot rods in GHR, his very cool and very classic Flathead powered 1929 Ford Roadster Pickup.
“I’ve only had the pickup about a year,” Landon told me. “It was a quick build. I had a hot rod years ago, then I got into customs and trucks, and I wanted to get another hot rod. I saw this on Criag’s List. I sold my ‘58 Chevy truck to pick it up. I blew it all apart and quickly redid everything.”
And Landon wasn’t kidding about redoing everything. Body, frame, engine, transmission, rear end, suspension, interior – the whole works. It was amazing to me that he did it all in one year.
“The one thing I have going for me is that I work quick,” he said. “I try to do quality work in the least amount of time without taking any shortcuts. I get ’em done so I can enjoy them.”
Of course the Flathead engine between the frame rails caught my eye. It’s a 1950 OB8 model, displacing 239 cubic inches. It has all new ISKY internals and Edelbrock aluminum heads and intake manifold. That manifold has two Stromberg 97 two-barrel carbs, complete with vintage scoops from Lucky Burton of Lucky’s Speed Equipment Parts (@luckyburton on Instagram), mounted on it.
And just in case you haven’t been paying attention, that’s a ‘29 Ford with a Flathead engine, dual Strombergs, and ISKY and Edelbrock components. Can you get a more classic hot rod than that?
The Flathead’s exhaust is also vintage. The chromed exhaust headers mount up to a megaphone exhaust pipe that Landon constructed from cutting a 1935 Ford driveshaft in half. “That’s what they were doing back back in the 50s,” Landon told me. “They’d take the driveshaft and chop it in half and use that to make the lake pipes.” He welded a 90 degree bend with a flange on to the header and the megaphone exhaust pipe bolts to the flange.
I asked Landon if he had any mufflers in that exhaust. “No,” he said. “It’s straight pipe. And it’s got a little bit of a lope because of the ISKY cam. I like to get on it. It’s loud as sh…”
Well let’s just say Landon said it can be really loud.
A Walker radiator and a mechanical fan keep the vintage Ford V8 cool. Landon hasn’t had any cooling issues, although he usually doesn’t drive it in the worst heat of the Arizona summer.
A friend of Landon’s built it for him. “He did a great job,” Landon said. “It’s a peppy little motor. It’s running great.”
The rest of the drivetrain is one of the few areas that are not traditional on the pickup. Landon’s got a Ford T-5, 5 speed transmission and an 8” rear end in the roadster. He settled on this combination because he’s going to be doing a lot of highway driving. Landon reports that it was not hard to mate the T-5 to Flathead.
As if completely rebuilding a hot rod in a year wasn’t challenging enough, for Landon that also included two complete rear suspension changes. The Ford had a transverse leaf spring rear suspension when he got it, and Landon initially changed that out for coil-overs. But his desire for a more traditional suspension won out, and he changed it again to a buggy-spring transverse setup. The front suspension features a 4″ drop axle.
Some of the coolest parts of the suspension are the front and rear radius rods. Those radius rods were hand built by Gary “Red” Greth while Red was in his 80s. Red was one of the founding members of the Lords Car Club in Tuscon that Landon currently belongs to.
And Red might be most famous for being part of the team, along with Lyle Fisher and Don Maynard, that built and raced the legendary Speed Sport Roadster in the 1950s. During three years of competition, the Speed Sport Roadster never lost a race.
Red passed away about two years ago, so you can imagine how special it is for Landon to have those radius rods on his Ford.
Landon loves the Cross Steer system he has, which features a Vega steering box. “It steers really well,” he said. “It doesn’t have any slop at all.” The pickup has 1940 Ford brakes on the front and 8″ drums on the rear, with 16” 1940 Ford rims on all four corners. There are 500-16 tires up front and 700-16 in the rear.
Everything is mounted on a Model A frame mated to a late-30s Ford frame that kicks up in the rear. That kick gave Landon the clearance he was looking for in the back. The fabricated chassis ended up with a wheelbase that’s a couple of inches longer than stock.
The body is original steel, but it’s far from stock. Landon stretched the cab 6″, and he combined two pickup beds to keep the correct overall proportions. Then he set out to prep everything for paint. Landon did all the rust repair and bodywork and paint himself, despite the fact that he said “I really don’t like body work that much.”
“There’s no rust on it,” he told me, “and no body filler on it whatsoever. I hammered and dollied a ton of it. It’s a fresh paint job, I just got done spraying it a couple of months ago. I still need to cut and buff it.”
Landon strives for classic hot rod details everywhere on the Ford. The headlights are original King Bee headlights from the 1950s that he’s refinished. The grill and the grill shell are from a 1932 Ford.
The bench seat in the passenger compartment has diamond stitch brown leather upholstery. Landon made new door cards for the Ford which are at the upholsterer’s shop now getting the same color leather with a diamond stitch pocket. Landon’s going to finish the entire interior – including upholstered kick panels, door panels, and rear cap panels.
But there’s no carpeting on the ‘29. Landon’s fitted real red oak slats into the floor and the pickup bed. The oak has been stained dark walnut and has a satin clear coat. “I wanted a vintage look,” he said, “with wood, paint, and chrome. It’s kind of cool.”
The dashboard is very customized. The dash itself is from a 1932 Ford but Landon’s fitted it with 1953 Packard gauges. He took out the Packard three gauge cluster and welded it into the Ford dash. All the trim rings have been re-chromed or painted.
The current steering wheel is from a 1949 Chevy that Landon completely reworked. But he’s putting the final touches on a 1940 Ford steering wheel that has a horn ring from a 1960 VW Bus. That Ford / VW wheel will soon be in the ‘29.
The end result is a classic hot rod that Landon loves to drive. “It’s fun,” he said. “It rides and drives really well, like a hot rod. I like to cruise. It’s more of a driver to me. I plan on painting it once and then just letting it weather and turn into a hot rod paint job over the years. I don’t build them to be show cars. I build them to be drivers.”
Landon’s entire family is really into hot rodding as well. As you can see, they enjoy cruising as much as he does. Landon’s already teaching his sons how to paint. And he’s got two 1950 Chevy Coupes that they’ll build when the boys are in high school. “It’s fun stuff,” he told me. “They all love it.”
There’s not a whole lot more Landon’s planning to do to the Ford. He’s going to finish the interior. He might make a full hood that he can take on and off as he wants to. And he thinks he’s going to install a removable canvas roadster top, “Otherwise,” he said, “it’s pretty much done.”
But that doesn’t mean his hot rodding is done. Not by a long shot. There’s his ‘55 F-100, his ‘38 Ford, his wife’s Hemi, the War Chief ‘52 Pontiac, and the ‘29 roadster he’s converting to Flathead power with a ‘37 Toplooader transmission.
It’s amazing how much work Landon completed on his Roadster Pickup in such a short amount of time. It probably helped that he had a vision for what he wanted it to be. “I love the old 50s customs that are chopped and shaved and a bunch of different pieces,” he said. “It’s been a lot of work in a year.”
A lot of work that Landon has executed exceptionally well. No doubt Red Greth is proud to have his handiwork on such a great hot rod.
Photos courtesy of Landon Rush
Click here to see more photos of Landon’s pickup
You can follow Landon’s hot rodding on Instagram at @Lords_Landon