1946 Hudson truck stretch cab

This is a stretch cab truck I did.  The customer wanted a bigger cab but not longer doors.  At the time, the Chevy trucks with the extra little door was popular.  This truck design was influenced by those trucks and their overall look.  My customer Mr. David had thought out the project very well.  He wanted to use a four door sedan.  Cut the car in half through the back doors.  Then weld the truck cab back on the car.  The total length of the stretch would be 15".  The little doors would open and close independent of the front doors being open or not. We started with a truck and a four door sedan.  Sent both bodies to the sand blaster so we could see what we have to work with.    Hmm?  I see the mail man jeep in the background that later became a 1924 Essex.  ....but that's a story for another day.  :)
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Comments

  • jjbubaboyjjbubaboy Posts: 864Senior Contributor
    Very cool!
    Cant wait to hear about the jeep.......
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Some things worth mentioning.  The wheel base will stay the same.  To give room for the longer cab, the bed will be shortened.  If you look at the above picture you might notice a few things.  The car has internal running boards.  That will have to change to rockers and outside running boards.  The car has drip rails, those will have to go, to make it more truck like.  So everything you see that is grey is bare metal.  That is what we will use for the build.  .... some one with a sharp eye will notice the wheels.  Although they won't be used for this truck, they are the very rare "heavy duty" Hudson truck wheels.
  • trdrewtrdrew Posts: 24Member
    I have a '46 truck. Not sure if I have the heavy duty wheels - how do I tell?
    Thanks.
  • 40indianssgmailcom40indianssgmailcom Posts: 267Senior Contributor
    I will be interested in seeing how the bed will be shortened as mine is now about 12” shorter than original but I also shortened the frame to accommodate. I took about 6” off the front of the bed and about 6” off the back. Stake pockets gone as a result. Was able to use original mounting points and brackets. Not to hijack but several years ago when I began my 47 pickup I asked about using an earlier front end from a 40 or 41. Was told the fenders would not fit to cowl without a lot of work. These photos make it appear that the earlier fenders attach exactly the same and would interchange with the 47 cowl. Thus earlier front sheet metal will bolt on. The differences are in external running boards and the internal step.  I still think it can be done. I may be incorrect
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 942Senior Contributor
    Great work, I’m always amazed at what you can do with metal!
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    So,...this is the plan.  I cut the car in half across the roof about 15" into the back door.  I cut the truck roof about even with it's jamb.  The floor gets cut at 15" plus whatever the truck cab thickness was.  Maybe an additional 8" (?), plus an inch or two so the floor extends under the bed.  Something like this drawing. 
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    For the doors the idea was to use half of the truck door, and half of the sedan rear door and weld them together.  By doing this, I wouldn't have to make as many pieces.  Then too, I wouldn't have to make garnish moldings.  Which take a lot of time if you have to make them.
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men.  Although it all sounded good.  Like a lot of these projects, once you get into actually doing the job,...things are a little different than how they were drawn up.  Here is one problem, that I didn't see until after everything was cut apart. 
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Then there was the roof.  Looking down on the roof the cab gets wider as it goes back.  So the original truck roof is narrower because it was more forward of the back doors.  Also, the truck cab sides are not at 90degrees to the cab back.  Because the roof width varies, gets bigger as it goes back, the sides angle inward toward the front of the car.  Where I need to attach the roof in it's new position, the cab sides need to angle outward to match the contours of the body.
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Then as it turns out the roof height was different too.  But I'm not doing a drawing of that.  You get the idea.
  • 54coupe54coupe Posts: 761Member
    Thanks, bent metal, for the insight. This should be of great value to anyone who is going to attempt a stretch cab. This is the only place I’ve seen this info shared by someone who has actually done it. 
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Thanks!  I hope these details of different builds get saved on the forum forever.  So, here we go.  Start cutting as per plan.
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Then start putting the pieces together.  Repairing rust holes as I went along.
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    While I was working on the body the owner was working on the chassis.

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Once the cab was fit together it was time to make the doors for the rear.  I don't have very many pictures of anything.  Hopefully what I have is enough. I go to start putting the two door halves together and all of the issues mentioned earlier start to show up.  After switching pieces from side to side like a puzzle, I get it close.


  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    With three of the four corners of the window looking about right.  I decided to make the last corner.

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    The door skin were rusted out across the bottom, had door handle holes to fill, dents to fix.  They weren't really the right shape.  I didn't want to weld a big vertical seam down the center. So I decided to make those new as well.

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    The inner structure was next.  Hidden hinges, Hudson latch and handle.  I also made it so the window would roll up and down.  But the owner wanted them stationary, so I made them fixed.  ...But I can change it back.  B)

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Garnish moldings were made from originals, cut down.

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    I didn't get too many pictures.  So here is the cab.  I never had the bed and the cab at the same time, and I never had the chassis at all.  I built the cab on one of my Dad's chassis'.  Notice I left the rockers a little long.  Because I never had the bed and cab together, I couldn't trim that gap.  I asked the owner to trim it or have the paint and body shop trim it with everything together.  Of course the idiots at the body shop just trimmed the rocker off even with the back of the cab.  :open_mouth:  Couldn't believe it when I saw it come out of paint!  Very disappointing.  But what can you do.  Moving on. :)

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Overall lines look right.  Flow down the side of the body looked good.  Doors open and close good and independent of each other. ...I'm calling it "done"!

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    I also widened the rear fenders.  Looks like I only took two pictures of those and never of them finished.  






  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    The bed was damaged pretty bad.  Replaced the front and rear end panels.

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    I had my Dad made the wood and I sealed and cleared it.  Many many coats of clear top and bottom and the ends.  Sanded in between each coat.

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Here is the finished truck and Mr. David.

  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    Looking back, this is a pretty special project for me.  I hope you enjoy the pictures. :smile:

  • 12BoltTom12BoltTom Posts: 111Senior Contributor
    Wow, great work! Thanks for taking the time to put this out here for all of us to see. I really enjoyed it.

  • 54coupe54coupe Posts: 761Member
    Thanks for the details and photos. I saw it off and on when you were doing it, and seeing the pictures really brought it all back. Beautiful work. Seeing it in bare metal really shows how good your work is. Great job.
  • bent metalbent metal Posts: 1,613Senior Contributor
    THANKS!  :)  Glad you liked it. :)
  • lostmindlostmind Posts: 1,388Expert Adviser
    The color looks like the Platinum that Hudson used 48-50
    Thanks for sharing, out of this world skills.
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