Surely one of Britain's youngest hot
rodders, Jake Smith turned a tragedy into something that should make us all
“I finished it in February, 2014. It had
taken two years, but that was every day after school. I used to drag my friends
down to help me. They were keen and willing, and all into cars, so I got them
doing all my dirty jobs. When my uncle was very ill and laid up in bed, he had
my grandparents outside in winter, sanding and priming the cab roof!
that's proof that this truck will be with Jake forever! He's clearly dead keen,
and is determined to make the most of every single mile of the 1,500 he's
limited to each year. He says that, for a 60 year old truck, it's surprisingly
sprightly with getup- and-go when it needs it. He also enjoys the distinctive
noise of the Ford flathead wherever he goes ... as does everyone else; those
big dual exhausts are far from quiet!
“I passed my test a year ago, and got a
Corsa as a daily. The hardest part of the truck build was getting insurance on
it, and in the end only one company in the UK would cover me on it – 1953 Ford
F100 ClassicLine. First they said they would, then they said they couldn't,
then they said they could but only on a policy limited to 1,500 miles per year.
I was devastated, thinking I'd finally get it finished and then not be able to
drive it. I didn't want to have my mum insured to drive it, then her driving it
to the shows for me – that would have defeated the object. She's very keen,
though, my mum! She's more excited about the truck than I am. She loves Yanks,
thanks to my uncle – he's always had something interesting, a Corvette, or a
custom Ford Pop.
1959 the old Popular was replaced by a new version that was in production until
1962. Like the previous version it used a superseded Anglia's body shell, this
time that of the 100E, and it was powered by a strengthened 1172 cc sidevalve
engine producing 36 bhp.
“Since having it on the road, it's more
than lived up to my expectations. You pull up at a petrol station and people
are stopping to take photos. People pull alongside me at the lights, expecting
me to pull away slowly but then I trash them with smoke pouring off the tyres.
I'm not your average boy racer... I get a hell of a lot of looks, but people
pull up and say 'Is that your dad's?' When I was trying to get information for
the build, very few people would help. Some wouldn't believe I had the truck,
others thought I was joking, sometimes I'd ask a question at a show and the
owner would just give me a sarcastic remark then walk off.
“It's very comfortable to drive, but the
seat's very springy and the suspension's quite hard, so sometimes you'll go
over a bump and hit your head on the roof! If it wasn't for the seat, it
probably wouldn't be such a comfortable drive. I drive it locally whenever I
can, and took it to Gary's Picnic at Shakey County. Its first show was a local
show called NASSA, and I won a top ten prize.
is one of those traditional grass roots drag racing and hot rodding weekend’s
packed with colour, entertainment and of course big inch American V8’s pounding
the quarter mile pavement! Every year the event attracts more cars and more
people than ever before, and we expect more of the same this year! At Yanks you
will find everything from classics to late model street and strip Fords,
Dodges, Pontiacs and Chevrolets starring in a celebration of all things U.S.
In the future, I'd like to fit independent
front suspension, and if I get a chance I'd like to fit a bigger motor, lower
it and go the hot rod route. I can't be too silly, though – it'll be a few
years before my insurers will let me! I did get a tattoo of the truck on the
back of my leg, though. The whole truck is dedicated to the memory of my Uncle
David. Everyone says he'd have been proud of the way it turned out, and I
imagine he would have been. I must thank Tony and Helen. Helen helped with the
wiring on the truck, and with the heavy lifting when three pairs of hands were
needed. If it wasn't for Tony, Helen and my friends, I wouldn't have been able
to do it.”