Car of the Week: 1941 Ford stake truck

By John Gunnell

William “Red” Lewis of De Pere, Wis., is founder of The Automobile Gallery in Green Bay, Wis. In trying to buy a 1932 Cadillac coupe from nearby car collector Jerry Bushman of Rosholt, Wis., Red had to buy this restored 1941 Ford Platform Stake truck to seal the deal. The big truck proved to be an interesting addition to the collection.

Breaking Down the 1941 Ford Truck

A flatter-faced hood with taller vertical-bar grille and fender-mounted, pod-type headlamps characterized the 3/4-ton-and-larger 1941 Ford trucks. This styling was introduced in 1940 with new sealed-beam headlamps and was carried over for 1941.

The 134-inch wheelbase Ford Regular Platform Stake truck came in three models and the 19T was the top of the line with Ford’s largest flathead V-8 engine of 239 cubic inches good for 95 hp. The Platform Stake truck had a load capacity of 59.1 cu. ft.

New features for 1941 Ford trucks included a higher-power generator and battery, 36x 1.75-inch longitudinal springs and a different axle design.  The platform truck had a sturdy steel bridge-type platform frame, a hardwood floor and smooth-surfaced rack boards with rounded corners. The hardwood floors were interlocked with steel skid strips.

The stake pockets were doubly reinforced. They were welded to the inside of the frame rail and riveted to the outside. Large steel interlocking plates were bolted to the corners of the top rack boards, tying them rigidly together to prevent fanning. The stakes themselves were made of straight-grain hardwood. The rack boards were smooth surfaced with rounded corners and edges. They had large steel interlocking plates bolted to their corners.

There was a large metal advertising panel on each forward stake section. The steel frame rail protected the platform sides and end. The ends of the body sills had strong steel caps riveted to the frame rail and bolted to the sills. The three-person waterproof seat could be adjusted to three positions.

Priced at just $895 when new, the Model 19T Platform Stake truck tipped the scale at 4,461 lbs. Ford built only 1,500 Platform Stale trucks in 1941 and they were not all 19T models. So, this truck is a fairly low production unit.

The engine used is Ford’s venerable L-head V-8 with a bore and stroke of 3.19 inch by 3.75 to produce the 239 cid. Other specs included a 6.75:1 compression ratio and 95 hp at 3800 rpm. A two-barrel carburetor was fitted.

This model has an overall length of 201.84 in. It is 79.4 inches wide and 76.2 inches high. The gross vehicle weight is 6,400 lbs. It uses 6.00×17 six-ply front tires and 7.00×17 six-ply rear ties.

A four-speed was available, but this truck features a three-speed manual transmission with the gearshift on the floor and the handbrake at the left. Other features include a single-disc clutch, shaft drive and a Hotchkiss-type semi-floating rear axle with hypoid gears with an overall ratio of 3.77:1 or an optional 3.36:1 ratio. The truck has hydraulic brakes on each of the 15-inch slotted disc wheels.

The truck pictured here is equipped with long-reach outside rearview mirrors, a coincidental lock, chrome hubcaps, a heater, running board step plates, mud flaps and dual rear wheels and tires.

Tracking Truck Trends
Antique trucks are a hot item in the collector’s marketplace right now. Prices are strong and are trending higher for the future. This truck is a nice restored vehicle that would look great in a show. It is a rare truck, since only 1,500 stake trucks of all models were made. Considering the combination of historical facts, dealer asking prices, Internet asking prices and asking prices for comparable vehicles in collectors’ magazines, a truck such as this should bring about $15,000.

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