’52 Ford Up Top—’97 Dodge Underneath
When your first vehicle is a ’50 Ford with a flathead V8, you tend to retain your affinity for classic Blue Ovals. Now fast-forward a few decades, factoring in a few life experiences that include the discovery of the power, durability and simplicity that is the 5.9L Cummins, and you start to see why Tim Galas’s ’52 Ford project turned out the way it did. “I always wanted another Bonus-Built,” he told us, “and the Cummins is so simple to work on, not to mention it’s good for a million miles.” It just made too much sense.
Building the “Fodge”
With a complete ’97 Dodge 3500 at his disposal—along with an end goal of towing with the finished product—the 1-ton frame, axles and suspension were used as the perfect foundation. The steering system consists of the second-gen box and a modified steering column out of an old International. For engine cooling, the radiator and fan clutch were retained from the ’97, while a first-gen intercooler is used due to the Ford’s tight engine bay quarters. For interior comfort, Galas’s friend, Jason Fox, installed the Vintage Air system that keeps the cab cool on hot Florida days.
P-Pump Tweaks & 5x12s
Seeing no reason to disrupt an engine he believed was just getting broken in, Galas opted to leave the 200,000-mile Cummins alone internally. However, the same couldn’t be said for the injection system. With horsepower being all too easy to add to a late 12-valve engine, the 215hp P-pump was pulled and sent to nearby Accurate Diesel Injection for a few tweaks. Among its enhancements would be a considerable bump in timing, the popular #0 fuel plate, larger delivery valves and 3,200rpm governor springs. A set of 5×12 injectors from Diesel Speed Shop brought another 100 hp into the equation without requiring Galas to ditch the factory HX35 turbo.
Thanks to the hard-to-kill nature of the Holset HX35, Galas stuck with it. However, in preparation for the added horsepower from the pump work and injectors, he had the factory charger rebuilt at Accurate Diesel Injection. While under Accurate’s care, exhaust flow was opened up via a 14cm2 turbine housing and a boost elbow was installed and adjusted to keep pressure below 40 psi. The 3-inch turbo-back exhaust system was built by a local shop, Carranco & Sons Tire and Muffler, with its tailpipe section integrated into the center, lower portion of the truck’s flatbed.
Steel & Woodwork
Since he is a welder and fabricator by trade, it’s no surprise that Galas crafted the truck’s flatbed himself. Overbuilt in nearly every way, it’s constructed of 3/8-inch-wall steel and mounts to the frame via 2×2-inch, 0.25-inch-wall square tubing. Galas also worked his magic on the diamond plate front bumper, hand-crafted the rear bumper, fabricated his own tube steps and even built the toolbox. Breaking away from all the steel work, the flatbed’s wooden side panels help remind everyone that this Cummins-powered beast was born in the Baby Boomer era.
Classis Work Truck
Two years in the making, Tim Galas’s ’52 Ford is an eye-catching piece of machinery. From the hand-built flatbed and bumpers to the tilt hood to the unique touches in the interior, it’s a one-off, blue-collar-built rig that could easily win the show n’ shine. But make no mistake—he didn’t power his first-generation Ford with a 5.9L so it could be a showpiece. Even with newer trucks at his disposal, Galas tasks the ’52 with half of his towing duties, along with driving it four days a week. “It’s not a trailer queen—I run it around town, haul my mud truck and swamp buggy with it, and also use it to tow my gooseneck camper,” he confirms. “I use it as a work truck, which explains why it’s not as pretty as it should be.”
Can you imagine how cool this thing looks toting a swamp buggy into the mud park? So can we!
The flatbed’s wooden side panels help remind everyone that this Cummins-powered beast was born in the baby boomer era.
1952 Ford body, 1997 Dodge Ram 3500 chassis
Owner: Tim Galas
Hometown: Sebring, Florida
Engine: 5.9L Cummins 12-valve
Fuel: 215hp P7100 with 3,200rpm governor spring kit, #0 fuel plate, enlarged delivery valves, advanced timing, 100hp Diesel Speed Shop injectors with 5×12 nozzles
Air: Holset HX35 with 14cm2 turbine housing and adjustable boost elbow, BHAF
Exhaust: Custom 3-inch turbo-back with exit through the flatbed
Transmission: 48RE automatic with a shift kit, Derale Performance deep pan, B&M automatic shifter and T-handle, NV271 transfer case
Horsepower: 425-450 hp (est.)
Torque: 900 lb-ft (est.)
Tires: Interco Super Swamper TSL, 38×12.50×16.5 (front); Michelin XML, 325/85R16 (rear)
Wheels: 16.5×8-inch front, 16×9-inch rear with 4-inch spacers
Axles/Suspension/Steering: Dana 60 (front), Dana 80 w/Detroit Truetrac locker (rear), 4.10 ring and pinion, factory front and rear ’97 Dodge 3500 suspension with Pro Comp shocks (rear)