THE CAR AND ITS OWNERS
1931 Ford Model AA modified dump truck owned by Carol and Al LeGrow
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
The Model AA, built from 1927 to 1932, was a pedestrian workhorse of its day, barely noticeable on the streets. It’s the exact opposite of the LeGrows’ wild and fantastic creation, a 32-year project limited only by Al LeGrow’s considerable imagination, budget and metal fabrication skills. Two years after purchase, LeGrow decided to turn the Ford into a “street rod” pickup. “I proceeded to take it apart and sell off the parts I would not need,” he says.
“I ended up with just the cab. Down to the junkyard I went to pick up chassis parts in order to build a chassis that the cab would fit on. After completing the chassis and setting the cab on it, I realized the rear end was too close to the cab for a pickup or anything else that I knew of. A few days later, sitting at a traffic light next to me was a real dump truck. Voila! I will make a dump out of my short bed pickup. That was the start of ‘Al’s Dream.’”
HOW LONG THEY’VE OWNED IT
WHERE THEY FOUND IT
“The truck had spent its working days on a florist farm in Wantagh,” LeGrow says. The elderly woman owner offered it to him for free. On a Saturday morning, he and some friends returned with tow gear. “She said, ‘You won’t need any of that stuff. Just jump in, start her up and drive away. The papers are in the kitchen, but you will have to pay me one dollar just to keep it legal,’” according to LeGrow. “I drove it home and continued to drive it for the next two years with nary a problem.”
With help from friends and many late nights in the garage, he extended the chassis and the drive shaft, fabricated the dump body from iron, designed a lightweight steel floor and created the hardware to raise and lower the bed, open the chute and lock the tailgate. Then it was on to fabrication of running boards, fenders, hood and side panels. The 1932 Ford grille was cut down and widened, and a lower air intake was created to feed the cooling system.
He dropped a 460-cubic-inch Ford V-8 into the engine bay, and installed disc brakes up front and four drums in the rear. There’s metallic paint in a purple-maroon shade, fine pinstriping, a soft leather interior, a major-league sound system and chrome almost everywhere. The fiberglass bed cover has an original painting of M&Ms, a brainstorm that came to LeGrow as he was eating a bag.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“If you’ve got 30 years, nothing to do and a lot of money you can spare, go for it,” he advises.
A California man once offered him $2 million.
THE BOTTOM LINE
LeGrow, 87, says he gets special pleasure from showing the truck, especially to children. He was once asked to bring the Ford to a Syracuse children’s hospital and the patients were wheeled outside to marvel at his creation. “It raised the hair on my arms,” he says.