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DEVIL’S DRIVER – MURRAY DAKERS 1942 CHEVY PICKUP

After years honing his automotive skills on a variety of square jawed Falcons and a Bonneville bobber, Murray Dakers ventured over to the dark side of pre ’48 tin.  Fuelled by the aspiration of resurrecting an old channelled ’34 coupe built by Evan Isaacs before Murray was even born, the original plan derailed after Murray became increasingly seduced by images of cool pickups from the USA. Acting on his new influences and his dad’s long history with hot rods the pair sourced an appropriate body from Lance Isedale to fulfil his revised aspiration.  

After acquiring a 1942 Chevy cab the new plan was going to be a joint father and son project, that rapidly evolved onto a one-man show extending over a much longer than the anticipated period of time. Being a fitter and turner by trade certainly helped Murray to keep costs down and create a very individual take on those embedded images cruising around inside his head. Throughout the entire build Murray purposely selected an unconventional combination of parts to construct his pickup with methods he learnt along the way.

Sticking with the ’34 Ford chassis he attached a Superbell dropped axel with a pair of hairpins from Avgas Autos and a transverse spring. Underneath the Toowoomba Rod & Custom fabricated pickup bed, Jaguar parallel leaf springs locate a slippery centred Ford 9” with stock brakes. Nothing too unusual so far I hear you say, just check out that huge lump between the front rails. Forget your 350/350 Macca’s combo meal, as Murray’s tastes are a little more adventurous. Top of the menu is a big block Ford FE motor garnished with factory tri-power Holley 2bbl jugs. The high carb power plant sports a solid cam, HP heads and other OEM goodies along with Pertronix ignition. The haul ass motor is backed by a cog swapping toploader stirred with a Hurst equipped stick. 

Even though this ‘42 cab was pretty chewed up and roached out, from the initial get go this hot rod was never going down the proverbial rat hole. Murray spent considerable time replacing the lower six inches of the entire perimeter. While at it he folded up a new floor five inches higher than stock, dropping the body over the frame. Next he removed five and a half inches from the roofline and fabricated a new windscreen frame to fit. As a bonnet was never part of the original plan the firewall was smoothed and painted in contrasting white. Contributing to the delicious and unorthodox mix Murray rescued a sectioned original deuce grill shell and extended it back to its stock configuration. It now takes pride of place flanked by repro Guide headlight and ahead of the owner fabbed velocity stacks. Happy with his creation Murray then suited up and shot the pickup in Debeer’s Gold adding a mixture of 50/50 flattener to the clear. 

After enduring many years of self-motivated perseverance the home stretch beckoned and an interior was needed to complete the package. Soaking up the bumps a Vauxhall front seat was modified to suit its new quarters and covered in gold metalflake vinyl with white accents. Simple white tuck and roll door trims are almost a luxury and black carpet underfoot just makes sense. A set of Mooneyes gauges and Bell style wheel is almost upstaged by the redback shift knob. Tasteful pinstripe complements the understated interior and continues more expressively onto the bed mounted fuel tank. Icing on the cake are the Firestone crossplys, which nail the traditional look wrapped in cycle guards that pay homage to the eternally favourite 1936 Ford spare wheel covers. 

They say if you want something bad enough, somehow you will find the strength to press on. Through valued support, encouragement and help from mates and family, Murray stuck to his guns, dug deep and achieved his goal. The proof maybe in the pudding but in the case of this unusual ensemble the devil is in the detail. 

Without help accomplishment is often unreachable. Murray would like to thank his dad Richie (Jeff) for ongoing support, Peter Quinlan (trim), Warren Wilkie, Troy Fewings, Harko and Road Devils Club mates Mick and Gino for driving him all the way to finish line.

BY DALE HABERFIELD, PHOTOS MILLBROOK STUDIO, FULL FEATURE CRUZIN #164.

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