- A backward-mounted body turns an old Ford truck into a head scratcher for everyone who sees it driving down the road.
- The flipped conversion took former race-car driver Davey Hamilton and his dad some time to get right, and creative solutions needed to be found, but all the important parts are original.
- This classic joins the ranks of other “backward” vehicles, including one used in the movies.
Former IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton is used to going fast. But when he’s tooling around his Indiana hometown in his dramatically customized 1952 Ford pickup truck, he’s more used to going backward instead.
Well, at least giving the impression that he’s going backward. As a creative car guy who has modified a few cars in his day, Hamilton, along with his dad, came up with the idea to rotate the truck’s body around so that when he drives down the road, it looks like he’s doing everything in reverse.
Turns out, there are no rules on the books about just which end of the body needs to be pointing in which direction on a vehicle, so once Hamilton and his crew installed things like headlights, taillights and windshield wipers in the “right” places and the truck passed inspection, he was cleared to drive. And as you can see in the video above from Barcroft Cars’ Ridiculous Rides, he enjoys the attention that driving backward brings.
As for actually doing the conversion, Hamilton said that all of the body mounts had to be moved around to fit the reversal, which took some time to get right. There was plenty of room for the Chevy 350 engine in the truck’s bed (which is now covered by a piece of plywood) but he needed to install a larger radiator, since the air that came into the engine bay from holes in the tailgate—surprise—wasn’t enough to cool the engine on its own. A fuel tank in the former trunk and some leftover racing seats in the cabin, and the pickup was ready to go.
The modifications make the truck relatively easy to drive, Hamilton says, as long as he remembers to get into the “wrong” door every time. Since the seats face the front way in the cabin, there’s not a lot of room for his legs. That’s apparently a small price to pay for making sure he has a Ford unlike anything else in town.
Hamilton was not the first person to think of reversing the body on top of a powertrain and chassis. The trick has been used in movies: a stunt Subaru WRX was modified to run backward during a scene in Kingsman: The Secret Service to create the illusion that a car chase happened with the Subaru in reverse. There was also a Chevy truck owner who did the front-is-rear treatment to his early 1990s Sierra pickup. Sometimes, to go forward, you’ve got to think backward.