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Hidden Treasures: Rare Finds - February 2013
Drag Team Ramp Truck
What are the odds? Just a few days after photographing Bob Perkins' former Hubert Platt '69 Drag Team Mustang for this issue, I received an email from Michael Meraw in Clinton Township, Michigan. His note said, "I found one of the Ford Drag Team ramp truck haulers."
Wow, two of these ramp trucks hauled the Ford Drag team cars. I didn't know that either one had survived.
Meraw wasn't looking for this hauler, but he was familiar with it because his brother owns a former Junior Johnson NASCAR ramp truck. While researching his brother's truck in 2009, Meraw found Internet photos of two ramp trucks. One was his brother's NASCAR version; the other was a Ford Drag Team truck.
Last year during a trip to a salvage yard near Flat Rock, Michigan, Meraw noticed a ramp truck behind a fence at a storage facility across the street. It still wore its mud flaps, black with white Ford lettering. Right away, Meraw had a hunch that the odd-looking vehicle was a Ford Drag Team truck. In fact, he was still carrying his folder with the photos he had found on the Internet.
Meraw learned that Ford built two of the car haulers, modified slightly from stock, for the Ford Drag Team. The white with blue stripes truck, seen here, was for the West Coast team of Ed Terry and Dick Wood. The East Coast team of Hubert Platt and Randy Payne had the same truck but painted blue with white stripes. In other words, the paint scheme on the trucks matched the colors of their respective Drag Team Mustangs and Torinos.
Meraw says the '70 C-850 series Ford truck is a "cab over," meaning the cab is over the 534 cubic-inch gasoline V-8. Ford built the truck with a sleeper and sent it out for the installation of a bed to haul the car. A subsequent owner cut and lowered the bed, apparently for clearance.
The storage yard owner purchased the truck in the 1990s from a dirt track racer in Flat Rock. Meraw was pleased to learn that he wanted to sell it.
Meraw scraped away the red oxide primer top coat and layers of old paint with a pocketknife to reveal the original Ford blue stripes. He showed pictures to John Vermeersch, who worked with Ford's racing programs in 1969.
"Vermeersch was shocked," Meraw tells us. "After asking a few questions, he said, 'Yeah, it's the truck."
I called Perkins to tell him the news. Even though this ramp truck was for the West Coast Ford Drag Team (in all likelihood the East Coast ramp truck is lost or crushed), wouldn't it be great to see a Ford Drag Team Mustang reunited with one of these trucks? Perkins had a Kar Kraft brochure showing this very truck being modified at Car Corporation. However, Meraw's research pointed to Dearborn Steel Tubing modifying the truck. Perkins thinks possibly DST did the welding.
Meraw saved the ramp truck from an almost certain appointment with the crusher. He says the frame is rust-free, as is most of the truck, and he, or someone else, will put the vehicle back to its original configuration.