Classic 1951 Ford ‘Straight Jacket Express’ (Video)
This unusual Ford hot rod has a very crazy and interesting backstory.
It’s rare to find a custom car or truck that has a backstory that’s almost more interesting than the finished product. Most customs are made from readily available, fairly tame vehicles that are transformed from boring to jaw-dropping.
This 1951 Ford F2 is a little different, though.
Shortly after it was manufactured as a chassis and cab, it was sent to Stewart Truck in Brooklyn, New York. There, they added their Safetywagon bus body on to it. The Safetywagon body was little more than an armored car body, Stewart Truck’s specialty, with windows added. After that, it spent its life at an insane asylum in New Mexico!
In this video from ScottyDTV, you can see that it still wears the patina of its time spent transporting the mentally ill, but now it has a second life as an unusual hot rod. It’s slammed low to the ground on massive 20″ steel disc wheels with, according to the owner, “the biggest airbags we could find.”
The sheer weight of the Safetywagon mean that the rest of the air bag suspension system had to be similarly beefy. The compressor is something you’d find on an eighteen wheeler. The powerplant is equally serious: A 12-valve Cummins turbo diesel. It’s apparently good for 500 to 600 horsepower, meaning this thing can haul a lot more than patients these days.
It’s a shame the passengers in this truck’s first life couldn’t appreciate the modern amenities added to the ‘Straight Jacket Express,’ as the builder dubbed it. We think that dual-zone air conditioning and DVD players would make trips to the hospital a lot more pleasant. All aboard!