Chris Smith, a local hot rodder, hit me up this winter for an interesting photography request. Smith Bros Hardware was closing its main location and he wanted a good image of the neon logo sign that hung above the historic location. Unfortunately, this sign was purchased by a collector in Chicago so we had a small window to make it happen.
This sign means a lot to Chris due to the history surrounding the company. Chris’s grandfather was one of the founders of Smith Bros Hardware. This shoot turned rad when Chris showed me a picture of his grandfather and asked if we could recreate a similar image. Of course, I said yes!
Chris’s grandfather, Bill Smith is on the left. This image is estimated to have been taken in the late 20’s in front of the old building. I bet they were hyped to take this picture since getting into hardware delivery was probably a game changer for them! In the late 1940’s this building was torn down that and the building you currently see was built on the same plot of land. Smith Bros Hardware has been in this same location since the beginning which resides near the hustle and bustle of main street Raytown, Mo.
To recreate this image of family history, Chris brought his bagged 1946 Ford COE. Steve Smith, his dad and Chris build this COE on a 1976 1/2 ton Chevrolet truck frame. The box was sourced locally in KCK by a company that used to build delivery boxes for 40’s delivery trucks. It lays nicely with Ridetech suspension consisting of a full air bag setup and drop spindles in the front. The patina is all original which gives a unique look. Surprisingly the cab and box match nicely, given they both lived different lives before Chris and his dad started this build.
Powering the COE is a cam only 460 BBF. In a land of lsx swaps, I absolutely love that Chris kept this ford powered with the big block ford. The setup rocks some rad red LEDs to accent the engine when showing it. The BBF gets shifted by a built C6 and into a Ford 9”. Rounding out the build is some awesome stainless side exit exhaust and Rocket wheels (15x12 in the rear!). This shoot was a blast. It combined some rad automotive family history, an amazing neon sign, and a rad bagged COE (bonus points for the engine setup in the box)! Check out the rest of the set in the gallery below!