World’s Most Beautiful Truck Is This Simple Yet Elegant 1940 Ford

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read

Beauty is in the flatbed of the beholder. Argue all you want about who’s truck looks the best, but yours is now officially not as nice as Greg Tidwell’s simple yet elegant 1940 Ford. The judges agreed and Tidwell has a nice trophy and dash plaque to back him up.

So then, ever shall it be.

Tidwell’s truck won the title at the first-ever Grand National Truck Show, an event put on by the same people who do the annual Grand National Roadster Show, where they pick America’s Most Beautiful Roadster.

Tidwell could even argue, if it was ever necessary, that since his title is the world’s most beautiful, and the roadster is only America’s most beautiful, that he therefore rules. That’s what I’d do if it was me.

Tidwell’s beautifully understated simple blue pickup was done by South City Rod and Custom in Hayward, California. South City is the shop of Bill Ganahl, son of rod and custom icon and journalist the late Pat Ganahl. Growing up as he did, young Bill just about had to become a hot rodder.

1940 ford pickup is world's most beautiful truckVIEW PHOTOS

Builder Bill Ganahl, winner Greg Tidwell, and Rod Show’s John Buck.

Brendan Gillogly

“Billy was raised in and around his dad’s garage, spending many weekends at California’s various drag strips where they raced nostalgia classes throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s,” according to the shop’s website.

Thus, in 2000, young Bill began his tenure at Roy Brizio Street Rods in the Bay Area, honing fabrication skills from chassis building to final assembly but focused primarily on sheet metal shaping and fabrication, the South City site says.

Bill also became the resident expert on historical restoration while under Brizio’s employ, being responsible for the accurate resurrection of the Pebble Beach class-winning Jack Calori 1936 Ford coupe, Sam Barris’ (first ever?) chopped 1949 Mercury, the two-time AMBR winning Ala Kart, and Tom McMullen’s famous ‘32 Roadster.

The Calori Coupe also won the Dean Bachelor Award at Pebble, by the way.

Ganahl had already won acclaim for another pickup, Dave Pozzi’s somewhat similar 1941 Ford pickup done in a deep red with a wooden bed. So it seemed entirely fitting that his work should win at Pomona, too.

Tidwell had already worked with Ganahl, including on a 1950 Ford Woodie delivery van.

The Tidwell pickup truck is powered by a vintage-styled 450-hp 383 stroker motor from Smedding Performance, maker of Ford and Chevy crate engines, with over 10,000 engines in 10,000 cars, trucks and SUVs right now.

Tidwell bested 17 other custom trucks in the class for the title World’s Most Beautiful Truck.

There was more to it, too.

“With custom sheet metal work throughout, the truck features a 1.5-inch chop, louvered hood and bed panels, sectioned front fenders, reshaped rear fenders and a raised bed fitted with Claro Walnut wood,” show organizers said. “The exterior is finished with a glass-like coat of Glasurit Ornament Green paint by Compani Color.”

Tidwell bested 17 other custom trucks in the class for the title World’s Most Beautiful Truck. Competitors ran the gamut from early Fords like Tidwell’s to late-model Chevys.

1940 ford pickup is world's most beautiful truck

Anybody remember this decade?

Brandan Gillogly

The show was two days of 400 pickups, vans, and SUVs, including 65 judged classes. Bob and Kent Matranga with Matranga Collection received the inaugural Truck Trend Setter Award, show organizers noted, recognizing their contributions to the custom truck hobby. Select vehicles from their collection were on display throughout the weekend, including a custom van that would scare many parents.

More than 200 trucks pulled in for the Truck-In, where owners got to display their trucks on the grounds around the two large halls of the show.

“It’s clear that people love these trucks, and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off this new show,” said Rod Shows owner John Buck. “I’m already excited for next year.”

In the meantime, keep on truckin’.

Share your thoughts on the World’s Most Beautiful Truck in the comments below.

Headshot of Mark Vaughn

Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there. This was his introduction to objective automotive criticism. He started writing for City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of a car magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided Auto should cover Formula 1, sports prototypes and touring cars—no one stopped him! From there he interviewed with Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt motor show and has been with us ever since.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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