Mickey's Mouse, 1929 Ford Pickup, Fuel Curve

Mickey’s Mouse – 1929 Model A Pickup comes Full Circle

Mickey’s Mouse, a 1929 Model A Pickup was Mickey Himsl’s high school hot rod statement. Finished during his senior year (1962) at Concord High School, it was metallic green with custom striping by his famous brother Art, raked just right with a padded top, flathead power and thin white stripe tires on Chrome Reverse wheels. He took the ugly out of these cute little pickups nicknamed “phone booths” due to their sky-reaching cabs. It was an iconic east Bay Area hot rod.

Mickey Himsl's 1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel Curve

That shiny chrome instrument on the dash was not used to measure RPM or any other vital signs. It was actually a wind-up clock. Mickey’s high school sweetheart Joy (who eventually became his wife of 30-plus years) had a strict father who demanded she be home at a certain hour. Mickey’s simple approach saved him several tongue lashings.

Originally, the truck was a hand-me-down from his brother Art who became a familiar name in custom car circles for his elaborate paint jobs and pin striping. Mickey was 15 at the time he started to hot rod the pickup and even pulled a ’59 AV8 along with a ’39 Ford transmission out of a junkyard for a mere $15!Mickey Himsl's 1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel CurveMickey Himsl's 1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel Curve

After high school Mickey sold the truck to begin working on another project – a ’26 T he would eventually build into the “Moonshiner” – a 1963 Rod & Custom cover car. Another east bay acquaintance ended up with Mickey’s Mouse and before moving to Reno the guy asked Mickey if he wanted his truck back “For Free!” Mickey didn’t have room to house the ‘Mouse so it disappeared into the abyss.

1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel Curve

Here’s where some magic happened. Mickey and Art have been fixtures in Bay Area hot rodding for nearly six-decades and one of their favorite events is the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton each August. At the 2009 show, Mickey took a walk about the swap meet and as he was walking the cars-for-sale corral, he spotted a ’29 Phone Booth. Low and behold, it was the original Mickey’s Mouse still green with the original pin striping intact. All of the body panels were there except for the front fenders. Mickey swooped it up for $1,500. The ‘Mouse was about to scurry back to life.

Mickey Himsl's 1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel Curve

Enter Brandon Flanner, grandson of Concord hot rod legend Bob Flaner. Flaner was making a name for himself in vintage hot rod recreation through his shop East Bay Speed & Custom and was just the man to recreate Mickey’s Mouse to full 60s show glory. Known for his paintwork, Flaner got a chance to team with a childhood hero, Art Himsl on the new coats of metallic green. Art handled the pinstriping just as he had 53 years earlier.

Mickey Himsl's 1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel Curve

Next was the chassis which was an original ’29 frame smoothed and modified by Flaner and his team. They installed a ’40 Ford banjo rearend painted white with green striping while a So-Cal Speed Shop 4” dropped I-beam axle, a chromed and reversed Model A spring, split wishbones and chromed Pro Shocks shore up the front. The steel wheels are 1950 Ford and the chrome centers are ’50 Mercury for that perfect vintage feel.

Mickey Himsl's 1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel CurveUnder the striped and louvered hood is a fully dressed ’48 Ford 59AB flathead painted and polished to perfection while inside the cab is seashell white Naugahyde upholstery. About that chromed wind up clock? Mickey had it stashed away in a sock drawer for over 50 years so naturally it took its rightful place atop the dash.

The entire rebuild was a six-month process with the 2016 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona the deadline. The GNRS was Northern California’s premier rod show and was held in Oakland from 1950-2004 before moving to Fairplex in Pomona, CA. Mickey’s connection to the show ran all the way back to his childhood so it was a natural place for the rebirth of the ‘Mouse.1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel Curve

The team got it together just in the nick of time and headed 400 miles south to show the world one of the Bay Area’s most prized hot rod heirlooms. It was a huge hit as you might imagine.

Mickey still drives the truck and has had it to Pleasanton for Goodguys events. He and Flaner nailed the resto in every way imaginable. Yes, it’s much safer and way better than the original but looks like it drove right out of the 60s.Mickey Himsl's 1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel Curve1929 Model A Pickup, Fuel Curve

Reborn and righteous, Mickey’s Mouse once again has a starring role.

Photography courtesy of The Rodder’s Journal and Himsl archives