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"If you can't get to Italy for pizza, we bring Italy to you!"
By Jack Flagge
Thank you for the interest in my truck. My friend in Connecticut actually started a similar business three years ago and, being in the restaurant field, I was intrigued.
I found this 1942 1.5-ton flatbed with the 235 engine in New York in December 2007. The guy I bought it from had purchased the truck in Minnesota from the second owner (and the person who actually restored the truck). I had it shipped to Florida and began work on it two days later.
To refit the truck, we stripped the oak and racks off first, to get down to frame and cross members. I then welded 1 x 2 steel front to back to stiffen the cross members. We then welded 3/16th steel plate on that followed by sheets of stainless.
The wood-fired oven came from Italy (found it through my friend in Connecticut) and weighs 4,000 pounds. So I wanted extra support. The tires are 825 x 20 and springs, I believe, are 12 leaves with another 7 inch helper springs.
Once the oven was on the truck, we built the upper frame with 1 x 2 and 2 x 2 steel to form the roof section, which was then wrapped with aluminum. There is a 7,500 watt on-board generator, hot water heater, 40 gallon fresh water tank and 100 gallon waste tank. There is also a 12 x 10 foot electric awning, espresso machine, sink, American coffee machine, sound system, two door cooler, chest freezer, storage for the wood and storage cabinets on rear with stainless steel drawers. Here's what the "business side" looks like.
The oven is wood-fired and takes two hours to heat up to 900 degrees. Once it is, it cooks pizza in two minutes or less. Yes two minutes!
The concept is very unique because of all the things involved -- the antique truck, the wood-fired oven, the sound system -- just really cool. People love the truck. Wherever I am people beep the horn or thumbs up or whatever. They love it.
The project took me and some friends, (mostly me) about a month and a half to complete from start to finish. The truck was gone through front to back by my mechanic. We changed some seals, did a tune up, fixed the lights, etc. It runs beautifully downhill at 45 mph. Only problem living in South Florida is that there are no hills at all! So top speed is around 35 to 40. Myself (and most of the people on the road) are all in a hurry to go absolutely nowhere anyway!! So what’s the rush, right?!
Here is a shot of the truck as we were setting up at a big party recently. Week by week I get a little more work done. I purchased the truck restored, then took it apart to do the conversion. It took a couple of months and a lot of money but it came out great.
I started the business in May 2008 and I'm just getting going so keep your fingers crossed, with the economy and all. (Editor's note: Tocca ferro!) I'm new to antique trucks but I will tell you this, driving the truck puts me back in time and at 35 mph, I feel like when I get there, I get there. No rush!!!
Be sure to check our web site (I did and it made me hungry! ~ Editor) We'll keep you posted on how it all goes!
We've got Jack's truck in the Gallery, too. A few other pictures there. ~ Editor
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