We strive to feature trucks that will inspire and impress our readership. There are those that will argue that to be included the trucks must have all the latest products offered by our advertisers or be built by a well-known shop. The truth is, none of that really matters to us. We're just looking for trucks that catch our eyes. Most of these trucks have been taken to a few professional shops, though, because as talented as some people are, it's hard to find someone that can truly do it all.
Recently, we found someone that comes as close to doing everything as we have seen. Looking at the '50 Ford on these pages, there's no question that it belongs here. But the fact that Hank Nevitt built it himself is really impressive. We have a question on our tech sheets that we give the owners to fill out that asks who helped built the truck. It's not real uncommon for someone to put "no one." But, when we take a closer look, we see that the interior, engine, etc. had been farmed out. When we saw this on Hank's tech sheet, we expected the same. After reading over it, we did in fact determine that it was a lie; he had someone else do the transmission. But we'll overlook that because he did the bodywork, paint, interior, engine machining and assembly, chassis mods, wiring, rearend assembly, etc.
Hank searched for about a year and found a lot of overpriced junk until one day, while at a junkyard, he asked the owner if he knew where he could find a '48-50 Ford pickup. Luckily, the owner did have a number for a guy that might have something. Hank called the guy and went over and found exactly what he had been searching for. It was all-original '50 F-1 with 80,000 miles that had been sitting in his garage for 11 years. The fact that it had not already been cut up sealed the deal.
Hank took the F-1 home, cleaned the rust out of the gas tank, put some new gas in it, hit the key, and it fired right up. He then proceeded to use it around his farm for the next three months and briefly thought about licensing it and driving it-but knew that he wouldn't have been satisfied. The truck was then pulled into his shop and taken apart. After it was completely disassembled, Hank went to a junkyard and bought a Camaro front subframe, tilt steering column, and an 8-inch rearend out of a Granada.
Robin, his wife, thought he was crazy when he cut the frame in two. It wasn't too long before the new clip was welded back on and the truck was rolling again. Engine and trans mounts were built to set the 351 Windsor small-block Ford and C6 trans in place. The truck was then assembled and disassembled several times while he was doing the bodywork. Once it was straight, everything came off again down to the bare frame to get it ready for paint. Up to this point, everything was going relatively smoothly until the truck was completely painted and put back together. It seems that the used engine wasn't going to cooperate and refused to fire. Hank rebuilt another 351 and then had to rely on someone else to rebuild the trans. He finished with the interior by keeping it as simple as the rest of the buildup.
Hank would be the first to admit that doing it all himself wasn't always the easiest way to go. "Every chance I had to fabricate versus buying new parts, I would do so since I had the tools. For instance, instead of paying $100 for a new dash bezel, I took a piece of aluminum and parts from my original one and made one." We can't argue with the results.