I own a '56 F-100 that has been disassembled since 1989. It was becoming the never-ending project. Every year after the F-100 SuperNationals, I would change direction on the style of truck I wanted to build. Finally, I decided to put the '56 on hold and purchase a newer-model truck I could use as a daily driver while upgrading it.

Just as I made this decision, a friend I work with told me he had a '71 F-100 which his uncle bought new in 1971. Furthermore, he needed to sell it. Fourteen hundred dollars later, I had my daily driver. It had a six-cylinder, a three-on-the-tree, and a 10-year-old repaint that was hiding a bunch of bad bodywork. A '78 F-150 donor truck was located soon after, which was important because it was equipped with a 302, a C4, power steering, and disc brakes. Dale Etheredge Auto and Performance rebuilt the 302. It's now .040 over with shaved heads and a Wolverine cam, and it has 9.5:1 compression. The rest of the donor parts were rebuilt and installed along with a Tanks custom gas tank. The tank went under the bed, and a '72 Chevy van tilt column was shortened by Mike Chesser and installed.

My goal at first was to do a paint job without disassembling the truck any further than necessary. I estimated it would take three weeks. It turned out to be closer to three years. Once I realized that everything needed to be stripped to bare metal for a good foundation, I fully disassembled the truck. During the process, much fabricating, welding, and grinding took place. About halfway through the build, I decided to pie-cut the hood. It ended up being the last thing finished on the truck. The hood was on and off the truck at least 20 times, and 3 different latch assemblies were tried.

After having the bed media-blasted and all the seams welded, I realized that help was needed to finish the project anytime in the foreseeable future. The bed went to Daniel at Excentric Customs in McDonough, Georgia, for the finish bodywork. Excentric took care of the finish on the hood. I handled the rest of the painting at home. The cab was painted first, then the doors, bed, tailgate, and, finally, the front sheetmetal.

Now there was an end in sight. EZ wiring's 21-circuit harness was used for all the wiring, and a Vintage Air Gen II unit was installed for comfort. An '89 Ford truck seat was recovered by Gene Payne of McDonough. RodDoors supplied the rest of the interior. All new glass, rubber, three-point seat belts, and power windows were installed along with new gauges, lots of sound proofing, and a custom amp for the stereo.

In addition to safety items, such as a new suspension, disc brakes, and a third brake light in the tailgate, the complete steering system was rebuilt, and new cab and core support mounts were used. Of course, dropped front axles along with anti-sway bars improved handling, and the Torque Thrust IIs finish off the timeless, classic look of the truck. Last-minute additions were the fabrication of the core support cover and fan shroud; the air cleaner that was fabbed out of another hood; and some 16-gauge sheetmetal bent into a recessed bed cover--which gives it a nice finished look while providing storage underneath.

I have to say that taking the last three years off of the '56 was tough, but at this past F-100 SuperNationals in Knoxville, I was rewarded with the F-100 of the Year award for my year range. And believe it or not, this '71 is still my daily driver.

F a c t s & F i g u r e s
Sean and Tricia Smith
McDonough, Georgia
1971 Ford F-100

CHASSIS

Frame stock
Rearend / Ratio Ford 9" / 3.25:1
Rear suspension de-arched leaves, 2" drop shackles, 3" drop hangers
Rear brakes stock drum brakes
Front suspension 3" drop I-beams, 2" drop springs
Front brakes 12" disc from '78 F-150
Steering box power from '78 F-150
Front wheel make, size American Racing Torque Thrust II, 16x7
Rear wheel make, size American Racing Torque Thrust II, 17x8
Front tire make, size Goodyear Eagle GT II, P225/60R16
Rear tire make, size Goodyear Eagle GT II, P275/60R17
Gas tank universal by Tanks, under bed
ENGINE
Year and make '78 Ford
Displacement 302 ci
Manifold / Induction Weiand dual plane / Edelbrock 500 / K&N with hand-fabricated cover made from second hood
Headers Street & Performance 1 5/8"
Exhaust / Mufflers 2 1/4" with Flowmaster muffler
Other '85 Crown Vic dual serpentine accessory drive from with aluminum pulley covers by Ed Owens
Built by Dale Etheredge Performance, Covington, GA
TRANSMISSION
Make and model Ford C4
Modifications custom by Porter Transmission, Conyers, GA
Shifter on column
BODY
Body style / Material pickup / all steel
Modifications vertical section of drip rail removed, smooth firewall, seam over rear window fades, smooth antenna hole and passenger lock cylinder, hand-fabricated radiator cover and fan shroud
Hood pie-cut 1 1/2", Volvo latch
Grille repro, Dennis Carpenter w/original '71 inserts
Bed channeled 1" to better align with cab, all seams welded, marker light removed and body line formed in, stake pockets welded, smooth steel false floor with storage underneath, re-skinned tailgate with third brake light
Metalwork by owner
Body and paint by Excentric Customs, McDonough, GA, and owner
Paint type / Color PPG Concept / dark green
Headlights / Taillights Hella H4 / '66 F-100
Bumpers front / rear factory, rechromed / Mar-K roll pan, molded in
INTERIOR
Dashboard completely smoothed, dash pad removed
Gauges Stewart Warner Wings in billet panel
Air conditioning Gen II Mini from Vintage Air
Steering wheel LeCarra Mark 9 Double Slot
Steering column '72 Chevy van, shortened 2"
Seats '89 Ford truck bench
Material / Color tweed and vinyl / brown
Carpet brown from RodDoors
Other Door panels, headliner, rear cab cover all from RodDoors & covered to match
Upholstery by Gene Payne, McDonough, GA, and owner
Head unit Alpine CDA9805
Speakers Infinity, two INI40021, two INI60021