We've all wanted something so bad we could taste it. But if that it isn't achieved in a relatively reasonable amount of time, that desire soon fades away--or does it? For some, it may linger inside for years and years. For Richard Walpole, that burning desire lasted nearly 50 years.
You see, even though the Arizonan has been a car buff since the late '70s, his desire to own a '56 Ford F-100 dates all the way back to that very same year when the landmark truck first rolled off the FoMoCo assembly lines. But maybe the reason it took so long to quench that desire was the simple fact that Richard didn't want an ordinary Effie. No, he had to have a one-of-a-kind truck, and for that, it would require just the right individual to accomplish the task.
As the new millennium approached, Walpole had found the right guy, Squeeg Jerger, whom he asked to not only locate, but also build him his '56 dream truck. Squeeg obliged, and with the help of his son Doug and the rest of the crew at Squeeg's Kustoms in Phoenix, they began the four-year task just a few months after Richard made his request.
The project started out with a complete chassis from Kugel Komponents in La Habra, California. Instead of parallel leaf-spring solid suspension, the truck now rides on a custom billet IRS based around a Ford 9-inch center section and a Jag-style IFS--all Kugel, all stainless, and all polished to perfection. Between the new 'rails, the owner opted for a Blue Oval-inspired mill, albeit not one of your typical origin--try a Ford Racing and Performance 514 big-block. Phoenix's Mach Development went through the engine and did everything they could--in the end squeezing 754 hp and 753 lb-ft of torque out of it. Of course, a pair of Holley Dominators atop a Mach-massaged tunnel ram and 2-inch primary headers fab'd by Chauvin Emmons and John Nickel help attain those numbers, but also make the truck a blast to drive. To transfer that power to the 4.11-geared rearend, a fully polished C6 from Arizona Performance was used. Brute performance aside, the Jerger's also strove to make the chassis as nice, if not nicer, than the exterior. One look beneath the pickup is all it takes to reveal the hours of work Squeeg's Kustoms put into the detailing of the undercarriage.
With the foundation out of the way, efforts shifted to the extensive exterior work. Starting at the front, a new bumper was hand-fab'd from sheetmetal and butted up to a custom-made pan. The stock grille has been modified and artistically replated by John Wright at Custom Chrome in Grafton, Ohio (who also plated every other piece of brightwork on the truck), and the hood was nosed, pie-sliced a little over an inch, and had its corners rounded. Of course, the top has been angle-chopped with the driprails relieved and the door corners rounded for an incredibly smooth appearance and flow. If you were wondering, those door handles are off a '68 Pontiac Gran Prix. Immediately below, the stock running boards have been narrowed exactly one rib, while the rear fenders have been slightly widened and pie'd at the rear. The bed itself has been shortened 6 inches, which was done to accommodate not only the front wheel openings being moved forward 2 inches, but also the 2-inch forward wheelbase (look how nicely the front wheels set within the opening). Finally, the rear section was completed with a handmade roll pan, smooth bedrail corners, and a strapless tailgate.
All that effort was rewarded with a signature Walpole Yellow PPG paint job by Doug, but not before being coated with (and repeatedly blocked smooth) Squeeg's Primer. A specially formulated zinc-chromate epoxy, the primer-sealer is the only of its type that won't shrink--and if a primer won't shrink in the Arizona heat, it won't shrink anywhere! Next to all the Custom Chrome plating and the polished ET-IIIs, the color choice is perfect. No matter what, the Pearl Yellow is vibrant indoors or under the afternoon sun.
The final step to making Richard's half-century-long dream become reality was the interior. Northern California (Bay Area) stitcher Tom Sewell did a fine job of updating the cab with buckskin-colored leather and ostrich from the ceiling to the floor (same material was used for carpet). Instead of using cardboard or wood, Sewell backed all the paneling with aluminum. Metalwork-wise, the dash has been extended into the doors with engine-turned inserts added. Vintage Air, ididit, Lokar, and Stewart Warner amenities can also be found within. Since its debut last year, Richard's truck was truly honored by being invited by Ford Motor Company to be an official display in its booth at the 2004 SEMA Show. And as for awards, Walpole stated, "It has already won the best, most prestigious award of all--it's won my heart and fulfilled my dream!"
|FACTS & FIGURES|
|Queens Creek, Arizona|
|1956 Ford F-100|
|Frame||Kugel Komponents, La Habra, CA |
|Rearend / Ratio||Kugel-Ford 9-inch center section / 4.11:1|
|Rear suspension||Kugel IRS|
|Front suspension||Kugel IFS|
|Steering box||power rack|
|Front, rear wheels||ET-III, 15x6/15X10|
|Front, rear tires||Hoosier|
|Gas tank||custom aluminum|
|Year and make||'03 Ford Racing 514|
|Machining / Assembly||Mach Development, Phoenix, AZ|
|Heads||ported-polished by Mach Development|
|Valve covers||polished aluminum with engine-turned inserts by Squeeg's|
|Manifold / Induction||Mach Development tunnel ram / dual Holley Dominators|
|Headers||fenderwell by Squeeg's|
|Exhaust / Mufflers||2" stainless by Chauvin Emmons, John Nickel, Phoenix, AZ / 3" Borla|
|Make and model||Ford C6|
|Modifications||Arizona Precision, Phoenix, AZ|
|Modifications||chopped top, rounded corners, narrowed running boards, '68 Gran Prix door handles|
|Fenders front / rear||wheel opening moved forward 2" / widened, pie-cut|
|Grille||stock, completely smoothed shortened 6" to match wheelbase|
|Bodywork and paint by||Squeeg's Kustoms, Phoenix|
|Paint type / Color||PPG / Walpole Yellow, Squeeg's (epoxy) Primer|
|Headlights / Taillights||stock|
|Bumpers||handmade front, rolled pan rear|
|Plating||John Wright, Custom Chrome, Grafton, OH|
|Dashboard||hand-rolled into doors|
|Gauges||Stewart Warner in engine-turned insert|
|Air conditioning||Vintage Air|
|Seats||custom by Tom Sewell|
|Upholstery by||Tom Sewell, Bay Area, CA|
|Material / Color||leather, ostrich / buckskin |