As a restorer of vintage drag race cars (mostly altered wheelbase) at his shop, Pit Pass Restorations, Dan Fuller is indeed a "gearhead." But simply being a gearhead doesn't automatically classify you as a classic truck builder extraordinaire. Anyone who has ever built an early F-100 from the ground up will attest to the fact that it's no walk in the park. Dan, however, has pulled the feat off...twice.
Back in the early '80s, Dan built his first '56 Ford truck. Since then, he's always had an affinity for the F-100s. Unfortunately, it would take another two decades before his dream would manifest into reality. Despite his previous experience, the second time around proved to be quite a bit more challenging. Of course, this could have a lot to do with the fact that Dan literally started with a pile of parts rather than a complete truck. Actually, it all started with a rusted and tired frame that he'd snagged from a junkyard north of his Elyria, Ohio, shop.
Instead of rehabbing the stock F-100 frame, Dan simply used it for reference. With the stock specs at his side, he built a completely new foundation from 2x6 rectangular tubing, and in doing so, incorporated a '74 Corvette IRS with a stainless four-link system and coilovers. For the frontend, he pondered his options before ultimately going with a Dodge Dakota setup from Industrial Chassis. Other than the desire for a nice ride, Dan also wanted something stout enough to hold the future 392 Chrysler Hemi that was destined to go between the rails.
While the chassis had progressed rapidly, once it was complete, that was it-Dan had yet to locate the rest of his truck. That all changed when he spotted an ad for a rust-free cab in Western Pennsylvania. Though missing a door, it was just as the ad stated, so back to work he went. A month later, Dan was making plans to head down to Detroit to grab a bed and tailgate, followed by a trip to the Hershey swap meet to acquire a set of Dennis Carpenter rear fenders. For the hood, he ended up using one from a '54 F-100, which took a bit of time to get straight and smooth. Nonetheless, that was another item finished and out of the way. All of this was enough to keep him busy throughout the winter months.
Once spring had finally arrived, Dan was headed to Tennessee for the F-100 Supernationals-not to find parts, but, rather, to find an inspiration for paint color. One color choice changed to the next, until finally he started looking through paint chip color charts from 1956. The final choice? Meadow Mist Green (Code G). With the solid black walnut bed floor (thanks to Larry Taylor) and brilliant brightwork, the color is the perfect choice for the pickup.
That Hemi mentioned, well it's no joke. Dan took a '58 Chrysler block, had Jim Wright at Motor Heads perform the necessary machinework, then personally completed it with CAT H-beam rods, Keith Black pistons, Isky cam, and Chrysler iron heads. To properly complete the race-influenced mill, it was topped with Weiand intake and a GMC 6-71 blower, courtesy Chuck Finders. A GM Turbo 350 with a TCI Street Fighter converter (by Jeff Gulley) connects the 700hp engine to the 3.55-geared Vette rear.
With the minor exceptions noted above (as well as metal polishing by Arden Kyer and machining by nephew Tom Prechtel), Dan built this entire truck with his own hands, in two years no less. The one area most do-it-yourselfers have farmed out-the interior-he did himself, as well. Using a '90 GMC truck seat and RodDoors door panel bases, he stitched and covered everything in sand-colored vinyl, further complementing the exterior color. The cab was finished up with Classic Instruments gauges, a Lecarra banjo wheel, and a full Pioneer sound system.