I had no business even thinking about building a semi-cool classic truck, what with a hot rod artist's earnings, a young family, and a mortgage...I know, "cry me a river." When all of your friends are of an automotive ilk, you find it hard to be immersed in all things hot rod and not end up building something with which to maraud the town. Even still, it was a number of years before I could get it to its current stage, and that was with trading out skills, lots and lots of sweat equity, and finding the "deals."
The truck should be close to the color stage as you read this. (Expect a tech story covering Squeeg's new line of primer/sealer and its application in the near future.) I'll be spraying a custom-mixed lime gold inside and out. This will be my first spray job (weeds don't count), and under the guidance of Squeeg's son, Doug Jerger, I think I'll do just fine. Wait a minute! I'm getting ahead of myself.
This whole thing started almost nine years ago when I fell into a '64 F-100. Actually, I've always liked the styling of the Fords but knew that dropping a similar year Chevy was cake in comparison. A "buddy deal" netted me a complete, but ragged-out, Ford. The decision was made; I'd build an F-100. It didn't take long at all to commence deconstruction. Off came the bed, front clip, and doors. Out came what was left of an interior, the engine and transmission, and any remains of exhaust. Finally, the suspension was unceremoniously yanked from the mother frame, and tossed or sold. Now I'd done it; I had laid the foundation for a bona fide project (a.k.a. mess) to work on. I was committed now, or at the very least should have been. For the next few months, I worked on the truck during the weekends, getting the front clip cut measured and welded in. Then it sat.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and along with much prodding from friends and neighbors to "get that truck going," we arrive at the next chapter of the build. Along came son number two and with that, a second job at my pal Steve Szymanski's shop, Industrial Chassis (you may remember Steve's Unibody Ford featured here last year with paint design by the author). One thing lead to another, and along with fabricating hot rod paraphernalia for other people's rides, I knew that I needed some divine intervention-alright, Steve's intervention. Steve, Mike Ray, and Ryan C. boxed in the forward half of the frame around my already existing subframe installation. Next, they fabricated a complete back-half frame section that is kicked up to get the pickup down. The stock crossmembers were tossed in favor of all new tubular pieces that consist of engine mounts and a crossmember with a drop-out trans mount. We decided one of Steve's transverse-sprung triangulated four-links would be just the ticket, and with an adjustable spring and spring perch, along with the torsion bars up front, I could set this at just about any height I wanted (as long as it was low). In went the 351 Cleveland engine I had sitting around, along with a hopped up C-6 tranny that was rebuilt by my friend Ernie at Sav-On Transmission.
Now that the chassis and drivetrain were finished, it was time to turn my attention to the body. The cab was mounted securely to the frame along with hanging the front sheetmetal in its respective position. The bed required most of the major focus. A cherry late-model Chevrolet bed floor was used as a replacement for the old one that was now removed in anticipation of the now higher framerails. Sheetmetal from a second hood was used to fabricate rear wheel housings and a roll pan that is now on the truck. An IC brake pedal and booster/master cylinder kit was installed, along with one of their column drops. A trouble-free Gennie swan neck shifter selects the gears, and an old flat-spoke, Sprint Car-style wheel steers the truck. The gas pedal is scratch-built using 1/4-inch aluminum-plate cut, welded together, and then polished. The pivot uses precision bearings from my nearest hobby shop. Homebuilt headers, a couple of Flowmasters, some wiring, and a little plumbing and I was finally, after too many years, able to fire up the ignition.