It all starts with that innocent little tug of the thread and before you know it, the whole thing's come undone and you're in it pretty deep. This could be the opener for all types of stories and sounds kinda heavy, but in this case it was a good thing.

Ben Coltrane always had an affinity for the mid-century Ford trucks-the '55 model F-100 to be exact. This crush turned into casually looking for a possible project truck, and from there Ben went on a search for "countless" days, looking for just the right one. Finally, a friend tipped him off about an elderly lady who lived near by and owned what appeared to be a good candidate. Ben pursued it and found out the woman was using the truck for hauling scrap metal. She told him that she bought it from the Georgia Department of Transportation and had just used it for her "chores." A deal was struck and Ben gave her the $500 the asking price and drove it home.

Well, Billy Coltrane, Ben's Father was just as excited as he was about the latest addition to the family, and they made short work of checking the '55 inside and out. It looked as though it had been painted four times over, so the first order of business was to get to the bottom of it and have everything stripped. The results were good. All the layers of paint had preserved much of the truck. Its long work history had, however, taken its toll on the bed, which was deemed unusable. Ben knew he was going to save a bit of money by performing most of the work himself, so he had some money set aside to buy the parts he needed. As luck would have it, he saw an ad in the local paper from a man in town who had been building a '55 for the last 10 years, and had decided to thin his crop of extra parts. Out of it came a gas tank, transmission, a nice bed, and the front and rear suspension.

The Coltranes set up the chassis by fitting the '76 AMC Pacer IFS setup, complete with crossmember, which went in easily to their surprise. Next, they moved rearward and hung an 8-inch rear end from a '70 Falcon using new Gibbon leafs. Upon pre-assembly, they found the width of the 8-inch was a little off, but fixed the problem with the 17x8 Boyd Coddington Nemesis wheels.

The exterior of the truck was left fairly stock, with the exception of a '50 Ford tailgate, and welding up the hole for the gas filler due to relocating the gas tank under the Dennis Carpenter bed using a No Limit aluminum tank that was covered up by new oak slats in the bed.

With the bugs worked out, Ben and his father went to work massaging the rest of the body and prepping for the PPG Inferno Red Pearl that was laid down by the elder Coltrane.

So began the reassembly process with machining and assembling the '68 SB Ford 302 and a Performance Automatic-built C4. They stuffed the motor with 10:1 TRW flat-tops, a COMP cam, and topped it off with a 625-cfm Carter that flows through the Power Plus HPS-polished intake. Full-length Hedman headers were selected and installed along with a custom 2 1/2-inch exhaust system complete with DynoMax UltraFlo mufflers.

The guys decided to sit one out and take the truck to Sanford and Debbie Fountain of Ellijay, Georgia, for the interior. They covered the '00 Suburban 60/40 seat in a light tan leather, along with the door panels and custom console to match. On the floor, they put down a nice oyster-colored carpet. All of this compliments the Ford Racing gauges, Billet Specialties wheel/ shifter combo, and the controls for the Danhard A/C unit.

After all of that, it was hard for Ben and Billy to believe their work was done. No more long nights out in the garage. They could go back to their families and enjoy the fruits of their labor. The first show the F-100 was driven to, they won the award for Best Ford, much to their delight. Since then, Ben takes it out every week and has even cruised to Knoxville, Tennessee for the F-100 Supernats. See you guys at the next one!

Facts & Figures

n Ben Coltrane
Jasper, Georgia
1955 Ford F-100

CHASSIS FRAME: stock
MODIFICATIONS: boxed, rails
REAREND / RATIO: 8” Ford Falcon ’70
REAR SUSPENSION: Stock w/Gibbon adjustable leaf
REAR BRAKES: Falcon drum
FRONT SUSPENSION: ’76 AMC Pacer IFS
FRONT BRAKES: Pacer disc
STEERING BOX: ’78 Chevy Malibu
FRONT WHEEL MAKE, SIZE: Coddington Nemesis, 17x8
REAR WHEEL MAKE, SIZE: Coddington Nemesis, 17x8
FRONT TIRE MAKE, SIZE: Cooper Zeon, 245/45R17
REAR TIRE MAKE, SIZE: Cooper Zeon, 245/45R17
GAS TANK: No Limit aluminum
DRIVETRAIN YEAR AND MAKE: ’68 Ford 302
HEADS: stock 289
VALVE COVERS: Ford Cobra
MANIFOLD / INDUCTION: Power Plus HPS polished / Carter 625-cfm
IGNITION: Stock
HEADERS: Headman Headers full length
EXHAUST / MUFFLERS: Custom 2 1/2” with DynoMax UltraFlo
TRANS MAKE AND MODEL: Performance Automatic C4
MODIFICATIONS: Performance Automatic 2500rpm converter
SHIFTER: Billet Specialties
BODY STYLE: ’55 Ford F-100
MODIFICATIONS: ’50 Ford tailgate, welded gas filler
FENDERS: stock
HOOD: stock
GRILLE: stock
BED: Dennis Carpenter Reproductions
BODYWORK AND PAINT BY: Ben and Billy Coltrane
PAINT TYPE / COLOR: PPG / Inferno Red Pearl
HEADLIGHTS / TAILLIGHTS: stock
OUTSIDE MIRRORS: stock
BUMPERS: stock stainless steel
INTERIOR DASHBOARD: stock
GAUGES: Ford Racing
AIR CONDITIONING: Danhard
STEREO: Pioneer
STEERING WHEEL: Billet Specialties
STEERING COLUMN: ’78 Chevy Malibu tilt
SEATS: ’00 Chevy Suburban 60/40 w/console
UPHOLSTERY BY: Sanford and Debbie Fountain
MATERIAL / COLOR: leather / light tan
CARPET: custom / oyster