You know, when a dyed-in-the-wool Chevy guy like myself can attest to the fact that the '56 Ford F-100 is probably the epitome of a classic truck, well, I think that really says something. It's not just because the first thing I ever drew with wheels on it happened to be a '56, either. Nope, it's just the plain and simple reality that Ford's second stab at the new F-100 line was a home run.
They designed a classic that will forever share space in the annals of American automotive history alongside the '57 Bel Air, the '64-1/2 Mustang, and the '74 AMC Pacer...OK, scratch that last one. Why else, then, would the first available aftermarket truck be this particular model? Why would builders such as Bobco devote their lives to perfecting a legendary FoMoCo vehicle? And why would the hobby be making such a big deal about its 50th anniversary? They're sure not doing it for the '56 Chevy!
Speaking of Bobco, who's built, rebuilt, and, more importantly, owned more '56 F-100s than anyone cares to guess, it should come as no surprise that this particular gem, Bernie Weber's Effie, is a product of his shop's polished talent. There are key elements to making a truck look, sit, and perform like it should in today's world-Bobco has them tattooed on the insides of his eyelids (though he's done his little tricks of the trade so many times he doesn't need any references). Sure, plenty others can build a solid, good-looking '56; few do with the same continued ease and flawlessness. Which is exactly why, when he decided to have someone else put his pickup back together, Bernie didn't have to think twice about who to call. Problem was, he didn't know how to get ahold of Bobco-he wasn't listed, and nobody had any idea how to contact him short of getting in a car and driving to Southern California. Eventually the two met, and from there it was a downhill ride the entire way.
This truck had been in Bernie's possession for quite some time-about 12 years, to be exact. He'd come upon it at a local cruise night in Scottsdale, Arizona, but initially had no intent of going the distance he eventually would with it. Actually, one of the first things he did was remove the pinstriping with Easy-Off. Soon enough, though, the '56 was in pieces and on its way to a builder in Idaho-but no sooner than that they were back in a trailer and on their way to Lake Elsinore, California.
Bernie, a Tempe, Arizona, resident, had full say in the direction of the build. The truck had already been equipped with a Volare subframe and a later-model V-8, and Bobco gave him the option to stick with and rebuild them. He also gave the option of going with a completely new Walton Fabrication chassis and a brand-new Ford small-block 351W from Ford Racing & Performance. Despite what you may believe, the builder didn't dictate what direction the project would take; however, the owner just happened to make the right calls! In a little over a year the truck was transformed into a Weber family heirloom. You see, when asked if he'd ever consider selling the truck, Bernie replied, "Never. However, there are 16 grandchildren of mine, all of whom will probably be fighting for it when the time comes!"