Back in 1971, Rafael Gonzales was but a glimmer in his father's eye. That year he purchased a '51 Ford F-1 for the overwhelming price of $300. The following year Rafael was welcomed into the world, and from that point on his father told everyone that one day the truck would be his. While it got so far as being painted orange and outfitted with black diamond-tuck upholstery, the F-1 would soon find itself amidst a quite lengthy hibernation stint in the Gonzales garage, rarely, if ever, seeing the light of day for nearly two decades.
Upon his 18th birthday, Rafael was finally handed the keys to the '51. However, fearing something bad might happen to the truck, he opted not to do anything to it, and so it sat-for another 10 years. It wouldn't be until after attending a car show in Las Vegas with his cousin Mark that Rafael decided once and for all it was time to do something with the F-1.
The first thing the Gonzales cousins did was take the truck completely down to the frame. With help from Gilroy Chop Shop's Eric Limones, they installed a four-link rear and a Mustang II front suspension, each with Air Ride Technologies airbags. Apparently, 28 years had been kind to the paint and upholstery, so it was left as-was and served Rafael well for a year of daily driving. Everything was going great-that is, until the day the truck was hit in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The damage seemed extensive at first, but fellow Calaveras Rods & Kustoms club member Roy Zamaripa came to the rescue and fixed the pickup lickety-split.
The turn of events may have been a blessing in disguise, as it was the beginning of the truck's next lease on life. After repairing the F-1, Rafael took it to another club member, Rich Muraoka, for new paint. This time around, the truck got a suede finish-House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl suede, to be exact. The interior's black lacquer finish was then redone in a nice contrasting white pearl. From there it was up to Jose at M&M upholstery to replace the old diamond-tuck, which he did appropriately with pearl white Naugahyde tuck 'n' roll accented with orange piping. To finish the Ford off with the right touch, traditional-style striping and lettering were laid on by Japanese pinstriper Mellow, along with radial wide whites stretched over chrome steelies with nipple caps.