Almost eight years ago, Steve Huntington and a friend heard about an abandoned '53 F-100 project. They checked it out and decided to go in halves on the truck, which seemed like it'd be easy to turn 'n' burn and make some cash. I don't know what it is about enthusiasm for a prospective project that turns one's eyes away from some of the things that should be scrutinized but are instead discounted amongst the excitement, but the guys soon found the '53 came with a free can of worms they hadn't noticed-a supposedly "fresh" flathead that was ultimately replaced with a 289 from another friend's disabled '67 Cougar. Soon Steve was getting deep into the F-100 both time- and moneywise, and he knew he was going to keep the Ford after all this was said and done, so he bought his partner out of the deal.
Steve works evenings at his job, which left him with the pleasant hours from midnight till 2 a.m. to work on the truck in his garage, which is where he'd spend those two hours every day for the next four years. He updated the stock chassis using a Fatman Fabrications Mustang II IFS with coilovers up front, and he built his own triangulated four-link to hold the 9-inch in place between the Dennis Carpenter rear fender. The same Cougar that relinquished its 289 gave up its C-4 trans, steering column, and gas tank, all of which Steve put to good use in the Effie. The small-block was in decent running order, and all it really needed aside from a new paint job was the 525-cfm Road Demon four-barrel Steve added along with the owner-built 2-inch stainless exhaust system that uses two Flowmaster 50 Series mufflers. During all this, Steve was underneath the truck with the grinder one night when it came down on his wrist before it stopped spinning, leaving a deep cut that required a trip to the hospital, surgery, physical therapy, and four months off to recover, but he persevered!
The bodywork threw a wrench in the works as far as a speedy build was concerned. Steve wound up replacing almost the whole bottom 6 inches of the rusted cab and doors before calling it good. He followed that up by ordering a new bedbox and wood kit from Dan Carpenter, and new stock-width steel rear fenders from Dennis Carpenter. For paint, Steve sprayed the top with blue from a '76 Chevy truck and the body with '02 Chrysler gray. In the midst of another fiasco, he had some help from Terry Getzelman, who squirted and rubbed out the bed for him in a pinch. Even though she helped all the way through the project, one notable task Steve's wife Deb took on was staining the oak bed wood. Tying the outside of the truck together are four American Racing Salt Flat wheels with "as-cast" centers wrapped in big 'n' littles.