Back in the shifting agricultural industry of the mid-'60s, Denny Rodgers' father sold his struggling dairy along with part of the main farm to start a small automotive salvage yard on what land was left. This went well for about 10 years until his father passed away in '76, when Denny's mom decided to sell all the vehicles in the yard to a man with a crushing operation for $35 each, knowing she wouldn't be able to run the yard. Denny figured he'd better get while the getting was good, so he found a ragged old '50 F-1 in the yard, gave his mom the money, and a few days later more than 130 vehicles were crushed for scrap.
To get the Ford on the road, Denny swapped the stock Flathead V-8 for a six-cylinder he saved from an F-2, built a wood flatbed, patched the fenders, and spray painted the truck black. The Ford worked hard for a while hauling dirt, blocks, or whatever else Denny was up to, but it proved to be unreliable in the end, so he parked it in '78 with plans to fix it up "someday."
A year passed and the Ford just sat waiting, and Denny thought he'd better at least try to start it periodically, so using his brand-new Mustang, he pulled around to his backyard to give the truck a jump to see if it'd run. Maybe it was jealous or mad, but somehow he caught the door of the three-month-old Mustang on the F-1's bumper and ripped the door off! Needless to say, he didn't start the F-1 that day. Luck would elude Denny for a few more years, especially when the glass company he worked for in Prosperity, Pennsylvania, shut down and he lost his job-the irony. Work was hard to find, and soon he offered the truck to his neighbor for $500, who bought it and added insult to injury by quickly selling it for a profit at an auction while keeping all the spare parts and the parts truck he got from Denny!
Fast-forward to better times; in '90 Denny and his son were headed into town one day when they saw a '50 Ford truck that looked suspiciously like his old one for sale on the side of the road. Indeed, it turned out to be his old truck, but Denny thought the asking price was too high and figured they just weren't meant to be together. Luckily for Denny, his wife Linda thought differently. Knowing what the Ford meant to her husband, she went back with her brother to buy it. Talk about a surprise! He would even buy back the other parts truck from the neighbor after all this time, but it was still going to be another 10 years before Denny would get serious about the truck.
In '03, Denny was doing well working for a construction company that had quite a large shop with some extra space that was lent to him complete with tools to work on the F-1, which proved to be the catalyst to set the project in motion. Now, part of the truck's junkyard pedigree included plenty of rusted-out sheetmetal, and what was there waved like a passing parade. Denny didn't have much bodywork or welding experience, and it was do or die time, so he read everything he could get his hands on for tips, talked to anyone he could find who was versed in these areas, and finally jumped in and gave it his all after restoring the chassis back to stock. He banged, sanded, hammered, dollied, ground, and welded on the less-than-desirable old tin for months until it resembled a truck again. He also found a decent steel '47 bed box to replace his, so he changed the rear fender mounts to hang his later fiberglass fenders.
After successfully completing all the bodywork and feeling more confident, little did Denny know he was about to jump from the frying pan and into the fire when he decided to tackle the painting chores as well. He had painted some of the construction equipment for the company, but he didn't have much automotive base/clear paint experience, to say the least, but he thought, "What the heck?"
He bought some Martin Senour Crossfire Volvo white paint and an HVLP gun and gave it the old college try, but since the shop was heated with kerosene and quite dirty, it proved to be an uphill battle that netted painting everything an average of three times to get it right, followed by learning how to color-sand and buff each piece. Being as determined as he is, Denny even learned how to restore all the stainless trim on the F-1 thanks to the TV show My Classic Car! To round out the F-1's newfound glory, it now rides on steel 15-inch Gennie wheels and BFGoodrich Silvertown whitewalls from Coker Tire dressed up further with beauty rings and '42 Ford-style hubcaps Denny picked because he prefers the earlier script logo.
Inside the cab, Archie's of Avella, Pennsylvania, recovered the stock bench seat, and Denny handled the rest of the chores with a headliner and interior kit and a weatherstrip kit from Dennis Carpenter. The tunes come from the fresh stock-spec 239-cubic-inch 8BA Flathead V-8 that was rebuilt by Smith's NAPA in Washington, Pennsylvania. Denny painted and detailed the motor along with rebuilding the Holley 94 carb, fuel pump, water pumps, and transmission.
The last 30 years of Denny's life had its share of ups and downs, but it seems he's on the right track now, and to keep things in order he takes the F-1 out regularly and just drives with no particular destination-he sees it as therapy for both the truck and himself. Just what the doctor ordered!
|Facts & Figures|
|1950 Ford F-1|
|Rearend / Ratio: ||stock / 3.92:1|
|Rear suspension: ||stock parallel leaf|
|Rear brakes: ||stock drum|
|Front suspension: ||stock I-beam axle|
|Front brakes: ||stock drum|
|Steering box: ||stock|
|Front wheels: ||Gennie steel, 15x5|
|Rear wheels: ||Gennie steel, 15x8|
|Front tires: ||BFGoodrich Silvertown,215/70R15 WW|
|Rear tires: ||BFGoodrich Silvertown,255/70R15 WW|
|Gas tank: ||stock|
|Engine: ||Ford 8BA 239ci V-8|
|Heads: ||stock iron|
|Valve Covers: ||none|
|Manifold / Induction: ||stock / Holley 94 2-bbl|
|Ignition: ||stock, points-type|
|Headers: ||stock manifolds|
|Exhaust / Mufflers: ||custom 2" dual / glasspacks|
|Transmission: ||Ford 3-speed|
|Modifications: ||rebuilt by owner|
|Style: ||F-1 truck|
|Fenders front / rear: ||stock steel / fiberglass|
|Grille: ||stock, painted|
|Bed: ||'47 Ford|
|Bed wood: ||white oak|
|Bodywork and paint by: ||owner|
|Paint type / Color: ||Martin Senour / Crossfire Volvo white|
|Headlights / Taillights: ||stock|
|Air conditioning: ||none|
|Steering wheel: ||stock|
|Steering column: ||stock|
|Seats: ||stock bench |
|Upholstery by: ||Archie's and owner|
|Material / Color: ||vinyl, cloth, cardboard / gray, black|