Dentside? Some of you may question if it's a good thing to have a Dentside or not. If someone besides Ford put the dent in the side of your F-100, then it's probably a bad thing, but if you have a '73-79 Ford F-100, then it's a good thing. See, as opposed to the '67-72 Bumpside F-100s with a raised "bump" going down each side of the truck, the '73-79 F-100s have a horizontal "dent" on both sides straight from the factory.
Arvel Gatewood was happy to have a Dentside again. He owned a '78 Flareside-a Stepside to you Chevy guys and gals-back in the '80s and never had the chance to build it the way he wanted to before letting it go. So back in '03 at the age of 63, Arvel found a '79 F-100 with a Flareside bed and figured it was now or never.
It was a rough beginning for Arvel and the '79 after having to sort out some "questionable" paperwork he received from the seller for the non-running Ford, but once he got the title in his name, the game was on. Originally, the plan was to drop a stock 351 crate motor in the truck, but Arvel soon heard about a good deal on a complete '01 Ford Triton V-8 motor and matching automatic tranny from an F-150. He bought the late-model drivetrain even though the seller warned him it was gonna take quite a bit of work to put it in the old F-100.
Arvel soon found that the stock twin I-beam suspension was making it difficult to drop in the SOHC motor, and he was urged to buy an IFS kit from Jim Meyer Racing to update the suspension and make more room for the new engine. Even though Arvel is a competent and handy fellow, he looked to Richard and Nick Stromer for a hand welding in the new front suspension because he didn't want to take any chances with his own or his passenger's safety. Along with the Jim Meyer setup came rack-and-pinion steering, GM 12-inch disc brakes, and QA-1 coilovers to put the front of the truck in the right direction.
Under the F-100's rear, Arvel C-notched the frame and flipped the 9-inch rearend on top of the stock leaf springs to get the proper stance. He then added the always-cool polished Ansen Sprint wheels that fit perfectly with the truck's era, but in 17-inch versions, which helps the '79 bridge any generation gaps.
Arvel totally disassembled the truck in his driveway with a hand from his neighbor to get it ready for paint. Once the Ford was apart, Arvel painstakingly sandblasted the frame at home with his small compressor, followed by coating it with black POR-15 paint. The next step was to haul everything to Anderson Auto Body and Restoration in Sonora, California to finish the body- and paintwork, which included shaving any unnecessary badges and emblems as well as welding up many factory seams to smooth the body lines out even further. For its final coat, Arvel picked out a glowing single-stage PPG Concept color known as Chrome Yellow to cover all the perfected sheetmetal. During this time a deal was made with Carl, the owner of the paint shop, to use one of their bays to reassemble the '79, and he and Arvel wound up becoming close friends as a result.
For interior work, the Ford went to Castillo Auto Upholstery in the nearby Northern California city of Modesto. They covered the '01 Ford bench seat in a textured black cloth and added the yellow piping to match the exterior. Castillo also built the custom two-piece tonneau cover that keeps the MAR-K bed wood out of the elements. Arvel added the Flaming River column and Doc's Kustom gauge panel to the almost-stock interior that retains the factory air-conditioning layout.
Even though the project was nearing its end, Arvel and the '79 weren't out of the woods yet. The wiring for the engine and transmission proved to be a big stumbling block. Luckily, Arvel hooked up with Scotty at The Detail Zone in Delaware, who specializes in late-model fuel-injection wiring. With parts and help from The Detail Zone, the Dentside was finally able to move under its own power.
Arvel knew that once he got the Ford modular motor running it'd be reliable and powerful, not to mention better on gas than an old 351 pushrod motor, and he was right! Arvel and his wife, Jean, have driven their F-100 all over the state in the last year since it was finished, including numerous trips to the Oxnard area to visit their daughter, which is where we met up with them for the photo shoot this summer. Keep on truckin'!
|Facts & Figures|
|1979 Ford F-100|
|FRAME:|| stock |
|MODIFICATIONS:|| rear C-notch |
|REAREND / RATIO:|| Ford 9” / 3.25:1 |
|REAR SUSPENSION:|| stock, flipped |
|REAR BRAKES:|| stock drum |
|FRONT SUSPENSION:|| Jim Meyer Racing IFS |
|FRONT BRAKES:|| GM 12” disc |
|STEERING BOX:|| rack-and-pinion |
|FRONT WHEELS:|| Ansen Sprint, 17x7 |
|REAR WHEELS:|| Ansen Sprint, 17x8 |
|FRONT TIRES:|| Goodyear, 245/45R17 |
|REAR TIRES:|| Goodyear, 255/55R17 |
|GAS TANK:|| No Limit aluminum |
|ENGINE:|| '01 Ford 5.4L Triton V-8 |
|HEADS:|| stock SOHC |
|VALVE COVERS:|| stock |
|MANIFOLD / INDUCTION:|| stock / stock EFI |
|IGNITION:|| stock |
|HEADERS:|| stock manifolds |
|EXHAUST / MUFFLERS:|| stock '01 Ford spec |
|TRANSMISSION:|| '01 Ford 4R100 |
|STYLE:|| F-100 |
|FENDERS FRONT / REAR:|| stock steel |
|HOOD:|| stock |
|GRILLE:|| stock |
|BED:|| stock |
|BED WOOD:|| MAR-K |
|BODYWORK AND PAINT BY:|| Anderson Auto Body & Restoration, Sonora, CA |
|PAINT TYPE / COLOR:|| PPG Concept / Chrome Yellow |
|HEADLIGHTS / TAILLIGHTS:|| stock / '50 Pontiac |
|BUMPERS:|| stock front / rear roll pan |
|GAUGES:|| Dolphin |
|INSERT:|| Doc's Kustom |
|AIR CONDITIONING:|| stock |
|STEERING WHEEL:|| grant |
|STEERING COLUMN:|| Flaming River |
|SEAT:|| modified '01 Ford F-150 |
|UPHOLSTERY BY:|| Castillo Auto Upholstery |
|MATERIAL / COLOR:|| cloth / black w/yellow piping |
|CARPET:|| black |