f you want it done right, you have to do it yourself." This saying has stood the test of time because, more often than not, it's true. Keith Talley found this out the hard way while trying to resurrect his '52 Ford F-1 that he's owned since 1980.
Keith got the Ford in decent, "barn find" condition as a partial trade on his 4x4/money pit. Remember, the F-1 was less than 30 years old back then, and after a good fuel flush, new battery, and some brake work, he had a good daily driver for the next 10 years. This included serving as Keith's cable TV-installation vehicle, boat hauler, "Dukes of Hazard-style jackrabbit chaser," and firewood hauler. He also drove it while courting his wife, Kim, and later taught their oldest son, Jason, how to drive in the old Ford.
After all this, the truck was literally put out to pasture for around 12 years. Life took over, but Keith swore that as soon as he built a shop, it would get the love it deserved. After all, it had become a part of the family. This is exactly what happened about five years ago. Once the shop was up, the '52 was dragged indoors and torn apart by Keith, Kim, and their other kids, Josh and Jamie, for a complete rebuild. Keith built a sandblaster out of an old water heater believe it or not, and blasted all the chassis components before coating them with PPG's flat-black epoxy paint.
Keith wasn't sure if he wanted to tackle the body and paintwork himself, so he took all the sheetmetal pieces to a highly recommended body shop where they joined the rest of the dusty and dormant "work." After putting up with so much, the F-1's skin was rescued and reworked at home in the shop. Keith wound up painting everything in its stock FoMoCo Glenmist Green with better than expected results. Upon reassembly of the truck, many calls were made and orders placed to Dennis Carpenter Reproductions, to whom Keith is thankful for. Keith also appreciates the work his dad (who masterfully cut and installed the oak bed wood) did to help out.
Knowing that the truck would still be driven often in its reborn state, a "built" V-8 flatmotor was put together by local expert and nostalgic drag racer Bud Lee, in Canton, Texas. He stuffed a requisite Merc crank in it to bump the stock 8BA 239 cubes to 255. Keith also added a Clay Smith cam, Offenhauser heads, and a matching dual intake that holds a pair of Holley 94 two-barrel carbs. To help the truck have good highway manners, a three-speed Mercury transmission with overdrive was used in conjunction with the stock steel 16x4 1/2-inch wheels and tall bias-ply tires.
One of Keith's favorite things about the truck is the expression on people's faces when they look under the hood of his "farm truck" and see a built Flathead. Most of all, the Talleys are happy to have one of their oldest family members back in action. CT