A t age 15, Ventura, California, construction services contractor Jim Wachsman purchased his "first car" (actually a '49 Ford F-1 pickup) from his father for the princely sum of $250. The truck had been originally used as a work vehicle for Wachsman SR's electrical business; however, Jim had other plans.
For openers, father and son installed a `54 Oldsmobile V-8 engine and four-speed Hydramatic transmission where the tried and true Ford flathead and three-speed manual tranny had once resided. Upon completion, Wachsman Jr. re-painted the F-1 black and christened it the "Black Devil," for obvious reasons. However, after three years and one too many tickets, young Jim was forced to sell his beloved F-1 for $450. It was a decision he would regret for the next 30 years.
Now let's fast-forward to the year 1999. With a successful construction services business going (Jim's company leases port-a-johns to construction sites), Wachsman decided it was high time that he build "Black Devil II." After locating the remains of a `49 Ford F-1 pickup, Jim set aside a budget of $60,000 and launched headlong into the project.
Local chassis builder Ray Porter designed and built the F-1's 115-inch wheelbase chassis using 2x3-inch mild steel box tubing for the main `rails. To that he installed a HAL coilover, Porter four-link-suspended Ford 9-inch with 4.10:1 gears. Up front, Porter installed his home-designed unequal-length upper and lower control arms a la Mustang II, and outfitted them with a set of Heidts' Hot Rod Shop 2-inch-dropped front spindles, HAL front coilover shocks, and rack-and-pinion steering.
Powering Black Devil II is one of the 9.6:1 compression Gen-IV GM Performance Parts ZZ 502/502 deluxe crate engines set back a total of 8 inches in the chassis. Of course, one of the things that distinguishes the 505/502 engine package is a set of black wrinkle-finish Chevrolet insignia valve covers. The actual induction consists of a GM Performance Parts medium-rise aluminum intake manifold and accompanying K&N-filtered 850-cfm Holley carburetor. The exhaust system uses of a set of Doug's full-length headers dumping into a Borla-equipped, Ray Porter-fabricated system. Backing all of this up is a GM Turbo 400 equipped with a 2,500-stall torque converter.
Body man/painter Steve Friedman gets the credit for smoothing out the F-1's 60-year-old sheetmetal. In the process, Friedman and Porter tubbed the bed using 1/4-inch rolled steel for added strength. Once completed, Steve sprayed the Effie in PPG Raven Black with a clearcoat. Upon reassembly, the truck was treated to all-new Dennis Carpenter reproduction F-1 trim. A pair of vintage `49 Mercury taillights was also used in the makeover.
Inside the F-1 features your basic repro-style gray velour upholstery along with a Gennie floor shifter and a Grant banjo steering wheel. You may also notice the original Ford AM radio--it's a rare item.
"It took four years to complete this thing, and once we got past my $60,000 budget, I just stopped counting," Wachsman concluded.