We all know that it's getting harder and harder to do something different to the same old trucks. In fact, it's almost refreshing to see a bone stocker these days since many people out there might not even know what one looks like. Take the '56 Ford F-100, for instance. Most people will say that "the" Effie is the quintessential classic truck, and while it has reigned for all these decades, it seems we've seen `em all...but every once in a while, we get a surprise.
Harold Robinson is no stranger to custom cars, trucks, and hot rods. The Camden, South Carolina, resident has been at "it" for longer than many of us have been on this green earth. He has always known what he likes and has maintained a collection to prove it. Back in 2003, Harold met a younger builder at a show in Tennessee by the name of Michael Neighbors, popreitor of Michael's Rod Shop (MRS) in Franklinville, North Carolina.
The two met through mutual friends, and Michael didn't think too much about it at the time, but a few months later a friend of Harold's called the shop looking to have his '40 Ford coupe built. Michael thought maybe the '40 was going to be the guinea pig for Harold to see if the rumors of his high-quality work were true.Well, they were, and the '40 turned out great. Subsequently
Harold told Michael that he wanted him to build something for him someday, but you small business owners know how that goes. A few more years passed, and finally in '06 Harold rang the shop,saying he'd just bought a '56 F-100 and was ready to start. The carcass of a big-window Ford was soon dropped off.Harold gave a description of what he wanted and to just send the bill when it was done--that's it. He basically handed the full reigns over to MRS, with the exception of the interior colors.
Once Michael had a plan together he called up Fatman Fabrication and ordered a custom chassis for it. The underpinnings start with a Mustang II frontend ,which was moved forward 3 inches. Dropped and smoothed spindles, Air Ride Technologies ShockWaves, big Wilwood 13-inch disc brakes, and a chrome rack-and-pinion unit all inhabit the front section of the custom frame. Of course there had to be a Ford 9-inch rearend under the bed, and that was stuffed with 31-spline axles and a 3.70:1 Posi third-member. Anchoring the rear is an all-chrome Fatman four-link setup that also incorporates a pair of ShockWaves controlled by the company's RideProE system. The rearend was also moved forward and the overall truck shortened 3 inches to tighten up the profile of the otherwise lanky '56.
The outside of the truck was a bit of a trick since there literally wasn't much there to start with, but MRS got busy rounding up missing pieces. A new bed box was ordered from Dan Carpenter and done so with 3 inches out of it to match the chassis. The rear fenders would wind up having metal added to them to make them taller to fit the 20-inch Budnik wheels and BFGoodrich rubber. But they also needed the wheel openings altered to match the new wheelbase along with a few more nips and tucks. The front fenders would follow suit by having their openings moved way forward as well so everything jived with a sharp pair of eyes. The roof and hood were both pie-cut for proportion, which is no simple task, but a must at this point.
Between the custom inner fender panels, a GMPP 454 Chevy crate engine was selected for tire smoking duties. The 425-horse powerhouse bangs through gears in the 700-R4 that's controlled by the shifter from an '07 F-150. MRS made a set of custom valve covers to help set the Rat motor apart while a chrome Billet Specialties TruTrac serpentine drive system hangs out front. A custom 2 1/2-inch stainless exhaust system connects to a pair of stainless MagnaFlow mufflers before dumping under the bed.
"What color or colors to paint the truck might have been one of the hardest aspects of the build," Michael said. They wanted the paint to add to the truck as a whole while not taking away from any single part of it either--which is a tightrope act! In the end, an elegant combination of PPG Galapagos Green and Olive Silver, which are broken up at the beltline by orange stripping.
This all blended in perfectly with the interior that was expertly stitched up by Hot Rod Interiors by Chuck in Morresville, North Carolina. The two crafted the seats before covering them and the rest of the interior including the flooring in green leather--yes the carpet is leather! MRS made the all-steel waterfall center console that divides the seats, and gives home to the F-150 shifter, A/C vents, and Vintage Air control panel. MRS also ditched the stock dash in favor of something of their design. The seemingly ultra-simple dash they crafted now holds the gauge pod from an '06 Nissan Altima that Classic Instruments filled with custom gauges. An ididit tilt column was molded to the bottom of the dash and crowned with a polished Budnik Gasser wheel that leads your eyes down to the Clayton Machine Works pedals. Looking out the big back window there is a bed filled with exotic South African Lace wood that's separated by custom chrome strips.
At the end of the road, Michael called Harold to let him know the truck was ready and they were nervously preparing the bill--which was happily paid once Harold saw the truck. He put a great deal of trust in Michael and MRS and it looks like he got what he wanted--and more. In fact, since we first saw the truck at its debut at the F-100 Supernationals last summer, and had a chance to shoot it at the Goodguys show in Columbus, it won the well deserved Goodguys Truck Of The Year-Late. Congratulations to everyone involved.
|Facts & Figures|
|Camden, South Carolina|
|1956 Ford F-100|
|FRAME: ||custom, Fatman Fabrications |
|MODIFICATIONS: || shortened, altered wheelbase |
|REAREND / RATIO: || Ford 9" / 3.70:1 |
|REAR SUSPENSION: ||Fatman four-link, ShockWaves |
|REAR BRAKES: ||Wilwood 13" disc |
|FRONT SUSPENSION: || Fatman IFS, ShockWaves |
|FRONT BRAKES: || Wilwood 13" disc |
|STEERING BOX: ||rack-and-pinion |
|FRONT WHEELS: ||Budnik GTX, 20x8.5 |
|REAR WHEELS: ||Budnik GTX, 20x10 |
|FRONT TIRES || BFGoodrich, 255/35R20 |
|REAR TIRES: ||BFGoodrich, 295/40R20 |
| GAS TANK: ||stock |
|ENGINE: || GMPP 454ci/425hp |
|HEADS: ||stock |
|VALVE COVERS: || custom, MRS, Franklinville, NC |
|MANIFOLD / INDUCTION: ||stock, chrome / Demon 750cfm |
|IGNITION: ||HEI |
|ACCESSORIES: ||Billet Specialties TruTrac |
|EXHAUST / MUFFLERS: || 2 1/2" stainless / MagnaFlow |
|TRANSMISSION: ||700-R4 |
|STYLE: || F-100 big-window |
|MODIFICATIONS: || pie-cut roof, custom inner fenders, custom running boards, altered wheel openings, and narrowed fender lips by MRS |
|FENDERS FRONT / REAR: ||modified stock |
|HOOD: ||stock, pie cut |
|GRILLE: ||stock |
|BED: ||custom, Dan Carpenter |
|BODYWORK BY: ||MRS |
|PAINT BY: ||MRS |
|PAINT TYPE / COLOR: ||PPG / Galapagos Green, Olive Silver |
|HEADLIGHTS / TAILLIGHTS: ||halogen / Lokar |
|BUMPERS: || custom, MRS |
|GAUGES: ||'06 Nissan Altima |
|DASH: ||custom, MRS |
|AIR CONDITIONING: || Vintage Air |
|STEERING WHEEL: ||Budnik Gasser |
|STEERING COLUMN: ||ididit tilt |
|SHIFTER: ||'07 F-150 |
|UPHOLSTERY BY: || Hot Rod Interiors by Chuck, Mooresville, North Carolina |
|SEAT: ||Hot Rod Interiors by Chuck |
|MATERIAL / COLOR: || leather / green |
|CONSOLE: ||custom, MRS |
|PEDALS: ||Clayton Machine Works |
| CARPET: ||leather |