Not many of us had the sense to keep things from when we were teenagers--especially the things with wheels. Maybe it was a now-priceless muscle car, ultra-cool hot rod, custom, motorcycle, or even an old truck. But not too many people wish they'd hung onto a '67-72 F-100--except Kirk Johnson.
Now 47 years old, Kirk wanted a set of wheels in high school like any young man worth his salt, but he'd only saved about $1,000 toward the $1,800 '70 Mach 1 Mustang he wanted. This was in 1979 and Kirk's dad said he'd loan him $200 on top of what he had for a decent '68 Ford truck they'd found. It was no Mach 1, but it was the ticket to freedom for the 17 year old.
Kirk wound up being the second person to sign the title of the F-100 that was home to a sluggish 360 V-8 backed by a C6 trans. The surprisingly clean truck only had about 89K miles on it, but Kirk's dad said as soon as the 360 bit the dust, they'd replace it with a 390. Well, after an additional 300,000 miles of running every possible teenage errand, cruising downtown Sacramento each weekend, helping friends move, and just plain old driving once adulthood set in, the timing chain finally stretched beyond its limits and the truck was parked in 1986. Everyone said, "That's it; just send it to the scrapper because it'll never live again," but he wasn't ready to let go.
After five years of hibernation, Kirk had "Old Blue" painted and started looking for a buildable 428 Cobra Jet FE engine for it. A suitable core was located a while later and work began on it, but in 1996 Kirk's house burnt to the ground while he was at work. One of his neighbors happened to be home and while the fire department was on their way, he somehow got into Kirk's garage and pushed the truck out, which was on jackstands until a few days prior. The '68 wound up being the only thing saved from the fire, but it would have to wait for another time as Kirk had to rebuild the rest of his life first.
Another five years went by and Kirk started messing with the engine for the F-100 a little and noticed the practically new, but old paintjob was blistering. After a few more years of tinkering is when he finally called the fine folks at Roseville Rod & Custom. Originally--like many builds--he just wanted to freshen the Ford up and turn it into a nice driver with plenty of Ford power. In 2005, Kirk and Roseville R&C came up with a plan to do what had never been done with a '68 F-100--but not in radical terms.
Roseville R&C took the stock frame and grafted in a TCI frontend and rear four link. The rear `rails were kicked up to set the truck low on coilovers since Kirk wanted to keep that aspect of the chassis simple. Because the truck was still slated to get the 428, a stout Currie 9-inch rearend was ordered with a limited-slip 3.73:1 centersection. The frame was partially boxed after all the mods were done, then the 12-inch Wilwood disc brakes were installed at each corner. One-off billet 18- and 20-inch wheels by EVOD Industries wrapped in BFGoodrich g-Force rubber replace the Torq-Thrust IIs that were on the truck last.
This time the work that began on the Cobra Jet engine would be completed thanks to Richard Gray at Crack-A-Way Engine Machine. The FE was soon balanced and blueprinted and stuffed with forged Ross pistons, a Crower cam, and the stock crank. Edelbrock aluminum heads and intake seal off the top end and a massive 1,000cfm Holley feeds the thirsty 650-plus horsepower beast! Roseville R&C made the custom 3-inch stainless exhaust system using a set of Sanderson headers and two Stainless Specialties mufflers. A tidy Billet Specialties TruTrac serpentine belt system spins the accessories including the Vintage Air compressor. The stock C6 was rebuilt by John Segale for the severe duty soon to be handed out via the true Blue Oval powerplant.
This was the first high-end truck build for Roseville R&C, but anyone who has seen their custom work knows they leave no stone unturned and even though Kirk wanted to retain most of the stock proportions to the body, there was work to be done. Some of the requisite things like filling seams and shaving trim were done, but the door handles were left. Less obvious, but more striking when pointed out, is the back of the unchopped cab that was leaned forward to match the angle of the B-pillar. The front fenders were also pinched so the lines weren't interrupted where the hood falls into them, but this also meant the one-year-only '67 F-100 grille had to be narrowed slightly to match. Inside the Styleside bed there is a custom gas tank and inner fender panels that also double as storage compartments. The stock steel bed floor was ditched in favor of strips of maple and stainless steel. Another impressive piece is the tailgate. It has had another panel with the "FORD" logo welded in, but in a much more shallow position to match the plane of the taillights. On the backside is a trick lever system to open the functioning tailgate.
Joe Vaca and Terry Lyttge spent countless hours at Roseville R&C on the bodywork before blocking the whole truck with a 7-foot sanding block to make sure it was perfectly straight before Joe sprayed the F-100 top to bottom in PPG Silvertone Silver Metallic. Joe also added the GT F-100 stripes on the rocker panels, this and the other Mustang styling cues morph the Mach 1 Kirk couldn't afford as a kid into the truck he could and kept all these years.
The stock front bumper was cut up and mated with another one to form what we see here and the rear is a cut down piece from an old Econoline van. It was unanimous that the stock trim wasn't going to go back on the truck because it just seemed too bulky at this point, so they made some that would fit neatly on the Bumpside's bump. All the chrome was sent to Sherm's Plating in Sacramento to be gone over with a fine-tooth comb before being dipped in the shiny stuff.
Roseville heavily modified and split the stock steel dashboard to keep the feel and the Mustang theme going. A wood rim Shelby-style steering wheel from Tony Branda sits atop a painted ididit tilt column while the Lokar shifter sticks out of the custom center console. Roseville also made the wood grained gauge panel to hold a set of Auto Meter gauges. The bucket seats are from an Acura Legend and are covered in black leather along with the custom Shelby-esqe door panels. Dave Putnam in Orangeville, California, is responsible for the high-quality upholstery work.
It only took 30 years to get it right, but is it ever right! Kirk and Roseville R&C have put together what is probably the finest Bumpside built to date, which will no doubt change the mindset of what a classic truck is. (We'd like to think we played a small part with our (long over-due) Bumpside Build-Off.) The `68 will be shown the rest of the year across the country while it is still brand new, then Kirk plans on putting that FE motor to good use and he and his wife Shirley can really enjoy it. Hats off to everyone involved!
|Facts & Figures|
|1968 Ford GT F-100|
|FRAME: ||stock |
|MODIFICATIONS: ||rear kicked up 3 1/2”, by Roseville R&C |
|REAREND / RATIO: || Currie 9” / 3.73:1 posi |
|REAR SUSPENSION: ||TCI four link, coilovers |
|REAR BRAKES: || Wilwood 12” disc |
|FRONT SUSPENSION: ||TCI Mustang II |
|FRONT BRAKES: ||Wilwood 12” disc |
|STEERING BOX: ||TCI rack-and-pinion |
|FRONT WHEELS: || one-off by EVOD, 18x8 |
|REAR WHEELS: || one-off by EVOD, 20x10 |
|FRONT TIRES: ||BFGoodrich g-Force, 245/45R18 |
|REAR TIRES: ||BFGoodrich g-Force, 295/45R20 |
|GAS TANK: ||custom in bed by Roseville R&C |
|ENGINE: ||’68 Ford 428 Cobra Jet |
|MACHINE WORK: || Crack-A-Way Engine Machine |
|ASSEMBLY: || Richard Gray |
|HEADS: ||Edelbrock |
|RODS: || Crower |
|CRANK: ||stock |
|PISTONS: || Ross, 10:1 |
|CAM: ||Crower |
|VALVE COVERS: || finned Ford Motorsport |
|MANIFOLD / INDUCTION: ||Edelbrock / Holley 1000cfm |
|IGNITION: || Mallory |
|EXHAUST / MUFFLERS: ||custom 3” by Roseville R&C / Stainless Specialties |
|HEADERS: || Sanderson FE-427 |
|ACCESSORY DRIVE: ||Billet Specialties TruTrac serpentine |
|TRANSMISSION: ||’68 Ford C6 by John Segale |
|STYLE: ||F-100 |
|MODIFICATIONS: || back of cab tilted forward, cab seams filled |
|FENDERS FRONT / REAR: ||pinched / stock |
|HOOD: ||stock, shaved, seams filled |
|GRILLE: ||’67 F-100, narrowed |
|BED: ||modified stock, seams filled, tailgate double-walled, maple bed floor |
|BODYWORK BY: || Roseville R&C, Joe Vaca & Terry Lyttge |
|PAINT BY: || Roseville R&C, Joe Vaca |
|PAINT TYPE / COLOR: || PPG / Silvertone silver & SIlvertone Metallic |
|HEADLIGHTS / TAILLIGHTS: || stock / stock |
|BUMPERS FRONT / REAR: || modified stock / modified Econoline Van |
|CHROME: ||Sherm’s Plating, Sacramento, CA |
|GAUGES: ||Auto Meter Pro-Comp |
|PANEL: || custom by Roseville R&C |
|DASH: || split Mustang-style by Roseville R&C |
|AIR CONDITIONING: || Vintage Air |
|STEERING WHEEL: ||Shelby, Tony Branda |
|STEERING COLUMN: || ididit tilt |
|SHIFTER: || Lokar |
|SEATS: || Acura Legend buckets |
|UPHOLSTERY BY: || Dave Putnam, Orangeville, CA |
|MATERIAL / COLOR: ||leather / black |
|DOOR PANELS: || custom Shelby-style, Roseville R&C |
|CARPET: ||black |