Wow! That was the first word out of my mouth when I initially came across Steve Widman's beautiful '56 F-100. "It still needs some work," Steve says, "There's just a couple minor tweaks I would like to take care of." I guess after 10 long years in a two-car garage, and only being able to utilize half of it to work on the truck gives one plenty of time for second-guessing. Steve (with help from his dad) spent many years worth of weekends chipping away at the project, working around the lawn mower and his mother's Pontiac. And as if working around everyday household items wasn't bad enough, the garage was in need of some extra power. Steve decided to wire the garage for 220 volts so that he could run a compressor and the new welder (which like many of us Steve learned to use via trial and error). Now that's what I call determination and heart. All the hard work and long weekends paid off after seeing the final build. Check out how this amazing truck came to life.
Steve had been a car/truck freak his entire life. His previous project was a '67 Mustang fastback that he spent five years fixing up and making his own. Unfortunately, with the '67 nearly complete it caught fire driving down the freeway. At that point, all he could do was watch all his hard work burn to the ground. "I thought my car days were pretty much finished after that; it was crushing to my soul," Steve says. But like any true gearhead he persevered and searched for the next three years in hopes of finding another fastback similar to what he had-only to come across the '56 Big-Window at a church auction in Grand Island, Nebraska, that caught his eye. At that point the truck was a bright yellow all original with big whitewall tires. "It looked descent. I just didn't like the way it drove, or how it handled, but mainly how everyone just passed by me on the highway. Being young, I grew up with disc brakes and power steering. That '50s technology was a little sketchy for me," he says with a grin. That said, he had an idea of what was in the pickup's future-and the amount of work ahead.
Still having the remains of his toasted Mustang, Steve snagged the 351 Cleveland, which is now totally rebuilt to perfection and has no problem passing everyone on the highway. The motor was bored 0.030-over and a Chet Herbert cam installed. Steve decided to go with a Barry Grant Speed Demon 650 for carburetion and Hooker headers, running into a 3-inch full custom exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers letting out a throaty growl. The engine shines thanks to all the engine detail work and polished parts Steve installed.
Another great hand-me-down was the rearend from the Mustang, which was fitted under the '56. "I had no money so I used what I had," Steve says. After first installing adjustable coilover suspension, Steve decided to change it up and go with Ridetech suspension, using Shockwave shocks. He also chose a set of Intro Sport wheels running a staggered setup with 18x8s up front and 20x10s out back, all wrapped in Dunlop SP Sport 9000 tires. Together with the air suspension, it made the stance complete and looking better than ever. "I needed something to stop this baby without doubt, so I went with a Wilwood 11-inch brake system up front."
The gorgeous orange paint was done in House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl and was painted by Steve and Colorworks. The interior was up next, and Steve decided to go with leather and snakeskin material in a bone and desert snake color. Talk about the perfect accent to the orange paint. The door panels, dash, and armrest are all custom fabricated by Steve himself (as was the custom overhead console, which holds the Kenwood Excelon radio). Like much of the pickup's new components the radio is not so stock-far from it as a matter of fact. Eclipse amplifiers power the Kenwood front speakers and the Infinity rear speakers, as well as an Eclipse 10-inch subwoofer hidden behind the seat. While not overpowering, it creates the perfect sound for Steve.
"If I were to do anything different, I'd remove the drip rails and add power steering," Steve says. "It's no Truck of the Year but I can be proud I did it all myself and made some great friends along the way." After 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears, Steve can hold his head high knowing that he built one heck of a beautiful F-100!