Rich de Heras, like most of us, uses the power of the Internet to help find his next project. In his case he was looking for a '48 Ford F1 with a stock flathead. Rich had checked out local newspaper listings but came up empty-handed. So after spending countless hours on the Internet searching, he instead hit the jackpot when he stumbled upon a '56 Ford with a twist. That twist came in the form of a 392 Hemi with dual 600-cfm Edelbrock carbs. Needless to say, Rich was sold on the idea and contacted the owner immediately. A few emails and phone calls back and forth to figure out a fair selling price and it was his-well almost.
Now his only worry was whether to play it safe and trailer it, or fly out and drive the '56 home. Rich lives in Henderson, Nevada, and the Ford was in Whittier, California. For some reason the Hemi engines like to run a little hot, but the owner insisted the vehicle had no issues. Rich was reserved about driving the big-block beast 300 miles and others had warned him about the motor-killing head gasket blowing at the Baker grade. But like any truck guy with a will there is a way. "The Ford had a mechanical fan with no shroud so when I got to the Baker grade I turned off the A/C and rolled down the window for some fresh desert air. The temp was climbing, but stopped at 210 all the way up the grade, which is OK for a Hemi. When I got into Henderson, Nevada, there was stop-and-go traffic, and it started to spew coolant. So I invested in a larger four-row radiator and a 16-inch fan. My overheating problem was then solved."
The rest of Rich's story reminds me of the game called "six degrees of Kevin Bacon." Rules state that given six tries you could link any actor (via a movie) back to Kevin Bacon. Well this '56, or should I say these '56s, started life as farm trucks in Mentone, California. When the owner moved to Boulder City, Nevada, the owner decided to sell the trucks as a pair and would not separate them. So the Whittier, California, resident through an auction purchased the trucks. From there they were trailered to Tim Beard's Hot Rod Restoration in San Jacinto, California. Still following me? Good. At Beard's shop the pair became one with some intensive elbow grease-and a late-model Mustang II clip. Rich showed the pictures of the buildup to his brother, and he spotted his roadster behind the truck in one of the pictures. Crazy right? Well, I'm not done yet. It turns out that the original owner in Boulder City, Nevada, was only 14 miles away from Rich's house in Henderson. There you have it: six degrees of a '56 F-100. It makes you wonder how much happens around you everyday, and how everything is related in some way.
What are Rich's plans for the truck? And what does he like most about it? "I want to add some aftermarket headers to get rid of the heavy cast-iron manifolds. I'm not sure about how to do it, but I would like to add a five-speed. I plan on driving the truck to some local events and every Goodguys show if I get time off my busy work schedule. I own Armand Manufacturing, where we make static-free bags for computer chips and many other products for the medical field, so time off is sometimes hard to come by. My favorite part about my '56 is whenever the hood is up at shows it's common to get second looks. Everyone who walks by it expects to see a Ford or Chevy engine and then the Hemi motor catches their eyes. I did find that '48 F1 I was looking for, and have plans to put a supercharger on its flathead so stay tuned."