There’s something to be said for a good relationship with your in-laws. Some folks aren’t fortunate in this department, but when your father-in-law shares the same interests, it certainly makes matters easier. For Sam Stanton, his in-law experience involved an old Ford truck and a man determined to go for one last ride. Coming from Jonesborough, Tennessee, pickup trucks are a common sight for Sam and his wife Cathy, but this ’79 F-100 is well beyond average with its mirror-like paintjob, lowered stance, and healthy big-block engine. The truck garners plenty of attention, but the story behind its existence means the most to the Stanton’s. It was Cathy’s father’s final project.

Cathy is actually the person responsible for purchasing the ’79 F-100, as she saw it for sale at a dealership back in 1980. The truck only had 1,700 miles at the time, so it was like new, and she drove it for a while before trading it to her son for two cows—must be a Tennessee thing. Cathy’s son drove the truck for a few years, and took it with him to the Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina during his service. Then, it was a four-year stint in the Stanton’s garage before Cathy’s father, Calvin Tipton, decided it was time to step in and get his hands a little dirty.

The finished product is a flawless representation of a Ford F-100, and this combination of details didn’t happen by accident. First was the suspension—up front, the truck received a pair of three-inch lowering beams, which are accompanied by stock springs and stock-style shock absorbers. The braking system is mostly stock, aside from the late-model master cylinder, complete with a hydro boost setup rather than a conventional vacuum brake booster. Hiding the brakes are a set of Billet Specialties Fast Lane wheels, which measure 15x8 up front and 15x10 out back, while traction comes by way of Mickey Thompson Sportsman Radials, sized at 26x10R15 and 30x12R15 respectively. The rear suspension setup consists of leaf springs and a well-equipped 9-inch rear end, but the stance is four inches lower than stock. Sam built the traction bars, which prevent axle wrap when the skinny pedal hits the floor.

Speaking of which, there’s a potent big-block engine resting beneath the Ford’s massive hood, and you can bet it’s of Blue Oval descent. Robinson Racing assembled the 460ci big-block Ford with a Scat crankshaft, Scat connecting rods and JE forged pistons. The bulletproof bottom end features an 11:1 compression ratio thanks to the flattop pistons and the 75cc combustion chambers inside the Edelbrock Performer RPM Cobra Jet cylinder heads. The aluminum heads lighten the hefty big-block, and provide a much smoother path for air with its 310cc intake runners, as well as its 2.19- and 1.76-inch valves. Moving those enormous valves is a Comp Cams roller camshaft, ground with a duration of 232 degrees on the intake side and 240 on the exhaust, measured at 0.050-inch lift. Maximum lift is 0.600-inch on the intake and 0.610-inch on the exhaust, and the cam features a lobe separation angle of 110 degrees. Roller rockers keep the valve train moving efficiently.

Incoming air passes through an 850cfm Holley carburetor, which sits atop a dual plane Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold. A steady flow of 110-octane racing fuel is sourced from a custom fuel cell, while a complete MSD ignition system lights the fire. Hooker ceramic-coated headers allow the big-block to breathe easily, and create a wonderful exhaust note in combination with the Flowmaster mufflers. When the engine reached completion, Jon Phillipps of Phillipps Performance tuned the big-block, and it was almost time to hit the road. Behind the rumbling big-block is a Ford C6 automatic transmission, which features a shift kit and a 3,500rpm torque converter.