It took three and a half years to build, working under a Harbor Freight tent. Tom Burges, the owner of a beautiful purple ’56 F-100, wanted something to bring back his childhood memories and keep him off the couch. So he decided it would be beneficial to start a ’56 Ford F-100 truck project.
A friend of Tom’s by the name of Bob Uber knew of a truck near his home in Fillmore, California, and convinced Tom to take a look at it. It didn’t take much for Tom to agree to the project because the price was right and the project looked like it needed way too much work.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Tom on several projects, mostly mine, over at Deuces Wild Hotrods & Customs, also in Fillmore. Tom is a retired truck driver and would stop by the shop to lend a hand to whoever needed it. It was always nice to see Tom around the shop because of his wise comments and willingness to help out with anything. Tom would never brag or boast about his accomplishments and that included the building of his truck.
One day he stopped by the shop as I was working and all I could hear was the roaring of a built 302 with 3-inch exhaust. I had to stop what I was doing and walk outside to see what was making that sweet gearhead sound. Surprised, it was good ol’ Tom in his work clothes ready to get dirty.
So when faced with a project that was full of rust and dents Tom jumped in and tackled the hard parts first. The driprail on the roof line had 3 inches of rust and Tom jokingly said, “It dripped alright.” The bed floor was gone, there was broken glass, and the passenger door was caved in. Tom’s attitude to try and fail, but never fail to try has really taken him far with the build process. Tom said to himself, and everyone in earshot, “It’s time for me to learn to do some bodywork.” Just when he thought the truck was getting closer to being finished, Tom and Bob pulled the bed off the truck and discovered more rust. Bob suggested that he put a CPP disc brake kit on it and clean the frame up a little.
Cleaning up the frame a little lead to tearing the cab off, completely sanding it to bare metal and painting it gloss black. Tom said he thought the hard part was all over, but little did he know that to get the body perfect he would spend a year and a half learning to fix his mistakes. “Dent pulling, primer, sanding, guide coat, sanding, sanding, sanding, and then do it all over,” Tom said. Now that everything was as close to perfect as Tom could get it, he took the truck all apart and sent it over to the painter. Tom said his favorite part about the truck is how everyone comments on how perfect the paint and panels are.
After it was all said and done I asked Tom to drive up a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, 11 miles one way to be exact. Tom, being the man he is, smiled and said, “We are breaking it in now, aren’t we Wes?” Thanks Tom for letting us off-road your pride and joy. By the way, Tom found a rattle that was caused by a loose exhaust hanger. The shakedown worked after all. CT
Tom and Carol Burges
1956 Ford F-100
Modifications: tubular transmission crossmember
Rearend / Ratio: Ford 9-inch / 3.00 w/trac lock
Rear suspension: pro street springs w/air shocks
Rear brakes: stock drum
Front suspension: CPP 3-inch drop axle
Front brakes: CPP disc
Steering box: CPP Toyota conversion
Front wheels: Western slotted mags 15x8
Rear wheels: Western slotted mags 15x8
Front tires: BFGoodrich T/A 235/60R15
Rear tires: BFGoodrich T/A 255/60R15
Gas tank: No Limit Engineering
Engine: built Ford 302
Valve covers: aluminum
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock / Edelbrock dual 550-cfm
Headers: Rewarder 2½-inch
Exhaust / Mufflers: Stainless Specialties 3-inch
Transmission: Tremec TKO 500
Modifications: Centerforce street clutch w/aluminum flywheel
Shifter: Hurst w/Moon shifter
Modifications: shaved emblems
Fenders front / rear: stock
Hood: stock / shaved
Bodywork and paint by: owner and Tom Bacca
Paint type / Color: PPG Vibrance / Perfect Purple
Headlights / Taillights: stock / ’39 Ford Mooneyes
Outside mirrors: stock
Bumpers: stock / roll pan
Air conditioning: Southern Air
Steering wheel: Lecarra
Steering column: ididit
Seats: 2004 Grand Cherokee
Upholstery by: Quality Upholstery of Ventura, CA
Material / Color: leather / black and gray
Carpet: black loop