H ave you ever gone to a car show and fallen in love with one particular truck? This was the case with Tom Devlin who always had a soft spot for the iconic Ford F-100 pickup. Running across that particular F-100 was the last straw; it was time for Tom to take the plunge and either find or build himself a cool classic pickup – and the hunt was on (with help from his youngest son Tim). After numerous fruitless searches Tom finally found the right one at a Texas Goodguys show. The ’55 F-100 he’d found had the look he was after and, although it was in decent running and driving condition, there was still plenty of work to be done, and that’d give him the opportunity to personalize the pickup to his own taste.
The purchase was made and the truck was hauled back to Augusta, Kansas. Having the truck back in his garage, Tom couldn’t help but notice what stood out with his recent purchase. It had the perfect stance and a color he liked, but unfortunately there were primer spots where the hood emblems had been shaved and filled. Tom didn’t let those spots keep him from driving and enjoying the Ford – that is until he reached the point where he couldn’t continue to look at those primer spots any longer. After a chat with his son Tim, who owns Devlin Rod & Customs, they decided it was time to repaint the truck. What he ended up with was a little more than a paintjob!
With the truck in Tim’s shop, they took it down to the frame and started from there. With the front suspension apart, the 3-inch drop axle was stripped and repainted then mated up with a fresh spring and reinstalled along with a pair of fresh Monroe shocks. The manual steering box was in serious need of a rebuild, and with that completed the focus was then turned toward the rear suspension. The stock rearend was also treated to a complete rebuild, while the pickup’s rear framerails were notched to accommodate the new lowered stance.
Above and beyond the standard body straightening and fresh paint, Tom and Tim decided to treat the pickup to a few subtle custom touches that added to the clean lines of the F-100. The hood trim was shaved along with smoothing out and filling the factory ribbed firewall. All the fender, door, and hood gaps were tightened and cleaned up as well. A custom tailgate latch was installed, which wrapped up the list of details Tom had planned for his prized project.
Once the chassis and body had been refreshed, it was time to focus on the driveline. The Ford’s 239-cube Y-block was pulled and rebuilt. The freshened engine now breathes through an Edmonds air cleaner and a PerTronix ignition system provides spark. The original exhaust was replaced by a pair of ram’s-horn manifolds and a pair of Smithy’s glasspack mufflers. Topping off the motor are a pair of Offenhauser finned-aluminum valve covers and the crunchy old original wiring was replaced by a new cloth-covered wiring harness before the guys mated the F-100’s motor to the original three-speed manual transmission.
Where this classic truck really stands out though is the paint. Ryan James with Devlin Rod & Customs worked his magic and delivered a flawless paintjob using RM urethane in an original 1955 Ford truck commercial blue. Both bumpers were sent off to Sherm’s Chrome Plating in Sacramento, California, to be stripped and re-chromed, while the master woodworking skills of Jeff Sawders were utilized to give the new bed wood an antique custom look.