Owner of NTA FleetServe in Kansas City, Missouri, Phil Heffron wanted to build something that was fun to drive and looked great doing it. Since his co-worker Joe Huffaker just finished his pickup (white ’50 Chevy), Phil was getting the itch to also have a neat old pickup to take to car shows and local cruise nights. Phil and Joe didn’t want to build the same truck over again, and to be honest, Phil said he is more of a Ford guy than a Chevy guy. So Phil started to look at the local Craigslist ads and found a few ’53-56 Ford F-100s that looked amazing in the photos.
The trouble was the trucks were a few hours away, but Phil and Joe were determined to find a rolling project. They headed out with a truck and trailer hoping to find a solid platform to start with, but the only thing they encountered was snow and a rusty pickup. At this same time, the local radiator guy Carl Coon recommended that they check out a Ford pickup that he saw every day on the way to work.
Joe and Phil ignored the suggestion to look at the local truck and made a few more trips outside of town. About to give up, Joe took the short drive and checked out the local ’55 Ford. The truck was destined to be in Phil and Joe’s hands because when Joe arrived to take a look at it, the price was slashed in half. The owner was determined to sell the truck and Joe had Phil’s cash in hand.
After buying the pickup the guys trailered the ’55 over to the shop and brainstormed what to do with it. Joe had the idea of tossing in an LS powerplant because of how many were around, but at first Phil was slightly against the idea. A local junkyard had a fresh, low-mileage Chevy 5.3 LS truck engine that had a remanufactured transmission attached to it. The price was right for the powertrain combo, so Phil purchased it and set it aside. In the summer months it was way too hot to work on the truck, especially after working in the shop all day. So the truck sat for a while until it was cold enough to work on it.
When it finally cooled off Joe stripped the front suspension and replaced it with a Total Cost Involved Mustang II IFS. Not only did the IFS lower the truck, but it also replaced the steering box with a rack-and-pinion unit and disc brake upgrade. The stock springs were used to support the Ford 8.8 rearend. Joe also flipped the axle over the springs to lower the rearend of the truck. New shock mounts were made on the 8.8 to add Monroe Sensa-Trac shocks for a comfortable ride.
Some of the body panels were rusted beyond repair, so Phil ordered replacement parts. The grille, front bumper, rear bumper, and taillights were all ordered from LMC. Joe smoothed the firewall and gas filler hole on the cab along with moving the gas tank under the bed.
After Phil and Joe finished up the majority of the fabrication and body panels they were thinking about paint colors that would be cool on the ’55. Phil really liked black, but Joe felt they would be better off sending the paintjob to a professional since black is hard to make look great. Off to A&B Body Shop in Riverside, Missouri, it went where the guys did there magic of straitening all the panels and spraying the truck Ford Raven Gloss Black.
The ’55 was back from paint and Joe and Phil spent the next few weeks putting all the panels back together. The truck came out better than Phil and Joe would ever have guessed and now the two co-workers travel to all the local shows displaying two really cool trucks.
1955 Ford F-100
North Kansas City, MO
Frame: ’55 Ford F-100
Modifications: Total Cost Involved Mustang II
Rearend / Ratio: Ford 8.8 / 3.73 gears
Rear suspension: stock springs
Rear brakes: disc
Front suspension: Total Cost Involved Mustang II
Front brakes: disc
Steering box: rack-and-pinion
Front wheels: American Racing 17x7
Rear wheels: American Racing 17x8
Front tires: Firestone 225/60/R17
Rear tires: Firestone 235/60/R17
Gas tank: S-10, under the bed
Engine: 5.3 LS truck
Valve covers: stock
Exhaust / Mufflers: 2½-inch / Thrush
Style: ’55 F-100
Fenders front: stock
Bodywork and paint by: A&B Body Shop, Riverside, MO
Paint type / Color: Ford / Raven Black
Headlights / Taillights: stock / LMC ’54 Chevy truck
Outside mirrors: stock
Air conditioning: Vintage Air
Stereo: Secret Auto
Steering wheel: Lecarra
Steering column: ididit
Seats: ’94 F-150
Upholstery by: North Kansas City Auto Trim
Material / Color: leather / red and white
Carpet: red loop