It seemed like a solid plan – park the nice Mustang for the Michigan winter and buy an old truck to drive through the salt and snow, plus everyone needs a truck for hauling stuff. It was with that thought in mind when Jeff Huebner found a 1976 Ford F-100 at a reasonable price and brought it home as a winter driver. As it turns out, this driver of a truck was heavily optioned and the more Jeff drove the old truck, the more he liked it, and so it was time for plan B...fix the truck up.
Step one was gathering parts and, since Jeff is an autobody technician by trade, it didn't take him long to figure out a lot of the sheetmetal was still available directly from FoMoCo. By the time it was over, he had gathered all NOS trim, including the grille from Ford. When a completely rust-free cab and bed presented themselves Jeff simply couldn't pass them up, so one truck quickly became a combination of two different trucks and a pile of brand-new Ford parts.
Working with all rust-free parts allowed Jeff the time to concentrate on the fit and finish of each body panel prior to laying down the original mint green hue. Bringing a 1976 F-100 to this level is seldom seen, and rather than modify the truck, Jeff allowed the unique good looks of the original design to shine through. The result is a truck that is subtle, yet commands attention because it is unique among the custom truck crowd.
But there is more than the body and paint that makes this truck look so good, and that comes in the form of a proper hot rod stance. To achieve this, the stock rails remain in service, but up front a set of AIM Industries 3-inch dropped twin I-beams combine with raised mounting points to lower the front of the truck. Dropping the front a bit lower involved trimming one half of a coil from the front springs. Stock brakes, disc front and drum rear, and power steering remain in service. To drop the truck in the rear, de-arched springs were employed and it all rolls around on Billet Specialties that measure 17x7 and 18x9½, front and rear respectively.
If you like the original look of the truck you'll enjoy the fact that the original 390 was rebuilt and warmed over a bit with a Comp cam, Edelbrock intake, and Holley carburetor. Internally the block is bored .030 and the heads have been port matched. Todd Hunt handled the engine assembly. The stock exhaust manifolds are still in service and while the breather looks original, a real Ford guy might notice there is an extra snorkel on this one. The approach was to make the engine bay look like a factory high-performance motor. The choice of Mercury Marine outboard green paint continues the subtle and effective approach to the truck. All finishes under the hood are factory style with an intentional lack of polished or plated metal. Behind the big 390 the original C6 transmission has been rebuilt and fitted with a B&M shift kit.
Inside the cab a layer of Dynamat was laid down before the 1992 Ford F-100 seat was installed in the truck. The dashboard remains stock along with all of the original 1976 XLT trim pieces. The tan interior complements the mint green exterior and is in keeping with the original theme of the truck. Since this was a rare factory-air truck all of that has been refurbished and remains in service.
And so after 18 months of work, the truck once relegated to winter duty, was now seeing mostly weekend trips, and since the truck is basically a brand-new truck, it has proven to be the perfect vehicle for long road trips. Jeff and Kathy Huebner have enjoyed many trips and one of those was to the NSRA Street Rod Nationals where we caught up with them. After photographing the truck the burning question remains, "Why don't we see more of these trucks being modified?" One look at the Huebner hauler tells you there is a world of potential wrapped up in '70s era F-100s.
1976 Ford F-100 Ranger XLT
Jeff And Kathy Huebner
Frame / ManufactureR: Ford / stock
Rearend / Ratio: 9-inch / 3.25
Front Suspension: AIM 3-inch dropped twin I-beams
Rear suspension: de-arched rear springs
Rear brakes: stock drum
Front brakes: stock disc
Master cylinder: Ford
Steering box: factory power steering
Front wheel make, size: Billet Specialties 17x7
Rear wheel make, size: Billet Specialties 18x9½
Front tire size: 225-55/17
Rear tire size: 255-55/18
Gas tank: NOS
Other chassis items: raised pickup points on front axles
Machining / Assembly: Todd Hunt
Pistons: stock over .030
Camshaft: Comp Cams
Heads: port matched
Valve covers: Ford
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock / Holley 600-cfm
Ignition / Wires: Taylor
Headers: factory exhaust manifolds
Exhaust / Mufflers: Flowmaster
Transmission: C6 w/TCI Street Fighter converter and B&M shift kit
Body style: 1976 Ford F100 Ranger XLT Styleside
Body mods: none
Grille: NOS 1973 F-100
Bodywork: Jeff Huebner
Paint type / Color: DuPont Emron / mint green
Headlights / Taillights: stock
Outside mirror: 1992 F-100
Bumpers: stock chrome
Insert / Gauges: stock
Stereo / Speakers: stock
Air conditioning: factory A/C
Steering wheel: stock
Steering column: stock
Seats: 1992 Ford
Material / Color: cloth / tan
Carpet: tan cut pile