It was the drive and vision of Steve Meister that brought this awesome 1956 big window into existence (having been a dream of his since high school). For the record, Steve's Merc is really a cloaked 1956 big-window F-100 that's been fitted with M-100 badges and a re-popped tailgate, but the results are the stuff that CT features are made of, and judging by all the head turning on the way to the shoot, the jury has spoken! This truck was a 10-year journey that began with a gearhead neighbor who sold the rust-free original Arizona truck to Steve, snagging a hefty finder's fee in return. He had always wanted a 1956 big window and with solid builders becoming scarce and expensive, he jumped at this one.
Steve was comfortable building custom Harleys, but after a few years working weekends on his truck, he knew it was time to seek professional help to get the project completed in a realistic amount of time. Armed with the end result in mind, he took the frame to Limeworks in Whittier, California. In 1998 they completed the tubular X subframe and notched rear section, taking out two leafs and flipping the axle to get it low. Centech airbags along with a VIAIR compressor set the cruising height to just above asphalt.
Steve supplied the boxing plates they used to box the full frame, then added engine/trans mounts and plumbed the brake lines. He then got the frame home and reassembled it, and discovered that, in the meantime, Limeworks had gotten overrun with work so Steve had to find another location to finish the project. Bobco in Lake Elsinore, California, has a long history of building pristine F-100s, and though Steve initially wanted a clean F-100 driver, after a conversation with Bobco a more radical transformation began to brew.
The Mercury re-branding came about during the bodywork on the tailgate that sparked a conversation. Marco (one of Bobco's body men) explained the cost saving reality of replacement parts versus the labor rate hours to make needed repairs. Steve thought if he'd have to replace it, he'd rather have the Mercury branded tailgate, if possible. Enter Todd Murthuns, who happened to have the ability to create the stamped version. It's funny how one seemingly small, but good decision starts a chain reaction of changes, which happened just before Bobco applied the flawless PPG Vermillion Red finish.
The new tailgate meant the Ford badges on the hood were no longer hip, so Steve adapted old Mercury truck emblems and lettering which required some precise modifications to make them work. Other modifications included shaving the side vents, filler neck, and relocating a custom fender-located filler door. Steve also purchased authentic 1950 Mercury sedan taillights for the finishing touch.
The choice of power is a 1990 factory fuel-injected Ford 5.0 and AOD transmission. Flowmaster is the exhaust of choice and makes music like a symphony. This combination delivers plenty of power and is easy at the gas pump. The Merc rolls Stockton 15x7 wheels wrapped in 235/60R15-series BFG TA radials up front, while 15x10 wheels wound with 275/60R15 rubber carries the load out back.
Lanny Boeltl of Modern Auto Trim is credited with the fine interior. He used an '89 Chevy bench seat stitched in two-tone gray velour cloth that hugs the cab perfectly. He used an original 1960 F-100 steering wheel sitting atop a refurbished 1956 steering column to keep an original feel. The dash was filled and outfitted with Dakota digital instruments to feed the driver all the drivetrain vital signs. The "Merc" was built for big road trippin' and that's what it does. Steve has driven it from Arizona to Colorado, Texas, and Washington. The longest run was to Nashville, Tennessee, and has been an absolute pleasure on the open road. Steve thanks Rick Green, Jeff Lemmons, Steve Dennish, and the good folks at Bobco for bringing his F/M-100 to life!
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Frame: boxed tubular X-frame
Rearend / Ratio: Lincoln Versailles 3.28 ratio
Rear suspension: Pete & Jakes shocks with flipped and de-arched leaf
Rear brakes: CPP Rear disc
Front suspension:1976 Camaro Subframe with TCI antisway bar
Front brakes: 11-inch Camaro disc
Steering box: OEM
Front wheels: 15x7-inch Stockton Wheel steelies with 1950 Mercury hubcaps
Rear wheels: 15x10-inch Stockton Wheel steelies with 1950 Mercury hubcaps
Front tires: 235/60/R15 BFGoodrich Radial TA
Rear tires: 275/60/R15 BFGoodrich Radial TA
Gas tank: Tanks custom stainless
Engine: factory 5.0 Injected small-block
Heads: factory cast-iron
Valve covers: OEM aluminum
Manifold / Induction: factory
Ignition: Ford EDIS-8
Headers: original cast-iron manifolds
Exhaust / Mufflers: Flowmaster 50
Transmission: Ford AOD
Shifter: adapted to control the AOD transmission
Style: ½-ton Stepside
Modifications: shaved taillights, custom filler door, shaved side vents, custom Mercury emblems
Paint type / Color: PPG Vermillion Red
Headlights / Taillights: factory / 1950 Mercury sedan taillights
Outside mirrors: custom
Bumpers: front, factory moved in 1.5 inches; rear, factory
Gauges: Dakota Digital
Air conditioning: Vintage Air
Stereo: Secret Audio AM/FM CD
Steering wheel: 1960 F-100
Steering column: Stock unit chromed
Seats: 1989 Chevy Silverado bench
Upholstery by: Lanny Boeltl of Modern Auto Trim in Whittier, CA
Material / Color: two-tone gray velour
Carpet: Mercedes gray loop