Something Borrowed, Something Bought
My name is Matt Baker. I'm 27 years old, and classic trucks (not "Honduhs") are a part of my life. I thought I'd share a few pics of my 1969 SWB F-100. This truck was originally a 240-cid six-cylinder with a three-on-the-tree, manual steering, and drum brakes-a work truck. It had been sitting locked away in a building for several years before I found it on eBay for $1,200 in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Having been hidden for the better part of a decade in a sealed building, this meant a solid truck with very little rust to repair as a good foundation for my plan. How many good but used or discarded parts can I use to create a truck that is reliable, that my wife can drive as easily as her '98 F-150, and that has a bit of style? I was in for a challenge.
It was an interesting ride home, as one of the rotten bias-ply tires deflated while the truck was strapped to the trailer on I-44 out of Springfield, Missouri. But hey, what could I expect for $1,200? As soon as I got it home I began updating it for more modern driving conditions.
To start off, it had to have disc brakes up front and power steering. The "new" spindles, rotors, calipers, power booster, and master cylinder came from a '77 F-100 I found in one of the local wrecking yards. The proportioning valve is off an '84 Cougar with a disc-drum combo that was just lying around. This brake setup worked nicely since they still used kingpins instead of ball joints in '77. The truck now stops as well as my '92 F-150. It also had to be lowered and needed a set of wheels to make it presentable on the street. I looked all over for a set of nostalgic-style wheels that would fit the 5x5 1/2 bolt pattern. There are very few to choose from for older Fords that do not look like they were purchased from Wal-Mart. I stopped searching after contacting American Racing, who informed me that the original Torq-Thrust had the right pattern.
Getting the truck a little lower required the installation of DJM 3-inch-drop Dream Beams and shocks up front, along with cut coils. It is not slammed since I drive the truck 50 or more miles everyday. To get the right stance in the rear I made my own C-notch kit out of the same-thickness steel tubing and steel plating as the frame. The rear axle got flipped to the top, and I was still able to retain every leaf.
I drove it around like this for a while with the old 240 and three-speed until I overevved the engine one day and stripped every tooth off the cam gear. I guess I should have shifted sooner...Oh, well! I already had an '89 302 and AOD sitting in the garage ready to go in the truck, so it wasn't a total bummer. Once the 302 was installed, I thought I'd really have to modify a few things to make the tranny fit, but to my surprise it was a direct bolt in. The only thing that slowed me down during the install was how I would make the shift linkage work with the AOD and newly acquired and installed '69 automatic truck column. It was quite simple: I had an '89 Lincoln Town Car, '84 Mercury Cougar (both of which had automatic shift steering columns and linkages), and a '69 F-100 lying around that had certain pieces of linkages that, when combined, eventually comprised my new shift linkage.
It did not stop there, though. The hauler still needed power steering, so I robbed that off the '89 Lincoln along with the belt, front accessory engine brackets, and the old Ford Dura-Spark electronic ignition, too. It was at this point that my wife said she'd now be willing to drive it occasionally. But she was not too happy with the rattling windows, the rotten seat with springs that'd violate you when you sat on them, and the worn-out rubber floor mat. To remedy this, I installed an anti-rattle kit, ACC black loop carpet, and a bench seat out of an '85 F-150.
To date, I drive it everywhere, and even though it still has the original dilapidated paint, it still looks right at home at some of the local shows. People come up all the time and talk to me about the truck, and I've had so many offers to buy it that I've lost track. This surprises me, but I take it as a compliment. If not for the help of a few good friends and a grandfather, I would not be so involved in the classic truck hobby.
Thanks for letting me share a piece of my truck and life with you. Sincerely,
Via the Internet
P.S.: I recently acquired a 345hp GT40 crate motor from the Ford Racing & Performance catalog that will hopefully be installed before I head off to the Goodguys show at the Kansas Motor Speedway in September.
Matt, thanks for taking the time to share that with us. I'm sure there are more than a few readers who'll appreciate that. It should go without saying that it looks like you're on the right track with your F-100 project. The mixture of borrowed and bought components on your '69 seem to complement each other perfectly-from stance to performance. Only thing I'm wondering is, you sure you want your wife behind the wheel after swapping out the 302 for the GT40 powerplant? Nevertheless, good luck with the remaining endeavors on your project. I'm expecting another full report after your Kansas adventure-but don't go trying to sneak out on the track afterhours to see how far she'll rev, you hear!