Finishing a project vehicle on a deadline is a lot like completing a term paper or shopping for the holidays-no matter how good your plans are, there's always going to be some last-minute thrashing required to pull everything off. The final few weeks of construction will typically find you dashing around town gathering parts or dropping things off at the upholstery shop, and you'll constantly be reminded of just how many small pieces there are in an old truck. Burning the midnight oil is pretty much inevitable.
Frank and Mary Streff began working on their SO-CAL Shop Truck in earnest in June of 2001. Their goal was to have it finished for the Goodguys Southwest Nationals in mid-November. No matter who you are, building a top-notch truck in five months is a tall order. Fortunately, Frank and Mary had a few aces up their sleeves. For starters, they had a rolling Walton Fabrication chassis and a 460 Ford crate engine waiting in the wings. They also had a body shop-10th Street Auto Body-that was willing to go the extra mile to make things happen. Ditto for the upholstery shop, Lance Troupe Interiors. But the trump card was the fact that Frank and Mary own the Arizona branch of SO-CAL Speed Shop, which gives them access to almost all the small parts needed to put a vintage Ford (or Chevy) pickup together!
As you'll recall from our last installment, 10th Street Auto Body had finished the bodywork and paint on the '53 F-100, and the long process of re-assembly had just begun. Since all of the body parts had been pre-assembled prior to paint, bolting them together for good was relatively straightforward. This time around, however, extreme care had to be taken so nothing would get scratched or damaged. The trademark SO-CAL scallops were painted on the hood and front fenders before they were bolted on the truck, and Frank installed the wood floor in the Mack Products bed before it found its way onto the frame.
Another task that required attention was wiring the truck. Frank and Mary wanted to keep the wires out of sight, so all engine compartment wiring was routed along the outside of the inner fender panel, while the main fuse box, ignition control box, and Custom Autosound Secret Audio CD changer were mounted to the floor under the seat. Mooneyes gauges were used to monitor engine functions, and were installed in a SO-CAL gauge panel that was sent to Haneline for an engine-turned finish.
The plan for the rest of the interior was to keep things as clean and simple appearing as possible. Starting with a Glide Engineering seat frame and foam kit, Lance and his crew stitched up some simple red and gray seat covers, along with matching door panels. A layer of insulation was laid down on the floor and covered with a rubber floor mat instead of carpet. The non-tilt Flaming River steering column was painted black and topped with a reproduction '51 Ford Crestliner wheel from J.B. Donaldson. A Vintage Air unit was installed to keep things cool, but the controls were hidden and the vents hinged so they could be folded out of sight when not in use.
Put simply, the interior has most of the modern amenities a person could want, but retains the bare-bones appearance of a 50-year-old truck. That was pretty much the general plan for the entire truck, and the finished product should exhibit an intriguing blend of old and new. You'll have to wait until next month to see it in its entirety, but for now we've got a few more construction photos to keep you satisfied. Enjoy!