About 20 miles west of Chicago, Illinois, the F-100 is being reinvented-not rehashed or restored, but taken to a new level. These trucks have been here for us since day one, or since 1953, if you want to put an actual date on it. Over the years they have done everything, and everything has been done to them, from the worst back-country in-a-pinch repairs to basic driver maintenance to having tons of time and money dumped into 'em for the sake of winning awards/shows and the recognition of a community or the country, for that matter.
Mike Crimaldi's story isn't much different from other classic car/truck owners. He had a '53 F-100 back in high school and used it for the kind of stuff kids do, like cruising and dating or both while attending the prom with his girlfriend, whom he wound up marrying. Mike found a possible '53 to fill the shoes of his long lost Ford, called up the guys at The Roadster Shop in Elgin, Illinois, and started a plan. The heads of the Roadster Shop, Neal Gerber and his two sons, Phil and Jeremy, got artist Eric Brockmeyer in on the whole deal to enhance and plant their vision onto paper for an initial draft of what Mike's '53 Ford F-500 dump truck would look like. That's right, dump truck! The Roadster Shop would only use the original cab and doors anyway, so it didn't really matter what the truck started out as. Regardless, one look at Eric's rendering and I'm sure even a few Chevy guys are amazed at the possible outcome.
The shop was excited about Mike's truck, but the only way this thing was gonna come to life was with plenty of old-fashioned hard work, so they jumped in with grinders a flyin'. Most people probably know The Roadster Shop builds chassis for just about anything you want, but they also do turnkey cars, trucks, and hot rods, so what you're about to see is a behind the scenes look at what The Roadster Shop is capable of doing amongst the 300-400 chassis they build every year.
Unfortunately, before Chad Glasshagel and Jeremy Gerber could get going on all the trick sheetmetal fabrication, they had to bring the stock tin back to ground zero. The truck was decent as far as dents go and didn't have many miles on it, which is usually the case with heavy-duty trucks, but they found rust up to their ears! What you'll see is the abbreviated story of all they had to go through to cut out and fix all the cancer after the cab was chemically stripped.
While the cab was out, the chassis was built so the '53 could go back together on a solid foundation comprised of all-new fabricated and back-welded 'rails built in-house by Chris Patzer. Once Chris was done with the boxed 'rails, Doug Leetzow installed the Heidt's Superide IFS that was pushed forward 4 inches to accentuate the modern design of the truck's stance. Out back there's a Heidt's triangulated four-link that keeps the 9-inch in place. The truck will sit on QA1 coilovers with Wilwood 12-inch cross-drilled and slotted discs to stop the monster World Products-built Merlin big-block that'll nestle down in the frame.
How's that for a tease? Read on for a pictorial introduction to what's happening to this '53 F-100 at The Roadster Shop, and stay tuned as we follow along until its completion, which will result in a full feature.
This was all they used from the hulk of the truck-just the doors and cab; kind of humbling
Never mind the frame for a minute, how about all that serious equipment around it! The guy
After Chris was finished, Doug Leetzow stepped in and set the chassis up by installing cro
The Roadster Shop builds a tubular dual-level center crossmember that adds plenty of beef
The dummy big-block, Tremec five-speed from Keisler, and Heidt's IFS are mocked up into pl
The Heidt's triangulated four-bar and Superide IFS are installed complete with rack-and-pi