1957 Ford F100
Project Shop Truck
Now that the movement to keep building had started – it was time to get a truck to work. We needed something to haul engines, transmissions, frame parts, and well… maybe a boat.
I was looking at 1953-56 F100 trucks, but with a small cab I wanted something larger. So I started to look at 57-60 F100 and of those I only like the single headlights of the 1957. I also wanted to look for a shortbox. Two tall orders these days now that trucks are popular.
I got lucky. I found one that was basically in pieces for $1,000 and the journey began.
351M with 400 Crank
Performer Intake and Edelbrock 4 Barrel
Mild Shift Kit
Interior: Red 2006 F150 Seats
Exterior: SEM Hot Rod Smoke
Power 4 Wheel Disc Brakes
Power Tilt Steering
So this purchase actually came after the 1956 Ford Parklane. It came to our realization that we needed something to haul parts and cars around and we didn’t want to drop $60k+ on a new truck.
In enters this truck. It was found in a local Craigslist ad. The owner’s brother in-law was coming for a family renunion and ended up finding this old truck and brought it along thinking he would want to restore it. He didn’t. Instead he wanted to build a 60s Mercury truck instead and so for sale it went.
Our theory with any build is: Build first for safety, second for reliability, and last for looks.
In this case, that really applies as it was going to be used as a truck and work. It would get dings, dents, and scratches. So in that vein, we decided to build it as a 1960s/70s style shop truck. Make it look decent, but far from perfect. Not a rat rod or patina build, something closer to what a cheap shop truck build in the 70s would have looked like – before these classic cars were worth anything.
The first decision was chassis with safety in mind. The original solid axel and drum bakes just didn’t provide that – so we went with a Mustang II IFS kit from Total Cost Involved that provided a more modern suspension, disc brakes, and power steering. To match that up, we went with the parabolic leaf spring kit from TCI for the rear with the original 9″ rear end along with a disc brake conversion kit from LMC Truck. To complete the brakes, we used a dual 7″ diaphragm power brake booster. To continue with safety, we moved the gas tank out of the cab and went with a 1970 Mustang gas tank installed in the rear of the frame under the bed. Last but not least for interior safety we went with 2006 Ford F150 seats that had integrated shoulder belts in the seats.
The second part is reliability. The original straight 6 was there, but it was shot and ended up in the scrap. Now this is not a common engine to go with, but it was one we ended up with for free. It was a 1977 Ford 351M and we thought it was cool it was 20 years older than the truck itself. After some research, we decided to source a 400 crank, did a 0.0300 bore, added a minor performance cam, Edelbrock Performer intake, and a 1406 Edelbrock with electric choke. Lastly on the engine, we went with an HEI distributor and the entire truck was new wired with a Painless Wiring setup. To back up the engine (which is around a 406 now) we went with a C6 Automatic. Reliability solved.
The last part is looks. As we knew that this truck would be a worker and get damage, we wanted it to be easy to fix when that happened. So the interior was rattle can Tremclad safety red. Seriously. The exterior was SEM Hot Rod Smoke – a single stage 2K paint – and the trim was done in Tremclad aluminum. If it gets scratched, sand it and paint it again. Much of the body work was repaired with mild customizations such as removing all the badges, but its not perfect. The idea was a 70s shop truck, not a show queen. We decided to go all the way with the shop truck concept and took our logo design to a print shop. Punched holes into it and used pounce powder. Traced this out on the door and hand painted the logo on both doors.
The truck is doing what it was intended to do. It has already hauled loads to the dump, full suspensions, multiple engines and transmissions, boats, and many more plans of things it will haul in the coming weeks.
She will never be spotted in a car show, because that’s not what it was built for.