This was the third ‘56 Ford pickup I had built, but it was also a lot of firsts--the first truck/hot rod I built when I opened the shop and the first filmed for Hot Rod TV. This truck belonged to a friend who had a Ford pick-up in high school that he and his dad built as his first vehicle. He later sold it and always missed it. Obviously, I have a soft spot for this model, so helping him recapture his glory days with this Big Window Ford F100 was a fun project for me.
I ran tubing through the chassis and up to the engine so none of the electrical is visible. I welded a four-link suspension with a 19-gallon fuel cell. The air lines are also run through the chassis. The panels on this truck were pre-painted--a $20,000 Huggar orange paint job by George Gray--so precision was required. We were also prepping this truck for the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California, so our goal was absolute perfection.
The truck may be a Chevy, but the engine is a ‘58 Chrysler blown hemi that pounds out 740 horsepower. The transmission is a B&M Turbo 400, so this baby will haul. We used 13-inch Wilwood brakes, 3-inch Magnaflow exhaust, a 3-inch driveline from Inland Empire Driveline, Vintage Air for climate control, Dynamat and TCI suspension with Ride Tech air ride. The steering column is Flaming River and the steering wheel is Boyd Coddington. We also used a Mattson radiator and a Kwik Wire 14-circuit wiring harness.
By the time Hot Rod TV picked up the tale of this truck, the puzzle pieces were coming together. We had redesigned this truck at every turn. Every inch was pre-planed, and we added many custom touches. The classic wood-plank truck bed was in the classic 50s style. Metal rails hold the planks together. A gas filler is also in the bed because we moved the gas tank.
We welded the center console out of steel and worked with Bill Dunn on a custom interior that really makes the whole truck. We used Boyd Coddington wheels to add some sparkle, and Mothers provided the detail work to make this beauty glow on the floor. When it was all said and done, we ended up with a second-place award, which wasn’t bad for our first attempt. But this truck doesn’t just look good--it hauls. Driving this rig is a pleasure that I hope my friend enjoys for many years to come.