1955 Ford F-100 Pickup - Engineered Effie

Taking a vintage Ford pickup to a beautifully completed restomod.

Travis Noack
Jun 2, 2005
Photographers: Travis Noack
Photo 2/16
Finishing a project truck to perfection is a glorious goal to achieve. There is nothing like standing back and staring at a tangible, rolling result of years of late nights, lots of wrenching, and the investment of loads of greenbacks. The process of building a custom hauler is difficult, with the stresses of family, work, and those annoying pieces of mail that arrive at our residence every month commonly referred to as bills. But once you receive the first thumbs up, all the hard work is worth it. Taking the extra time to do certain steps right while using good parts makes all the difference in the world. One thing is for sure: patience is a key ingredient in the successful completion of any well-crafted custom pickup. A rush job looks like a rush job in the end. Dale Mastell of Escondido, California, is a retired engineer who had eight years of that key ingredient patience when he set out to build the stunning silver '55 F-100 displayed across these pages.
Photo 3/16   |   Classic-styled 15-inch Budnik Famosa billet wheels doused with chrome-plating were wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber and tossed on to perfectly complete the classic truck picture.
It took close to a decade to build this masterpiece Effie, and by the looks of things, it was well worth the wait. The project began when Dale and his son Troy decided to embark on a truck project when Troy turned 16 and started driving. After they settled on a mid-'50s F-100, they began the hunt for a suitable platform. The father and son team located a perfect specimen in Southern California that was equipped with oversize wheels and tires and caked with dirt and mud. The truck was used as a hunting and off-road vehicle in Wyoming and had definitely seen better days. On the way home, two tires went south and the rear differential was destroyed, so within the first week, the truck was stripped to the bare frame and prepped for a whole new look. As life has a way of changing the direction people go, the son portion of the team had to abandon the project due to other priorities. Dad pressed on with determination, doing a little every day to complete the masterpiece. After eight long years, he ended up with a gorgeous truck and a feature in the best custom truck publication on earth.
Starting with the chassis and suspension, Dale delivered the stock frame structure to No Limit Engineering in San Bernadino, California, for a more contemporary suspension setup that would get the truck down low and riding smooth. The professionals at No Limit grafted on a Plymouth Volar front clip to slam the nose, and installed Chrysler 11 3/4-inch disc brakes for increased stopping power. Out back, a set of mono rear leaf springs brings the ride height down and regulates ride control. Chrome shocks from Pro-Formance Shocks dampen the ride. Setting off the stance in classic hot rod style are 15x7-inch front and 15x10-inch rear Budnik Famosa billet wheels, which have been drenched in blinding chrome coating. Cushioning the killer billets is BFGoodrich rubber measuring P235/60R15 up front and P275/60R15 in the rear. After the suspension and chassis modifications were completed, Dale took care to coat the frame in gloss black for rich shine and detail. Now that the foundation (frame) was complete, building up a potent powerplant was the next hurdle Dale needed to clear to get one step closer to completion.
Photo 4/16   |   A Ford in a Ford is not something you usually see these days. A '75 Ford 351M V-8 occupies the compartment, and has been outfitted with a PAW camshaft, an Edelbrock intake and carburetor, Sanderson headers and Jardine mufflers. A host of polished and chromed goods provide detail to complement all of the performance.
Powering the Engineered Effie is a '75 Ford 351M V-8 built mildly for reliability and detailed decadently for show appearances. Machine work includes 0.030-forged pistons along with the stock steel crank turned 0.010 under while being radiused and chamfered. The block was stuffed with a PAW RV grind cam and topped with an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold and 600-cfm carburetor. A custom HEI one-wire distributor from DUI and MSD wires handle ignition chores. Ear-piercing exhaust noise comes compliments of a set of Jet-Hot-coated Sanderson headers followed up by 2-1/2-inch-diameter Jardine mufflers and Stainless Specialties polished stainless tips. Dale's son Troy is the Product Manager at Jardine Performance Exhaust in Corona, California, so naturally, Jardine mufflers were used for a portion of the exhaust cycle. Cooling the beast down when Dale's right foot gets a bit heavy is a custom two-pass radiator with a polished upper tank hand built by Matson Radiator in Stanton, California.
Cabin Fever
To make the inside as stunning as the exterior, Dale smoothed most of the stock dash and filled the ashtray. Modern conveniences including power windows from Nu Relics and door locks from Auto Loc give the interior a more contemporary feel. An interior panel kit from Rod Doors covered in gray and purple tweed adorns the door panels and headliner. A custom console in the headliner was built by Dale and houses the JVC head unit, while a custom seat frame was fabricated to house a center armrest with storage. The seats were upholstered in gray and purple tweed by Escondido Auto Upholstery. The folks at EAU even laid down German Square weave carpeting over the floorboards to complete the smooth inside touches. Keeping things cool is an air-conditioning kit by Air Tique, while tunes are cranked through a JVC head unit with Polk Audio and Cerwin Vega speakers. A shortened Chevy van tilt steering column was swapped in place of the factory column and topped with a LeCarra Classic steering wheel.
Photo 5/16   |   Polished stainless inner fender panels reflect the detailed engine images beautifully and add another element of eye candy to the detailed compartment. All this horsepower and show detail is visible thanks to a front tilt hood kit from Classic Performance Products.
To make the engine look as good as it performs, Dale splashed the motor with a B&M polished aluminum air cleaner, Ford Racing aluminum valve covers, and polished and chromed brackets. Polished inner fender panels lend additional detail to the rest of the polished aluminum and chrome. The whole ensemble is viewed using a polished stainless front tilt hood kit produced by Classic Performance Products. Backing the beast up when the throttle is planted is a Ford C6 transmission beefed up with a B&M Shift Improver Kit and linked to a custom driveshaft, which hooks up to a stout Ford 9-inch rearend. Once the drivetrain was completed, Dale set out to clean up the rough, 47-year-old sheetmetal that had received quite a beating during the truck's hunting and off-roading days.
Photo 6/16   |   All of the serious bodywork is at the tail end, with a smoothed and flattened tailgate, Billet Specialties oval taillights located in a custom roll pan, and filled bed end caps.
Since the body was fairly beat up, Dale replaced items such as the rear fenders and running boards with fiberglass units to save time on bodywork chores. Before serious metalwork began, PSC Metal Stripping dipped the front sheetmetal, bed, and cab to remove old paint and body filler. The front steel fenders were straightened, while the stock tailgate was smoothed of its original Ford logo and complemented by a custom roll pan, which has been filled with Billet Specialties taillights. A Starbucks LED third brake light was frenched into the back of the cab for additional body mod styling, while filled cab seams, heater grille, and airscoops further smooth out the scenic picture.
Photo 7/16   |   The front end of Engineered Effie was left basically stock, with the exception of the new Quartz Halogen headlights, a painted grille, and stainless replacement bumper.
A set of Quartz halogen headlights from RB Obsolete accentuate the front end features, and a stock stainless steel bumper and painted grille bezel complete the front end nicely. A Hagan Street Rods fuel door was cut into the lower cab region for easy fueling at the pump. Underneath the hood, Dale took the extra time to smooth the firewall in order to clean up the now-spotless engine compartment. The stock door handles and badging were left intact to capture the timeless classic truck appearance, and the whole truck was expertly coated by Dale in a classy PPG Silver Mist hue with House of Kolor Blue Pearl laid into the clear top coats. As the buildup entered the homestretch, the truck was well on its way to achieving show success and magazine attention.
For cruising entertainment, Dale installed a JVC CD head unit backed up by Cerwin Vega 6x9-inch speakers, and Polk Audio DX mids and separates located in the kick panels. A glance at the factory dash reveals the elimination of all factory holes and the ashtray. Dale Mastell has created one slick F-100 with elegant styling and superb detail and craftsmanship. Eight years is a long time to wait for a dream to take shape, but based on the results, it was well worth it to be patient with the buildup. Engineered Effie is the result of a strong family working together to achieve a custom truck goal. The most commendable part of the reconstruction is the fact that the majority of it was done at home by a dedicated enthusiast; it's a refreshing exception to the trend of farming out custom trucks to paint, interior, suspension, and performance shops. It looks like Dale's ego is in for a serious boost, as this Effie is sure to get a ton of attention and bring home a lot of gold.

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