1948 Ford F-1 - Red Rooster

Pete's 1948 Ford F-1 Pickup

Bob Ryder
May 26, 2005
Photographers: Bob Ryder
Photo 2/15   |   1948 Ford F1 front View
Early-model trucks were originally purchased with one thing in mind, to be workhorses, whether on a farm, ranch, construction site, or helping out the local handyman. Many lived their productive years on farms doing various chores around the barnyard and out in the fields, which is where many saw their last days. Some never rolled down the interstate. Like all old things, old pickups accumulate a lifetime of experiences both good and bad, during which character and integrity are their only rewards. Many were left abandoned in fields, barns, and garages, where the natural aging process of deterioration begins to bare blistered paint, rust, and rotting wood. Classic custom truck enthusiasts purchase these old, weathered, beaten-down early-model pickups with intentions of transforming them into show-'n'-shine winners.
Pete Dimuzio has been building street rods, customs, race cars, and off-road vehicles for the past 20 years out of his homestead shop. He purchased his latest creation, a '48 Ford F-1 pickup, from a gentleman who had it held captive in his backyard for 15 years. Retracing the old truck's lifetime, Dimuzio discovered the Ford was bought new in '48 by a chicken farmer. The pickup never left the farm (and was never registered) until a gentleman dragged it home and parked it in his backyard. After throwing down five Ben Franklins, Pete hauled his latest treasure home, where it was fully disassembled and constructed in Pete's 2,000-square-foot, three-bay shop, which he had built adjacent to his gorgeous ranch-style house. This shop is a custom truck enthusiast's dream. This flawless masterpiece took 2-1/2-years to complete.
After blasting the original frame, removing years of grease and dirt, Pete welded in motor mounts, a front crossmember, brake and fuel line tabs, and then it was off to the powdercoater. A 9.5-inch Dana rearend was transplanted from a Chrysler Cordova, and stuffed with 2.70:1 ring-and-pinion gears and drum brakes. To achieve the descended rear ride height, E&C Spring in Escondido, California, de-arched the rear springs. The front suspension, which uses stock spindles, springs, and Bilstein shocks, is also from a Cordova. The front disc brakes are plumbed using steel brake lines to a No Limit Ford dual master cylinder, Ford power booster, and Mustang proportioning valve. A Chrysler Cordova power steering box was mated with a '78 Chevy Monte Carlo tilt steering column. BFGoodrich Comp T/A P225/50R16s up front and P275/50R16s out back wrap around Billet Specialties polished aluminum wheels (16x8 inches in front and 16x10 inches in back).
Photo 9/15   |   1948 Ford F1 engine Bay View
The '01 Chevy 350ci crate engine with a Vortex high-rise intake manifold is matched with an Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor. The engine develops a dependable 330 hp, ideal for a boulevard cruiser. A 100-amp alternator produces plenty of juice to maintain the HEI distributor and ignition system, eliminating any electrical gremlins. A Stewart water pump was installed with an auxiliary electric fan to produce a higher flow rate. Rick's Radiator in Escondido, California, hand-built the radiator. To establish the throaty sound, a pair of HPC-coated 1-5/8-inch-diameter Hooker headers were bolted up to the cylinder heads; 2-1/2-inch-diameter dual exhaust tubing flows into a pair of Hooker Turbo mufflers. A Chevy 350 automatic transmission with a B&M Shift Improver Kit backs up the Bow Tie crate engine.
The all-steel '48 Ford was stripped to bare metal, then the fenders, hood, cab, running boards, and bed were massaged by Dimuzio in his personal shop. A late-model GM gas filler door was relocated on top of the right rear fender. After he decided on a special blend of PPG Porsche Red, Ernie Garcia of Oceanside, California, sprayed endless coats of color and flawless clear. The incredible gold-leaf and burnt-orange pinstriping was applied by Pete "Hot Dog" Finlan. Up front, halogen headlights light up the road, while the rear displays the classic stock taillights. The stainless grille, badging, hood, side vent molding, door handles, and front and rear bumpers have all been reworked and polished. Pete stained and installed the beautiful white oak bed floor with stainless stringers.
Inside the cab, the hand-crafted gray tweed and leather interior showcases the talents of the team at Armando's Upholstery in Santee, California. Before the dark-gray pile carpet was laid down, a layer of Dynamat was installed to deaden the road noise and dissipate engine and exhaust heat. A pair of van bucket seats were purchased at a swap meet, then re-foamed, reshaped, and covered in plush gray leather and tweed. Tweed-covered door panels are enhanced with custom-formed leather armrests. A stylish scalloped tweed headliner finishes off the interior dcor. The dash is accented with a custom billet-aluminum gauge cluster machined by Lindey Machine in Oceanside, California. VDO gauges display the engine's vital signs. To accommodate the passengers with a consistent comfort zone, Pete installed a Vintage Air air-conditioning system. A Sony head unit with Rockford Fosgate amps and boosters power both the high and midrange speakers located in the lower kick panels. Ground-shaking 12-inch subwoofers are located behind the seats.
Pete and his wife Darlene drive to all the show-'n'-shine events up and down the West Coast, displaying their pride and joy, attracting both attention and awards. Pete built the '48 with full intentions of presenting it to his son, Pete Jr., after he graduates from Arizona State University. What a great incentive to achieve higher education.

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