1955 Ford F-100 - Modern-Day Magic

Classic Style with Contemporary Conveniences

Travis NoackMay 26, 2005
Photo 2/18   |   Click here to see more pictures!
Classic trucks are packed with character and loads of neat old-time features not found on today's technologically advanced, computer-controlled haulers. The trucks of yesteryear require good old muscle to roll down the windows to ventilate the cab and demanded excess force on the brake pedal to bring the heavy old sheetmetal to a halt. Navigating turns also becomes taxing while muscling with manual steering. All of this bare-bones character is usually accompanied by a million squeaks and rattles, the source of which, for some reason, can never be determined.
Getting behind the wheel of an all-original unrestored classic can take some getting use to, as compared to all the modern conveniences at your fingertips in a contemporary cruiser. However, when all the modern conveniences present on a new pickup are blended into a classic package, the driving experience is a plush, thumbs-up one, to say the least. Bill Allen of Riverside, California, is a classic truck lover at heart, who, like most enthusiasts, started out with a plan to build a conservative driver capable of spinning a few heads. Bill's story is not much different than that of any other enthusiast who took a project a lot farther than ever anticipated. The exception in Bill's case is that his truck was already in daily driver form when purchased and just needed some freshening up. Every time we have encountered someone who just wanted to build a driver, before they know it the body is coming off the frame, parts are sent out for powdercoating and polishing, and stacks upon stacks of hundred dollar bills are being tossed in all different directions.
Photo 9/18   |   Doused in the shiny stuff, this Vette mill looks as good as it performs.
According to Bill, when he set out to create the '55 F-100 featured on these pages, a budget and completion date were established and both were missed by a mile. As with most projects, addressing the underpinnings is usually the first order of business. After the 48-year-old metal was hoisted from the rusted and faded 'rails, the chassis was carted over to Merv McCormick, in Fontana, California, where the worn-out structure was boxed and graced with new front and rear suspension. Desiring a tight handling package with an ultra-smooth ride, Bill located a wrecked '91 Corvette and salvaged the 350 TPI engine, 700-R4 transmission, and rear differential for use in the old '55. The motor was delivered to Jim Meyer at RV Specialties in Riverside, California, where the block was filled with all new internals to ensure smooth operation. While the factory Vette powerplant was stuffed with new internals, the tuned-port injection unit was sent over to Street & Performance in Mena, Arkansas, for polishing. The 700-R4 gearbox was rebuilt at RV Specialties and fit with a custom shift-improvement kit to ensure gear-snapping, tire-burning performance when the go pedal is planted.
Photo 10/18   |   There is no substitute for detail. This Effie was taken down to the bare frame, and the rails look superb with polished plumbing lines complementing all the purple liquid. It doesn't get any more custom than this.
Over at Merv McCormick's shop in Fontana, the chassis was beginning to take shape with a fully polished Corvette rearend under the rear portion of the 'rails and front suspension from a '71 Nova. Before the 'rails were boxed, the polished transmission and brake lines were tucked away along with all the wiring. After all of the chassis engineering and detail work had taken place, the frame was coated from front to back in purple liquid to contrast against all of the gleaming chrome and polished suspension components. The frame's custom paint detail and polished goods were accented with 16x8 Budnik Blade Runner billet wheels dressed by BFGoodrich skins. The engine and transmission were installed and all the plumbing and electrical issues were addressed before custom attention was focused on the exterior.
Photo 11/18   |   A 4.5-inch chopped top brings the roofline of this old-school hauler down to a more acceptable level.
Now that Bill had the chassis and powerplant issues squared away, it was time to search for a reputable paint and body shop to carry out the laundry list of metal alterations. After searching for the perfect shop for the job, Bill found them right in his own backyard. Robles Auto Body in Riverside took the truck in and began to smooth the cab to perfection. The top was chopped 4-1/2 inches to accent the low attitude of the truck, while the rest of the metal extremities were molded in to create a unibody Effie. Smoothing the outer door skins was done by first shaving the factory door handles and grafting handles from a Toyota Celica. A custom roll pan was welded in out back and filled with billet taillights to smooth the tail-end appearance. Up front, the original sheetmetal was replaced with a custom fiberglass tilt front end, which was designed to be hydraulically operated. The keen eye will notice a fully molded front clip as the fenders flow seamlessly into the hood, and a custom roll pan bumper resides below. Moving back toward the rear, the F-100's factory box was molded up and smoothed to appear as one piece. The rear fenders were molded to the bed sides and running boards, to further promote the smooth scene.
After the metal was smoothed, sanitized, and successfully passed Bill's visual inspection, the pros at Robles rolled the truck into the paint booth and laid down a classy paint scheme to complement the extensive metal modifications now present on the exterior. The main hue gracing this heavenly Ford's skin consists of '91 Cadillac Pearl white spicing up the front and rear fenders, lower door skins, bed sides, tailgate roll pan, and hood. Up top, from the A-pillars rearward, the truck is doused in Dunn Edwards Purple paint complemented by an Orange stripe separating the hues for definition. Two orange stripes were laid into the purple in the upper door region and continue forward onto the hood for a little extra flash. Once the spray guns were put down and the fresh liquid was color-sanded and rubbed to a brilliant shine, inside spice was the only thing left to complete the F-100 of Bill's dreams.
Before any threadwork was performed, the truck was dropped off at The Audio Shoppe in Riverside for a kick-tail stereo system to liven up the cruising experience. Working with such small cab confines, the crew at The Audio Shoppe did an amazing job of designing a system that delivers tunes to driver and passenger ears with a vengeance. A custom speaker box was installed under the seat, housing two 10-inch Juggernaut subwoofers from MMATTS Audio in Riviera Beach, Florida. The professional sound experts at The Audio Shoppe fabricated a custom sheetmetal enclosure, which drops halfway through the floorboards to conserve space. Down in the cab's kick panels on each side rests MMATTS Audio 6.5-inch mid-bass speakers coupled with 4-inch mid-range speakers and a 1-inch silk soft dome tweeter. A pair of MMATTS Audio 1290 rear fill speakers throw tunes from the rear of the cab forward. Powering this impressive audio collection are three MMATTS Audio amplifiers, including a SQ2150 that drives the front speakers, a 1400 model that helps rock the bass, and a SMP 1290 model that delivers power to the rear cab speakers. An Eclipse 55090 head unit rests in the custom leather-covered center console, while the highly modified dash holds a DVD unit for passengers viewing pleasure. A second DVD unit acts as a rearview mirror and will display activity behind the truck on the in-dash screen. Now that the cab housed a state-of-the-art audio ensemble, some eye-appealing threads were put in place to complete the picture.
Photo 18/18
To capture the visual goals of style and functionality, Modern-Day Magic's interior was left to the capable stitching hands of professional upholsterer Ron Mangus of Fontana, California. Starting with a Tea's Automotive bench seat as the base, Mangus shaped the cab innards into a fabric work of art using miles of purple leather with orange trim thrown in for contrast. The leather was stitched over the seat, door panels, and the custom center console, and flows seamlessly onto the dash. A polished billet steering column topped by a Budnik steering wheel sets off the driver side of the cab, while VDO instruments housed in a custom cluster make the dash even more visually appealing. A Vintage A/C unit capped by billet vents helps maintain cockpit comfort.
Bill Allen has done an amazing job of bringing this old workhorse Blue Oval back to life and spends much of his spare time traveling with the truck to show off his efforts at several events. What started out as a modest project has resulted in an ultra-clean, take-no-prisoners show hauler that is a force to be reckoned with on the showfield. The craftsmanship and quality engineering present on this pickup are self-evident. It just goes to show that great things can be accomplished with patience and commitment.

MOST POPULAR

POPULAR TRUCKS

Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truckin
Magazine

PRINT DIGITAL
SUBSCRIBE TO A MAGAZINE
TO TOP