1956 Ford F-100 - The Princess
A Fairy Tale Story Lies Behind The Goodguys Truck Of The Year
In this line of work, much of our day revolves around finding the best trucks possible to bring to you each month. Of the trucks we feature, the majority of them are found at shows we attend throughout the year. There are those special trucks, however, that we seem to have been hearing about or following for years. Don Hachenberger's '56 Ford is one of "those" trucks.
You see, it all started four or five years ago (who's counting?) at No Limit Engineering in San Bernardino, California. Owner Rob MacGregor had been doing work for noted Tri-Five-Chevy guy Allen Law. Allen had a friend and business associate who was looking to build a truck, and he even went so far as to talk the build over with Rob. No Limit got started on the project through Allen and made a fair amount of progress that first year or so. Then at the F-100 SuperNationals in 2000, a total stranger walked into Rob's booth and said, "So, how's my truck coming along?" Well, that stranger of course turned out to be Don, and the two have become pretty good friends in the years since. The original plans for how the truck was to be built, however, pretty much went out the window.
From the original truck, most of the cab was used, as well as one door, and that's pretty much it. What started as a mild build quickly escalated into what would become one of the most all-out over-the-top builds in F-100 history. The starting point was a handbuilt No Limit tube chassis, which was reworked a few times to incorporate all of Rob's ideas. The front suspension is a No Limit Wide Ride setup, but most of the components were built using polished 304 stainless. Kugel spindles and Wilwood brakes were chosen, and the frame sits close to the ground, thanks to a set of Firestone 2400 airbags on handbuilt mounts. Out back, a stainless Fat Bar four-link connects to a Dutchman IRS unit complete with inboard Wilwood brakes and Air Ride Technologies ShockWaves - all chromed or polished, of course. This already amazing suspension was also fit with Firestone's Intelliride air management system, which finds ride height at the touch of a button. Once the whole assembly was dialed, the frame and No Limit fuel cell were sent out for powdercoating before it was reassembled with hundreds of polished parts.
The engine is another aspect of the build that, by all accounts, got totally out of control. Don wanted a big Ford engine with all the bells and whistles, but that does not even begin to describe this powerplant. The 460 block was bored and stroked until it was a 610, and then it was balanced, blueprinted, and filled and topped with the very best parts available, such as JE pistons and aluminum Pro Stock heads from Ford Motorsports. On top of the handmade intake is a BDS 14-71 blower topped with an EFI setup from F.A.S.T. And that's not the half of it. The entire engine is plumbed with stainless hard lines (the entire truck is, for that matter), and you might notice the absence of a few key items in front of the engine - namely the radiator and all of the engine's accessories. That's because they're all located under the bed floor. The accessories run off of a separate driveshaft powered off of the crank pulley. It's a simple system but one that draws a crowd at any show and leaves many scratching their heads.
The tilt front end and bed was yet another pair of ideas that Rob came up with and Don insisted be incorporated into the truck. The stock cab was completely smoothed over and mated with a highly modified Gibbon front end and rear fenders, and an equally modified Pro's Pick bed. The truck is about as smooth as can be but still retains the stock door handles and front fascia. A No Limit roll pan with flush-mounted LED lights are molded in below the smooth tailgate. And since there are no mirrors on the truck, the rearview camera is mounted there, too!
Jobe and Kane of Jimenez Brothers Customs handled final body and paint. There the PPG custom Orange mix was applied and rubbed to perfection. From the relocated wheel openings and smooth running boards to the smooth gutters and rounded door corners, the Princess has the smoothest lines an Effie can offer. But then with a touch of a button, the actuators actuate and the truck opens up into an exploded view of itself. It's quite a sight to see.
Since no amount of money or talent was spared anywhere else on the truck, the inside of the cab got the royal treatment as well. Rob built the custom dash and center console from scratch. An ididit column topped with a Billet Specialties steering wheel runs through it, and a total of 12 Auto Meter gauges are mounted around it. Even the B&M shifter is custom. Wanda's Custom Upholstery handled the rest, which included radically reworking a Glide Engineering seat before covering it with cream-colored leather and a few bellies of genuine Florida gators. The headliner, floors, and door panels were covered to match, but not before the killer CD/DVD system from Tune Time was installed.
If you ask Don, he'll tell you that none of the amazing work on this truck would be possible if not for Rob MacGregor and the crew at No Limit. Ask Rob, however, and he'll explain to you how rare it is to have a customer like Don. Although an extremely qualified builder, many of the aspects of the Princess were just ideas in Rob's head before this. But Don had the confidence in Rob to let him run with those ideas and produce something great. And now that Don's '56 has won the Peoples Choice award at the 2004 F-100 SuperNats and the coveted Goodguys Truck of the Year award in Fort Worth, we know we're not the only ones that think so.