1950 Ford F1 Custom Truck - Ol' Yeller
If you're 50-plus years old, you might remember the Disney film "Old Yeller," which is about a family in Texas during the post civil-war days. In the movie, a young boy named Travis comes across a stray dog, who he names Yeller, and it becomes Travis' best childhood companion. The story takes a tragic turn when Yeller fights a wolf in defense of the family, then contracts rabies and has to be put down. Poor Travis leaves his boyhood and enters his manhood. The movie was imbedded into every young child of that era for its poetic tragedy.
This feature is also about Old Yeller, only this time it's a '50 Ford F-1 that belongs to Bill Cariker, a stockbroker from Austin, Texas. Bill approached major league custom builder Jeff Lilly of Lilly Restorations in Helotes, Texas, which is a one-stop shop. The only things that were not done were chrome plating and engine internal balancing, everything else was done in-house.
Bill and Jeff's initial intention was to maintain a stock appearance at first glance, by leaving the door handles and door hinges. But then a few subtle body mods, such as a pancaked and chopped roof, a pie-cut hood, reshaped front and side nostrils, and chrome moldings really made it stand out. These cool body mods make onlookers ponder the way the massaged body shape looks so much better than stock.
The foundation of the '50 F-1 was the original framerails that were cut off at the firewall. A Heidt's Super Ride II front suspension crossmember kit with 2-inch drop spindles was grafted onto the framerails. The original framerails were then boxed for an improved appearance, along with added strength and rigidity. A pair of Alden adjustable coilover shocks suspend and dampen the front end, while a Heidt's steering rack takes care of the lateral direction of Old Yeller's leading edge. Out back, a Currie Ford 9-inch rear end was stuffed with a 3.25-inch ring 'n' pinion gear set. The rear end was suspended by de-arched leaf springs and dampened with a pair of Monroe Max-Air shocks. Old Yeller is stopped by a set of SSBC disc brakes, at all-four corners, that are linked by stainless steel hard lines and a stainless steel braided hose. A set of Boyd Coddington Classic II 16x7-inch front and 17x8-inch rear billet aluminum wheels were mounted onto BFGoodrich T/A 205/65R16 front and 255/55R17 rear radial treads.
Under the hood, we found a '95 Ford 302ci EFI V-8 crate engine from Ford Racing Performance Parts that produces 325 hp and is backed up to a T-10 five-speed manual transmission. Next, The driveshaft was shortened to link the T-10 transmission to the Currie-built Ford 9-inch rear end. Then, the battery mounting bracket was located onto the right rear framerail, situated behind the right rear tire. A pair of Jet Hot-coated, Sanderson shorty headers were modified to hook up to the 1/2-inch stainless steel exhaust that flows into a pair of Stainless Specialties oval direct-flow mufflers. Meanwhile, a custom-built 18-gallon fuel tank was mounted behind the rear axle and between the framerails.
The '50 Ford F-1 cab roof was pancaked 3 inches, then chopped 2-3/4 inches, while the hood was pie-cut 3 inches to achieve a more aerodynamic package. Due to pie-cutting the hood, the front nostrils had to be reshaped with a lower profile. The narrower hood nostrils and hood sides called for a new set of scaled-down molding trim and a Ford font size that was all hand fabricated from brass by Jeff, then sent out to be chrome-plated. Now, the custom-made front bumper fits tightly to the convex radius of the front valance, while the custom rear bumper fits underneath the tailgate. Following that, the cab, fenders, hood, bed, and tailgate were all prepped, sanded, and block-sanded to acquire a perfectly straight and smooth surface before painting.
An award-winning paint scheme is due to all of the prep work. The flawless paint comes from BASF Glasurit "Colors of the Parrot." Chrome Yellow was sprayed as the basecoat, then color-sanded and cleared with multiple coats of BASF Glasurit 923-109 clear. Meanwhile, a pair of '36 Ford taillights warn folks of Bill's intentions. A flawless bed floor was constructed by Spanish red oak planks that were tinted to the perfect shade, then separated by stainless steel stringers. A custom-made tonneau cover was designed to fit inside the bedrails, then covered with matching German baseball glove tan leather.
All of the stitchcraft was done by Jeff. A pair of custom-constructed bucket seats were shaped with high lateral side bolsters to keep the occupants in the seats while cornering. The seats were then covered with German baseball glove leather and stitched together. The cab floor was covered with plush pile looped tan carpet. Then, the headliner, cab walls, and door panels with custom-made armrests were all covered in cream tan leather. The dash maintained its stock appearance with white face vintage gauges encased behind a polished aluminum ball-milled cluster cover. A tilt steering column was capped by a 14-inch Spanish oak banjo steering wheel. The vintage tunes come from an Alpine head unit that is powered by a Rockford Fosgate 500-watt amp. A pair of 8-inch Alpine subwoofers were located behind the bucket seats. The Rockford mids/separates are hidden behind the sun visors in the headliner. The entire audio system was installed and wired by Jeff at his shop.
This '50 Ford F-1 was built with a major attention to detail. At first glance, Bill's F-1 appears bone stock with bright yellow paint, a lowered stance, wheels and tires. But upon closer inspection, you'll notice the subtle body mods that reshaped the '50 Ford F-1 into a design that Henry should have created.
Jeff Lilly RestorationsHelotes, TX 78023