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1956 Ford F100 - Big Sky Dreamin'

'56 Ford F-100

Bob Ryder
Mar 1, 2009
Photographers: Bob Ryder
Photo 2/14   |   1956 Ford F100 left Side Angle
Lynn Schoonover from Riverside, California, had been involved in building custom early model classics, and street rods for the past 54 years and came across a project '56 F-100 that was started but never completed by Mike Vandenberg. Due to illness, Mike couldn't wrap-up the Effie and sold it. Lynn was eager to recreate a dream he'd had for years and with his 4,000 sq. ft. shop conveniently located behind his spacious home he was able to build two men's dream truck.
The factory frame received a Plymouth Volare front clip with torsion bar suspension, Bilstein gas filled shocks, and disc brakes. The power brake booster is mounted underneath the cab floor. A pair of 18x8-inch American Racing Torque Thrust II polished aluminum wheels roll with Toyo Proxes T1-S 255/35R18 tires. To allow ample rear suspension travel, the rear framerails were C-notched. The rear suspension ride height was achieved by de-arching the leaf springs and inserting 2-inch lowering blocks. A pair of Bilstein gas-filled shocks dampen the rear suspension. A Ford 9-inch rearend was stuffed with new axle bearings, 3:55 Richmond gears, and a posi-unit to keep the power spinning both wheels.
The F-100's mega power comes from a true Ford 428ci V-8 Cobra Jet that was removed from a '69 Mustang. The engine was disassembled, cleaned, and machined. Then the engine was reassembled with all new internal and external performance components. A pair of 650-cfm Holley carburetors make sure the BDS 6-71 supercharger is not under-nourished as it force-feeds the mighty Cobra Jet. A pair of Hooker 17/8-inch ceramic-coated headers merge into 3-inch collectors and exhaust that flow into a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. An aluminum Griffin radiator with a 16-inch electric fan maintains a cool engine operating temperature during those hot summer nights. A Ford HEI system provides plenty of electric juices that travel through the Taylor 8mm ignition wires to their designated spark plugs. The Ford C6 three-speed automatic transmission received serious attention from the specialists at Art Carr Cal Performance. They installed all new internal clutches, bands, sprags, gears and servo. The C6 valvebody was also modified while a shift kit was included developing firmer shifts. A new 2,200 stall HD torque converter was slid onto the splines of the C6 input shaft.
The '56 Ford all-steel cab, front fenders, cowl, hood, front roll pan, doors, running boards, bedsides, and tailgate received both time and effort to make this '56 Ford F-100 an exceptional specimen of what attention to detail can create. The front fenders, hood, and roll pan were fused together, then molded seamlessly as one, creating a forward-tilting front end. The factory grille and headlight bezels received all new chrome. Tri-Bar crystalline headlights with turn indicators were installed into the freshly chromed bezels. The cab's lid was lowered five inches, the door handles were shaved smooth, and a pair of one-piece side windows were installed. A remote radio antenna disappears into a frenched cavity, located in the driver-side rear cab corner. The bedrail stake pockets were filled-in, the bedrail ends were capped and radiused. Beautiful walnut planks were laid across the bed floor and separated by polished stainless steel stringers. The taillights were cut into the rear roll pan. Each of the rear steel fenders were widened 2 inches to house the wide Toyo Proxes 295/55ZR18 tires. To start the painting process, House of Kolor Snow White Pearl was applied as a basecoat. The cab, fenders, hood, and running boards were masked before applying House of Kolors Violet Kandy that was sprayed over the Snow White Pearl. Two light green/dark green shaded graphics were sprayed onto each door panel. A ghosted pinstripe treatment was applied to the one-piece hood. Two colorful animated Tasmanian Devils cartoon characters were airbrushed under the one-piece-tilt hood and tailgate.
As the suicide doors are opened, we're exposed to the leather interior, with two-toned dash, Dakota Digital gauges, and a Vintage Air control panel. An ididit tilt steering column was capped with a Grant walnut banjo-style steering wheel. A pair of '85 Thunderbird bucket seats were covered in soft Swiss gray leather. The number 56 was embroidered into the seatback. A custom center console houses the electric window, windshield wiper, one-piece-tilt hood controls, and ignition key. Swiss gray leather was also used for the headliner and door/armrest panels. After installing Dynamat sound deadening material, purple wool carpet was laid down. A Clarion head unit and DVD player was mounted between the bucket seats. An 800-watt amp brings increased power to the system. The amplified tunes are heard through four six-inch mids located in the center console and two 6x9-inch mids located in the rear cab corners.
This blast from the past '56 Ford was built with some of yesterday's technology with attention to creativity and detail. This Effie draws a crowd when Lynn rolls into any show. The original builder Mike Vandenberg would be very proud.


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