1948 Ford F1 Pickup - Tennessee Thunder
Paul and Carol Gerritsen from Dandridge, Tennessee, have been street rod and truck enthusiasts for the past 25 years. Some of their previous rides have been a '37 Chevy coupe, '37 Ford coupe Pro Street, '47 Ford convertible, and a '39 Nash with a 392ci Hemi shoehorned into the engine compartment. After taking an early retirement from the Delmarva power and electric company nearly a decade ago, Paul and Carol have been able to spend more time pursuing their passion of owning and showing their cool rides. Three years ago, Paul got the itch to have another custom ride built. After searching the Internet, he discovered his latest project on eBay. Paul called the owner in Florida, made the deal and Paul received the pink slip when the owner delivered the truck a couple days later. For something different Paul decided to build this beautiful '48 Ford F-1 Pro Street pickup.
The 1948's foundation is a boxed, stepped, and reinforced Ford frame that was constructed by Chris Nash at Precision Rod & Customs in Sevierville, Tennessee. A Scott's Super Slam Mustang II independent front clip was grafted to the framerails, then upper and lower control arms, two-inch dropped spindles, a front sway bar, and Ford rack & pinion steering was added. A Zoops GM-style power steering remote reservoir and a pair of Air Ride Shockwave pneumatic 'bags completed the front suspension. A narrowed Ford 9-inch rearend was stuffed with a Moser 3.50 ring & pinion and Moser Tru Trac 28-splined billet axles. The Ford housing was suspended by a heavy-duty four-link system with a Panhard bar and Air Ride Shockwave airbags. The braking was handled by a set of Wilwood disc brakes with polished four-piston calipers and 13-inch drilled and ball-milled rotors with an emergency brake. The rolling stock consists of Schott Performance Camber 18x8-inch front polished aluminum wheels and 20x15-inch wheels in the rear. The Schott wheels were encased with Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R 26x8 tires up front, and massive Mickey Thompson S/R 33x18x20 meats in the rear.
A healthy 406ci Ford V-8 produced 618 lb-ft of torque at 3,700 rpm and 542 hp at 5,000 rpm. The block was bored 4.390-inches, stroked to 3.980 inches, and given 9.0:1 compression by Bob Meyers at Performance Automotive Machine & Engines in Greenville, Tennessee. A B.D.S. intake was capped with a B.D.S. 8-71 blower for the ultimate in go-fast power. A pair of Quick Fuel Technologies SS Series 650 cfm carburetors deliver the precise air/fuel mixture into the blower. The B.D.S. aluminum bug catcher mounted atop the carbs draws in fresh air. The burnt exhaust exits the cylinder head exhaust ports into a set of Sandersen ceramic-coated headers then flow into a pair of Flowmaster 40-series mufflers. A Steve Long aluminum radiator was installed with a 17-inch Cooling Components electric fan to assist in cooling. The built Ford C6 transmission was equipped with a 2,400-rpm stall torque converter.
This '48 underwent some 46 body modifications to achieve its aggressive identity. Paul hooked up with Eric Brockmeyer of Brockmeyer Designs in Viera, Florida, to discuss a professional rendering that would reveal many of the subtle body mods.
J. R. Carnes at JR's rods and Customs from Maryville, Tennessee, performed the 4-inch chop of the roof, suicided the doors, and fabricated the front and rear grilles. Converting the factory doors to exercise a suicide opening and closing action with hidden hinges presents a real hot-rod look with the chopped top. Chris Nash, at Precision Rod & Customs located in Sevierville, Tennessee, installed a '41-'48 Ford car dash from Bitchin' Products. To achieve a cleaner appearance of the engine compartment, the cab's firewall was filled and smoothed. To achieve cleaner doors, the vent windows, door handles and side moldings were removed. A pair of Aeroduct vents were grafted into the hood sides, and a blower scoop opening was cut into the top of the hood to allow the B.D.S. bug catcher to periscope out into the fresh air. The redesigned one-piece frontend received an extended lower valance that was blended into the grille and fenders, with a reshaped grille opening. A custom grille and headlight rings were fabricated and chromed to house the '03 Jeep Liberty headlight assemblies with LED turn indicators. A pair of smooth running boards were shaped to fit the fenders and cab. A '66 Chevy bed was narrowed, reboxed, and skinned. The one-piece rear bed section/roll pan was fitted with a custom chrome grille and LED taillights. Chris capped and smoothed the bed stake pockets and bedrail caps. The bed floor was fully tubbed and carpeted to house the narrowed and 'bagged Ford 9-inch rearend housing and four-link suspension. Battery access and hidden storage was also incorporated into the bed floor. A Pro's Pick tonneau cover can be activated with electric remote actuators allowing the tonneau cover to be raised and lowered by the key fob or switch inside the center console.
The crew at Precision Rod & Customs did the final bodywork and paint. After the entire sheetmetal was massaged, it was primered with four coats of PPG primer. It was then block-sanded to remove any ripples or defects in the surface. The body was then given its blessing by Chris, who sprayed it with PPG DBC-Kiwi Pearl Green (custom mix), and PPG Kiwi Peal Gray (custom mix). The basecoat was then covered with three coats of PPG clear. After ample cure time, it was then wet-sanded. A serious cut, buff, and polish treatment brought out the flawless, glistening pearl green and gray two-tone hues. Brian Papa at Papa Studios, in Atlanta, Georgia, laid down some steady pinstripes to divide the two pearl colors.
Todd Kirk, at Kirk's Kustom Upholstery in Corryton, Tennessee, showcased his interior stitchwork. Todd covered the reworked '97 Acura bucket seats to fit the F-1 interior with Finesse Hunter leather. The Finesse Hunter leather was applied to the custom door and kick panels. A one-piece olive green Passion suede headliner consumed the entire roof and cab corners. Chris, at Precision Rod & Customs insulated the cab interior floor, walls, kick panels, and door panels with Dynamat before Todd installed the Emphatic II brocade pile carpet. The boys at Precision Rod & Customs fabricated the center console to house the Air Ride switches/gauge panel, along with the windows, and tonneau cover switches. The instrument pods were filled with Auto Meter Sport Comp black-faced gauges. A Wire Works Express System wiring harness was installed connecting all of the truck's electrical components.
Paul and Carol would like to thank Precision Rod & Customs, JR's Rods & Customs, Performance Automotive Machine and Engines, Papa Studios, Kirk's Kustom Upholstery, and Eric Brockmeyer Designs for collaborating their gifted talents and skills to produce this wonderful masterpiece. They say that there is nothing louder than Tennessee thunder and that holds true to Paul and Carol's '48 Ford F-1. You'll hear it before you see it.