When Wake Forest, North Carolina, native Steve Hill came upon this '54 Ford F-100 about a dozen years ago, his first impression was, "How the heck did somebody get this poor truck so messed up?" Like the saying about too many cooks spoiling the stew, the '54 clearly needed a new chef.
With a few customs already under his belt, Steve had a new inspiration behind this build. You see, Steve's son, Tyler, was always following his dad out to the garage. As a result of this early connection to the '54, Steve figured the truck could serve as an apprenticeship of sorts-a way for him to pass on values and knowledge to his son. This sat well with Steve's wife, Kim, as long as it didn't involve any grocery money, so Steve and his young son started an MDK account for funds. That's "mama don't know," for the uninitiated.
Starting with a frame boxed in the front for strength by Allan Bonner Custom Frames in Raleigh, North Carolina, and fitted with a custom crossmember, Steve utilized the front power steering box and suspension from a '72 Nova and attached a pair of GM 11-inch front rotors and calipers for enhanced stopping power. The rearend was a Ford 9-inch with 3:73 gears that was deemed usable after close inspection. The rear is now suspended by a four-link system of unknown origins riding on a pair of Carrera coilover shocks. Rear braking is courtesy of a fresh set of stock drums, with the truck rolling on Goodyear Eagle tires mounted on timeless five-spoke American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels all around.
After a couple of years of laying this groundwork, Steve was caught up in keeping his business in the black, and the truck took a back seat to more pressing issues. But during that time, Steve let Tyler play a little hooky from school so they could attend the F-100 Super Nationals for four years straight, gleaning ideas and all the while adding to their MDK account and Tyler's interest.
When the pair got back to work after their four-year hiatus, a '93 five-liter H.O. Mustang motor had found its way onto the frame. The powerplant came topped with a Vortech supercharger and EFI. Spent gasses exit through a set of Hedman Hedders and are kept quiet enough to keep Johnny Law happy thanks to a pair of Borla Turbo mufflers. Linking the motor to the 9-inch differential is a '93 Ford AOD tranny with a Gennie shifter and a frame-mounted cooler.
The bodywork was handed over to Steve's friends at The Local Hot Rod Shop located in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Johnny and Billy from The Shop filled the seams, installed a smooth firewall, trimmed the side exhaust cutouts, and frenched the antenna mount, one of the ideas Steve and Tyler admired from their trips to the Super Nats. They found the rear cat's eye lighting at a local show and deemed it unique enough to fit the bill, and a pair of stock blinkers snagged from a Harley-Davidson turned custom found their way onto the truck as turn signals. Since then, it seems Tyler has caught the two-wheeled custom bug as well. Covering the fresh five-liter motor is a stock hood that's been given a subtle forward slant for a more aggressive look.
For the bed floor, Steve and Tyler opted for a wood kit from Dan Carpenter, then color-matched it to the body. The rear of the stepside bed features a smoothed tailgate with hidden latches, plus a custom roll pan below. Inside the cab, the stock dashboard was smoothed, and a billet dash cluster was packed with classic analog VDO gauges combined with Dakota Digital gauges, plus a Rainbow Products A/C unit for creature comfort. With the bodywork completed, the '54 was turned over to Steve's friend Bill McDonald in Wilson, North Carolina, where Bill shot the pickup in Estate Green Dupont paint.
While the paint was being color-sanded, final details like the brake lines and Ron Francis wiring harness were installed by Steve and Tyler. The interior is Tyler's own blend of old and new. He tore the covers off a pair of Mercury Sable seats reupholstered in his choice of mahogany and brown distressed leather by Todd McCloud. The 54's stereo consists of an Alpine tuner with a Rockford Fosgate amp and speakers.
As Tyler's mom tells it, "Many lessons were learned by the young builder. Values like setting goals, persistence, patience, and self-discipline were well worth the hours and dollars the pair have devoted. Through the years of the '54 and other projects, Steve has had the chance to teach Tyler things a person can't learn in school," including managing that all-important MDK fund.
Topping off the tilt ididit...
Topping off the tilt ididit steering column is a Grant flat-spoked mahogany-rimmed steering wheel.
It might sound a little redundant,...
It might sound a little redundant, but the American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels mounted on Goodyear tires are an American classic.
The '54's interior was color-coordinated...
The '54's interior was color-coordinated to Tyler's specifications. Todd McCloud stitched the upholstery in genuine leather.
A Vortech supercharger is...
A Vortech supercharger is responsible for giving the '93 5.0 Mustang motor extra grunt. Hedman Hedders coupled to Borla stainless steel mufflers keep things relatively quiet.
Dennis Carpenter was the source...
Dennis Carpenter was the source for the wood bed floor and hidden tailgate latches.