Whether you like it or not, you've got to admit that Doug Klapstein's slogan for his '56 Ford F-100 would make for one hell of a campaign ad: Built Ford Tough With Chevy Stuff. If that doesn't sound like something that would sell out shelves, then we don't know what would! It might anger some Ford aficionados, but hey, it's all about controversial advertising nowadays, isn't it?
Doug and his wife, Julie, picked up this '56 back in '87 to be their workhorse on their horse ranch. The truck was all original and included some way rad factory upgrades like the big window out back, a 272 V-8, and more. It was perfect for what they needed, and it looked cool as well. The Klapsteins originally intended to use the truck to pull double duty running errands and carrying bales of hay, but just like Elvis said, only fools rush in, and before too long Doug had a soft spot for the truck and had to make it a part of the family. And like any family member, it got the royal treatment.
One of the few mods the previous owner had done was to install a 3-inch dropped axle, which Doug wasn't too fond of. So his first order of business was to yank the axle out and replace the front suspension with a Second Gen Camaro clip that also included a 350 small-block Chevy motor. With the front settled, Doug wanted to outfit the rear with disc brakes, so he pirated a Lincoln Versaille 9-inch (which came factory-equipped with rear disc brakes) and installed it out back. For the next few years, Doug continually made upgrades on the Ford, but it wasn't until after a discussion with longtime friend John Dudder that he realized what needed to be done: a complete overhaul.
Doug wanted the truck to be perfect, so he sent the '56 up north to Hot Rod Fabrication in Auburn, Washington. Hot Rod Fabrication completely disassembled the '56 down to pieces. From there, every piece was either dipped, bead-blasted, or steam-cleaned. Then the frame was thrown up on a jig, where it went through an onslaught of modifications. First off, the frame was completely boxed in, any unnecessary rivets were ground down, and any holes no longer needed were filled in. From there, all the factory crossmembers were replaced with tubular crossmembers, and the frame horns were modified as well. Lastly, the Camaro clip received some superficial work, which included swapping the stock Camaro arms out for a new set of Fatman Fabrications tubular Camaro control arms with Eibach lowering springs. Next up, the chassis was powdercoated, and the rearend was reinstalled using custom rear spring perches, shackles, and leaf springs from Southwest Spring in Tucson, Arizona.