More often than not, when someone starts to construct a customized classic truck, they have a complete body, and they decide on a drivetrain as the build progresses. For Bob Wells of Laguna Beach, California, it was the exact opposite. He already had the engine and transmission he wanted to run, but he was minus a platform, and not just any brand or year of truck would do. Like many people, Bob regards the big-window '56 Ford F-100 as the "deuce" of pickup trucks, and that was exactly what he was after. The search for the perfect donor to receive the Boss 429 Ford engine Bob had tracked down on eBay was one that took him from driving up to Northern California to hopping on an airplane and flying to Kansas City, Missouri. The process took a little longer than Bob had anticipated, but he eventually found what he felt was the perfect truck.
After a nationwide search, Bob ended up buying his '56 big-window less than 30 miles away in Lake Elsinore, California, from Bob Carvajal, the proprietor of Bobco Auto. For those who don't know, the name Bobco is synonymous with some of the nicest '56 F-100s around. This '56 in particular was perfect in the sense that Bobco already had the body in paint, but the drivetrain definitely had to disappear. You see, with a nickname like "Boss" Bob, it's pretty much a no-brainer guessing that Bob doesn't care too much for anything that isn't made by the Ford Motor Company. When we spoke with Bobco, we were told that "Boss" Bob specifically stated "no GM junk on his truck." In addition to pulling the Chevy engine and transmission back out of the '56, even the tilt steering wheel column had to be yanked out because it had a GM ignition key and switch in it.
At the heart of the truck is a Boss 429 "Boss" Bob bought off of eBay from a guy in Beaverton, Oregon. Once the 429 arrived in Southern California, it was hauled over to Mascar Auto in Costa Mesa, where engine builder Ken Maisano pulled it down to see if it was ready to run as promised or had a few eBay surprises in it. As it turned out, the Boss motor was a little worn out, but not entirely junk. Knowing that anything about a Boss 429 is big dough, Ken went out of his way to ensure the rare engine would have a few more rebuilds left in it. Instead of buying off-the-shelf 0.30-over pistons, Ken ordered a custom set of 0.20-over Ross pistons with a 10.25:1 compression ratio. In keeping with an original specification, Ken used a solid-lifter cam, but it was a special grind with a 510-lift from Cam Motion. Behind the Boss motor is a beefed C-6 three-speed automatic tranny from Dave Dibbs at Orange County Transmissions.
With the engine and transmission dropped back into the frame by Bill Brown at his shop, Rod Tech, in Costa Mesa, Bobco's crew hung the Kugel rearend with 3.55:1 gears into the truck, and it was ready for Russ at Mesa Muffler to perform his magic custom-bending exhaust pipes to surround a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. Since "Boss" Bob's '56 originally started out as a truck that Bobco was building for himself a little at a time, it remained on the back burner for around four years before "Boss" Bob entered the picture. Hence the paint and bodywork on the truck was around four years old when the truck changed hands. Needless to say, not only was this amount of time passing proof-positive that the truck was absolutely rust-free, but it was definitely cured before it was reassembled. If someone had to pick out one feature above all about a Bobco-built truck, it would certainly have to be Bob's ability to turn out an absolutely flawless paint job. Of course, a perfect paint job doesn't mean a thing if it isn't followed up with a high level of craftsmanship. Again, this is an area where Bobco's crew really excels. To handle the interior accommodations, a seat robbed from a '68 Dodge van was covered in creme UltraLeather to match the rest of the upholstery done by Elegance Interiors of Upland, California. For looks and comfort, a Grant wood-rimmed steering wheel takes care of the steering chores, while ice-cold air conditioning comes from a dash-controlled Vintage Air unit.
With it all said and done, "Boss" Bob ended up with a perfect example of what the "Deuce" of trucks should look and act like when completed: super-clean and real mean.
A pair of Harley-Davidson air cleaner shells top dual Edelbrock AFBs mounted on a Weiand h
For rolling stock, the '56 sports BFGoodrich T/As mounted on 15x8-inch steelies from Wheel
The IRS rearend from Kugel Komponents of La Habra, CA, costs big dough, but it's awful pre