How many times have you thought something was going to be absolutely killer, yet when it was all said and done it just lacked luster? Or maybe something you thought would be totally lame ended up being way cool. It's just the toss of the dice; you never know what you're going to get. When Rob Boardman set out to finish his '54, one could say the end product wasn't what he expected.
Rob has had his '54 Ford since he was 16, which tallies to a bit over 30 years. He had always wanted to fix it up, but just like every truck aficionado, he had to take care of the ABCs in life first. Close to 10 years ago, when his sister called and said he needed to get the truck out of her barn because she was moving, he made the trek from his Kansas home to California to retrieve the '54. You could say this was just the incentive he needed to get the ball rolling.
Back in the land of wheat, Rob tore the truck down to the point of no return. When he had finished all that his abilities had allowed him to, he passed the baton off to Ron's Restoration to pick up where he left off. Rob had always wanted the '54 to retain the same look as it did when he was 16, but he also wanted the truck to drive like a modern-day vehicle. To accomplish this, Ron installed a Heidt's Super Glide Mustang II frontend. Along with IFS, rack-and-pinion, and coilover shocks, Ron also installed Wilwood binders for the ultimate in stopping power. Due to the powerplant Rob had in mind, traction was going to be key. Therefore, Ron whipped up a custom ladder bar setup for the Ford 9-inch rearend that rides on coilovers. Keeping things all in the Ford family, Rob ordered a 2000 Ford 4.6 DOHC Cobra motor from Sean Hyland Motorsports. Besides the added ponies of Dart pistons and a Sean Hyland custom-ground cam, Rob also spec'd the motor with every chrome accessory possible. Once finished, the 438hp puppy, capable of revving up to 6,300 rpm and camouflaged in chrome, was dropped between the framerails with a Ford 4R75W tranny from a Mach I Mustang backing it.
Although the truck is more than a half-century old, Rob has owned it for most of its life, and he has kept it stored away out of the elements. Add all that up, and what Rob had was one solid truck that calculated into very little bodywork. Besides the usual ding repair and block-sanding, the only bodywork entailed a molded-in rear roll pan, a third brake light, and a reworked tailgate without chains.
With that in the past, Dennis Johnson of Ron's Restoration sprayed the F-100 in PPG Vibrance Midnight Sapphire Blue. Complementing the deep blue paint is an oak bed floor and American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels wrapped in Hoosier rubber. In the front are 15x6-inch rims, and out back are beefy 15x12-inch hoops with 31-inch Hoosier shoes.
The last step was to move inside and create an interior worthy of the exterior. Ron started off by pirating a seat from an '85 T-bird. From there he built a custom center console, installed an ididit column with a Lecarra steering wheel, and popped in VDO gauges. Adding the finishing touch, Steve Stedman reupholstered the T-bird seat along with the rest of the interior in black and charcoal Ultra Leather.
Although Rob has dreamed of building the truck of his dreams since he was 16, now that everything is finished, the best part of the truck is something he didn't dream of: the experiences he has had. Whether it's driving to events, meeting new friends, or simply cruising around town with his wife, Martha, nothing can top the enjoyment he gets from the truck, no matter how good it looks.
Dig the chromed-out 4.6 Cobra...
Dig the chromed-out 4.6 Cobra motor from Sean Hyland Motorsports.
Keeping a Ford in a Ford,...
Keeping a Ford in a Ford, literally, is this recovered '85 T-bird seat. Along with the new seat are VDO gauges, an ididit column, a Lecarra steering wheel, and a Lokar shifter.
Ron's Restoration installed...
Ron's Restoration installed the lustrous-looking oak bed floor separated by stainless strips.