"I used to see this truck at a fish camp my dad took me to when I was a kid," Ron Jones told us. "It was in upstate New York, and they used it to haul firewood and blocks of ice, back when they still cut ice off the frozen lakes in the winter and stored it in warehouses-back when people had an ice box, before electric refrigerators."
The fish camp must have been waaaay upstate New York, because this '52 Ford F-1 is really a '52 Mercury M1-in Canada Ford trucks were badged as Mercurys so this truck came back across the border. [Editors' note: In Australia an F-1 was badged as a Freightliner.] At the time, Ron's dad owned a Mercury dealership, and in the early '70s, when the camp owner decided it was time to retire the Merc, he sought out Ron's dad and asked if he'd be interested in buying the truck. By then, Jones' dad had sold the Mercury store and owned a Chrysler dealership, so he passed-but called his son and told him the old truck was for sale. Ron jumped at the chance, and bought the tired old truck.
Never having been pampered, it was in pretty rough shape, and Ron would spend the next 10 years, on and off, putting the truck into the condition you see it here. In the late '70s Mustang II frontends were the height of DIY swaps. Fat Man Fabrications (a relative newcomer back then) offered a crossmember-buyers needed to source their own control arms, rotors, and racks from the junkyard. "Chuck's junkyard owed me some favors, and they gave me the control arms, discs, power rack, and a 9-inch rear, too." Out back, Ron left well enough alone-almost. "The Fat Man kit recommended removing all the rear leaves except the four longest ones, so that's what I did to get the rear end down. It looks good, and rides great," Ron said. Ron added a dual-reservoir master and power booster under the floor, bolted up a set of 15x6 and 15x8 steelies wearing Coker skins, and called the chassis done.
Power comes from a '58 283 that was given a stock rebuild many moons ago, updated with later 350 heads, an Edelbrock intake, and four-barrel carb tucked under a Stellings-style air cleaner. A stock HEI fires it, with headers and twin Smithys giving it the perfect sound. A rebuilt TH350 with a Gennie shifter puts the power to the rear tires.