When Sonny Goulet brought his '51 Ford pickup to Art and Mike Chrisman's CARS shop in Santa Ana, California, back in early 2006, his initial intentions were to have the Chrisman's freshen up the Flathead engine and polish up all the aluminum bits. Slapping a blower on the Flatty was also brought up to the boys and it was then that Art informed him that the cost of doing the Flathead over was about the same as building a blown 392 Chrysler. Being the only non-Ford engine Sonny would consider dropping in the F-1, the decision, as he puts it, "was a no-brainer." But the addition of the early Hemi engine soon turned out to not be the only upgrade made to the truck.

Having bought it from his brother back in 1977 as an original, Flathead six-powered truck, Sonny drove it as his daily driver for a number of years before tearing into it as a ground-up restoration. Among the various cosmetic upgrades Sonny made, he also decided to replace the Flathead six with a Flathead V-8 backed by a C4 transmission. It was in this guise that Sonny drove the truck for another 20 years, earning many awards in his travels, before it ended up at the Chrisman's shop.

With the decision made to pull the Flathead to make room for the slightly larger 392 Hemi, a number of other items demanded attention as well. The C4 transmission would also have to come out, with a TH400 going back in its place and the stock rearend would also have to be upgraded with a Currie 9-inch Ford unit with disc brakes to handle the blown Hemi's power. Up front, the stock axle was dropped and received disc brakes as well to help rein in the power of the big Chrysler. Steering responsibilities were doled out to a '79-92 Toyota 4x4 box mated to the stock steering column. The chassis configuration was then mounted on a set of black steelies with caps, shod in BFGoodrich rubber.

Having been driven for 20 years since Sonny last restored it, the exterior of the truck was also given the same attention as the underpinnings, receiving PPG black acrylic enamel shot by Tony Magusin. The stock trim pieces were also polished or replated before being installed once again.

Inside the cab, the Chrisman's turned their keen eyes towards the creature comforts of the truck, having Milton's Upholstery stitch up a full black leather interior. United Speedometer rebuilt the stock gauges before Mike Swan wired all the electrical components together, including a Vintage Air A/C unit and a Sony CD player, using a custom loom. Retaining as much of a stock vibe as possible, Sonny had Steering Wheel Restoration restore the original 16-inch Ford steering wheel before installing it back on the stock column. Of course, one of the most visible aspects of any truck is the bed, which received equal attention as the rest of the build by Phil Whetstone.

What started as a simple freshening up of Sonny's restored F-1 became a snowball of sorts as these build oftentimes do. Rolling into CARS as a Flathead-powered resto and leaving as a Hemi-powered hot rod is not what Sonny had originally intended but it's not hard to talk most car guys into adding more bang for their buck. The addition of the added ponies from the Chrysler necessitated a number of upgrades that soon reared itself into a full-on restoration but hey, sometimes it's just too hard to say no.