Some guys are just born to be truck guys. Take Sean Smith for example. At the tender age of 15, his father bought him a '56 Ford F-100 project the two could work on as Sean's first truck. Not a bad first set of wheels but it turns out Sean's dad had an ulterior motive as he too learned to drive in a '56 F-100. The Effie had a 272ci V-8 engine that the two tuned up before they placed the truck up on blocks to go through the brakes and drivetrain. Over the course of the next six months, the underpinnings of the '56 were slowly dialed in, with Sean sneaking a twist of the key every chance he got to hear that V-8 purr.
That was nearly 25 years ago, but as much as things change, they stay the same. Now a married man with a young son, Logan, Sean still finds time to work on old trucks and his latest proves that the youngster who started out by chasing dad at the car shows asking questions has learned a thing or two hanging out with the old man.
Sean purchased a '71 Ford F-100 back in 1998 from the same family who purchased the truck new. It was equipped with a six-cylinder engine backed by a three-speed gearbox and was in need of a few minor cosmetic touch-ups but all in all was in great shape for a 27-year-old truck. Sean found a '78 Ford F-150 that gave up its 302ci engine and C4 transmission along with the disc brakes and power steering to replace the stock parts in the '71. It was in this guise for about a year until he decided to blow it apart for body- and paintwork. It would be three more years until the truck was back on the road.
During this time, Sean tore the F-100 down to its bare chassis so that every nut, bolt, and bracket could be detailed. Up front, a pair of 3-inch dropped I-beam axles from AiM with 2 inches removed from the stock coils helps bring the front end down 5 inches over stock while dearched parallel leaf springs and lowered hangers out back help bring down the rear 7 inches. The front suspension components are made up of the aforementioned '78 F-150 items while the stock 9-inch rearend still sits out back. A set of polished Torq-Thrust wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle rubber finish off the stance of the F-100, with 16s up front and 17s at the rear.
To power the Ford, Sean used the engine and trans combo that he pulled out of the '78 that was rebuilt by Dale Etheredge using a Wolverine cam and lifters, Weiand intake manifold, and Edelbrock 600-cfm carb. Sean sought out another junkyard Ford, this time in the guise of an '86 Crown Vic that gave up the serpentine belt setup for the A/C, alternator, and power steering components. A custom air cleaner was fabricated using a spare hood under which sits a pair of '87 Mustang valve covers.
The majority of time however, was spent on the long list of body mods that Sean proudly says he did himself. Many of the factory seams and features on the bed, cab, and front fenders have been filled or deleted. The vertical rain gutters that run along the back sides of the doors were deleted, the seam that wraps around the back of the cab has been filled along with the passenger-side door lock. The bed also received quite a bit of finesse with both the horizontal and vertical seams welded closed, the stake pockets filled, and a rear roll pan that has been blended into the bedsides. To allow for extra storage, the bed floor was mounted 5 inches higher than stock. The tailgate was filled and a third brake light was added at the top, while the latch was moved to the inside. Last but not least, Sean used two hoods to form one pie-cut, sectioned hood. Once all the mods were complete, Sean sanded the truck straight before shooting the entire kit and caboodle in single-stage PPG Dark Green.
Inside the cab, Sean removed the dashpad and filled the mounting holes and deleted the stock radio, ashtray, and heater controls. In their place went an Alpine head unit and Vintage Air climate controls for the Gen II Compac A/C unit. A set of five Stewart-Warner Wings gauges mounted in a custom billet aluminum panel also replaced the stock gauge cluster. Atop the '72 van steering column sits a Lecarra Mark IX steering wheel wrapped in tan leather to match the Rod Doors interior panels installed by Sean. An '89 F-150 donated its bench seat, which was covered by Gene Payne.
After all that hard work, Sean tells us that the truck has been relegated back to its daily driver status regardless of its show truck appearance. And with a nod as Truck of the Year for the '67-72 class at the 2004 F-100 Supernationals, you can bet that Sean's F-100 is definitely doing double duty!