Editor's Note: Getting your truck into Readers' Trucks is a snap, of the camera, that is. All it takes are a few good-quality photos of your ride that are in focus and well lit. High-resolution digital photos can be sent in via email to: email@example.com. Traditional prints are also acceptable and should be sent to: CCT, c/o Readers' Trucks, 1733 Alton Parkway, Irvine, CA 92606. It is important that you include a detailed description of the modifications you have made to your truck, including any interesting stories behind it. Due to the volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot return photographs.
Ask any number of truck enthusiasts what got them started down the path of restoring and modifying vehicles and you'll no doubt get a myriad of answers. In the case of college student Nick Polidoro, the seed was planted before he was old enough to drive. Hidden Hills, California architect/builder Ray Polidoro spotted a slightly renovated '55 Ford F-100 that he figured would make a great first car for then-15-year-old Nick. Ray also saw the build as an opportunity to engage Nick in a learning experience and enjoy some quality father and son bonding. Accordingly, the Polidoros set plans for finishing what was initially a fairly straightforward project. Then Ray's wife, Darlene, made it perfectly clear that she didn't want her son to be driving "some old clunker truck." It had to be safe and dependable.
So Ray and Nick charted a new course of action; one that would see the venerable F-100 virtually taken down to the bare frame and rebuilt from the ground up with a selection of components that ultimately set it apart from others in the same genre. A key participant in the build was Ray's cousin Richard Koerner, an avowed gearhead with an abundance of expertise.
A Plymouth Volare front clip was grafted to the boxed F-100 frame, creating a lower stance, and with it came a compact, sturdy independent front suspension. It stood to reason that the old Mopar frontend would be totally disassembled, "keeper" components bead-blasted and refinished, and the control arms zinc-plated. Fresh OEM-style shocks contribute to the F-100's comfortable new ride, with a Volare power steering box guiding it through the turns. For stopping power, a set of Wilwood disc brakes were employed front and rear.
In the aft end of the F-100, a 9-inch Ford rearend assembly was put to work, with a Heidts polished stainless steel four-bar rear suspension eliminating any chance of wheelhop. A set of Heidts billet coilover shocks complete the package.
Under the hood, a small-block Ford engine lives where Henry originally placed a Y-block V-8. But this is no ordinary 302 Blue Oval powerplant out of some donor Mustang; it's a 460-cubic-inch monster based on a World Products Man O'War 302/351 block. In the 9.500-inch deck height block is an Eagle 4340 forged steel crank with similarly alloyed forged H-beam connecting rods and Mahle forged aluminum pistons. The heart of the engine is a hydraulic roller setup from Crane Cams.
The aluminum cylinder heads (205-cfm intake) are manufactured by Air Flow Research and fitted with 2.080-inch intake and 1.600-inch stainless steel exhaust valves, Crane valvesprings and Crane Gold Race aluminum roller rocker arms. Nestled on top of the heads is a polished Edelbrock Air-Gap intake manifold and an 850-cfm Holley double-pumper carb. Polished billet aluminum Ford Motorsports valve covers and air cleaner, plus a full assortment of 12-point ARP polished stainless steel fasteners add the finishing touch, while a Crane Pro-Curve billet distributor, Crane LX91 coil, and a Crane HI-6 ignition box provide the firepower. A polished stainless steel firewall reflects the dazzling engine.
Wizard Cooling is responsible for the custom-built polished aluminum radiator, which is augmented by four shrouded fans that pump out 4,000 cfm of air.
While Ray and Nick didn't have an opportunity to put the engine on a dyno, computer calculations estimate its output at approximately 550 horsepower and producing 525 lb-ft of torque-more than enough to move the candyapple red beauty along quite smartly. The exhaust system consists of Jet Hot-coated Sanderson headers and a pair of throaty two-chamber Flowmaster mufflers, with a 3-inch diameter stainless steel exhaust (the aft section beautifully polished) constructed by FabTech of Chatsworth, California.
Bolted to the engine is a modified C6 automatic with a polished aluminum case built by famed drag racing tranny guru Marv Ripes and A-1 Automatic Transmissions (now relocated to Vancouver, Washington). A-1 also built the 13-inch diameter torque converter. A custom Wenco driveshaft, powdercoated and equipped with 1350-series U-joints, connects the C6 to the 9-inch rear, which is equipped with a nodular iron third member containing a 3.25:1 SVO ring-and-pinion.
One unique aspect of the truck is its competition-style electrical system crafted by Steve Sanett, a neighbor of the Polidoros. A bank of circuit breakers are mounted on the frame, adjacent to an Optima battery, with soldered and shrink-wrapped aircraft quality wiring neatly routed to the truck's extremities.
A major visual with the Polidoro F-100 is the gorgeous candyapple red paint applied by Star Auto Body. Prior to laying down the hues, Star also shaved the doors and fitted them with remote opening mechanisms, removed the front and rear bumpers in favor of roll pans, recessed the rear lights and gas filler neck, and shaved the driprails. This baby is smooth!
The grille has been chrome-plated, Cibie headlights employed, and the truck bed fitted with varnished oak planking and polished stainless steel rails.
On the inside of the cab the stock dash has been fitted with Auto Meter gauges; with an ididit steering column, Grant steering wheel, and Kenwood stereo system adding the finishing touches. The stock bench seat, door panels, and headliner were redone by Chatsworth Upholstery using a combination of tan leather and cloth. The carpet mats are Bentley cut pile, black with black piping.
Some three-plus years and many thousand man-hours later, the project was completed-and rewarded with a massive Best Truck trophy at the famed Saugus Speedway Oldies & Goodies Show. That's the good news. The bad news is that Nick hardly has a chance to enjoy his ride, as it's too nice to be a daily driver, and spends the majority of its time with the family at car shows and cruises. Mom likes that.