The F-1 still sports lots of recognizable lines, but there are an equal number of modern t
If you are a regular reader of Custom Classic Trucks, you probably agree that vintage trucks have a distinctive style all their own. Modern trucks certainly have their advantages, but the nostalgic look of an older pickup wins us over every time. Even the most hard-core fan of the oldies, however, has to admit that they leave a bit to be desired when on the road.
Brian Flanagan, from Blacklick, Ohio, had an idea about blending vintage good looks with just enough modern technology to create the best of both worlds. Retired from the White Castle Corporation, Brian is enjoying life, especially now that he has time to devote to his latest project vehicle. After a 1968 Mustang and a 1968 Ranchero, this Ford enthusiast wanted to tackle a vintage truck and knew just where to look. His brother had owned a 1950 Ford F-1 pickup for several years but lost interest in it. Brian bought the truck, but after a close inspection, it became apparent that it would take a level of expertise beyond his own to complete it. Luckily, his good friend, Gene Wood, has been building custom vehicles for many years and was the perfect choice to handle the project. The build got off to a rocky start since many of the problems with the original truck were hidden under a layer of Bondo. They salvaged what they could and replaced the rest, using aftermarket parts.
Since everything starts with a good foundation, Brian opted for an unusual approach. Rather than modify the original running gear, the team replaced the 60-year-old chassis and suspension with a complete 2000 Ford Explorer chassis. In addition to the rock solid frame, this infusion of modern technology gave the F-1 rack-and-pinion power steering, power disk brakes, heavy-duty shocks, and sway bars. Icing on the cake came in the form of a custom-built 302 V-8, refurbished by Brian’s two sons, Keith and Kevin. The overhauled engine uses an Edelbrock Torker II intake with a 600-cfm Holley carb. Ford iron heads enhance free breathing while MSD ignition lights the fire. Mustang shorty headers and dual exhausts make quick work of spent gases. Once the engine was complete, it was mated to a Ford AOD trans for effortless cruising. The combination proved to be quick, turning in the low 14s on the strip. It has also been reliable with Brian accumulating 6,500 trouble-free miles in the last two years.
Once the mechanicals were complete, style was next on the list. Lots of folks like to return old trucks to original condition, but Brian wanted something that would turn heads. The door handles were shaved and the vent glass converted to single pane, power windows. The hood vents were eliminated and the front hood openings filled in. Sheetmetal panels were added to enclose the openings around the new bed, the rear end now sports a new smoothed tailgate, and a tight fitting roll pan mates perfectly with the curved lines of the rear fenders. Teardrop taillights from a ’39 Ford follow the vintage theme. In order to accommodate the new running gear, the original bed floor was raised approximately 8 inches, then covered with polished oak slats separated by stainless steel strips. Rounding out the upgrades, Brian sourced a set of fiberglass running boards and four fiberglass fenders to expedite the rebuild process. A motorcycle-style gas cap was built into the top of the driver’s side rear fender. The truck rolls on a set of 17-inch Boyd Coddington rims, 8 inches wide up front and 10 inches wide in the rear. Once all the custom additions were complete, Gene Wood sprayed the distinctive Dodge Viper Amber Glow on the bottom contrasting it with black on top and using twin silver separation lines, reminiscent of the ’55 Ford side chrome.
Inside, the interior begins with seats from a Ford Taurus, transformed with a mix of black and orange suede with the door panels and armrest design match the exterior graphics. There’s even a small center console between the seats that folds forward. A Classic Instruments gauge package lines the reworked dash and a fabricated lower panel holds the new air conditioning vents. Custom door panels incorporate the switches for the power windows and plush black carpet became the perfect finishing touch. The completed truck is great fun to drive and Brian and his wife, Linda, enjoy participating in car shows in the Ohio area. Brian notes with a smile that now, getting to and from the car shows is more than half the fun. With a reliable powertrain, there is no worry about 60-year-old technology. Sounds like the best of both worlds to us! CCT
In order to accommodate the modern powertrain, new sheetmetal was added to the bed floor,
The rear end is a neat blend of a smooth tailgate, custom rear pan, teardrop taillights, a
As reliable as it is quick, the 302 V-8 is paired with a Ford AOD transmission, ensuring t