Look familiar? It shouldn’t, because unless you live near Edmonton, Alberta (350 miles north of the Montana/Canada border), this is probably your first look at Lorne Soloview’s beautiful ’56 Ford F-100 Stepside.
Lorne grew up with this truck, literally. He was born in 1956, the same year his grandfather, Chester McCutcheon of Athabasca (150 miles north of Edmonton), bought the brand new pickup.
“This truck forms my earliest childhood memories,” he told us. “Granddad and I delivered cream into town with this truck when I was three years old. He taught me how to drive when I was tall enough to reach the pedals at seven. He taught me how to steer and shift and was unfazed when I drove the truck through a barbed-wire fence.”
After 10 or 12 years of general farm duties, the ’56 was not re-registered. For the next 30 years, it sat in the back quarter of the farm with scrap equipment. In 1999, Lorne decided to indulge his penchant for custom vehicles by transforming the farm truck of his childhood into the daily-driven custom truck you’re looking at. “My cousin, Brad McCutcheon, used a frontend loader on his tractor to pluck the F-100 from ‘scrap row’ and long-time friend Richard Erickson trailered the hulk back to Edmonton.
So what does it take to turn a former farm truck into this kind of custom? Starting underneath it all, the stock truck framerails were boxed to strengthen them, and C-notched to lower the truck four inches in front, giving it a nice rake. Lorne added 1978 Volare spindles in front, along with Gabriel shocks. The rear features a Total Cost Involved four-link set-up with Aldan adjustable coilovers. Wilwood polished discs with cross-drilled rotors provide reliable stopping performance. As a finishing touch to the chassis, he used polished stainless steel bolts throughout.
Paul Bernard at Egbert Street Rods in Edmonton handled the bodywork. The F-100 body is all steel except the fiberglass rear fenders, and received no major reshaping—just some cleaning up. Front and rear bumpers are eliminated and all hardware, trim, and emblems have been removed. The front fenders were bobbed and the rears widened three inches. Doors were rounded and cowl vents were filled, and the hood was converted to forward tilt hinges. The headlights are from Lucas and the original taillights were swapped for aftermarket lights from Billet Specialties. For the two-tone paint scheme, Lorne selected a timeless combination of pearl white and a tangerine custom mix. Virtual chrome side trim is an example of amazing airbrush work by Dave Dunbar of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The stock grille shell was rechromed in contrast to the paint.
The Billet Specialties traditional-style Legacy rims with knock-offs are from the Vintage Series, with 17s in back and 16s up front. BFGoodrich Comp T/A rubber measures 275/60R17 and 225/55R16.
Powering the truck is a GM Performance Parts Ram Jet 350 crate engine. The EFI engine is dressed with plenty of contemporary accessories, but the custom shroud with traditional flames over the intake plenum adds a touch of late ’50s hot rod style—in addition to a little color—underhood (bet Granddad would like that). A second shroud tops the radiator. A pair of ceramic-coated block hugger headers funnel the exhaust into 2½-inch pipes and through a couple of Borla stainless mufflers.
A Gear Vendors overdrive kit was installed to split the gears in the TH700R4 transmission. At the other end of the shortened drivehaft, a Ford 9-inch rearend with 4.10 gears turns the Strange rear axles.
Lorne moved through the cab, updating and modifying practically everything. The clean look of the 1956 dash was only mildly altered. VDO gauges replace the stock instruments, and a lower panel and center console were created for the Vintage Air controls and vents. The WaterFall steering wheel and polished tilt column are from Flaming River. The shifter and pedals are from Lokar.
The truck probably had rubber floormats when Lorne learned to drive it; it’s got wool carpeting today. The old bench seat is now an eight-way-powered 40/20/40 bucket/armrest combo covered in tan leather, the handiwork of Cascade Interiors in Calgary. They’re heated, too (it gets pretty cold on the Canadian prairie). Did you notice how the door panel design mirrors the airbrushed trim on the outsde? An Alpine stereo head unit is hidden under the seats and features remote control. Subwoofers are positioned in the rear corners with mid-range speakers in the front kick panels. Egbert Street Rods helped with the stereo installation, and Granddad probably would probably enjoy that, too.
The transformation from scrap heap relic to trophy-winning magazine feature truck was not an overnight one. It took seven years of work to build, but has been getting respect since making its public debut at the Edmonton Powerama. In between trips to the winner’s circle, Lorne keeps the ’56 on the road, cruising with his wife Hazel and their daughter Whitney. The days of dairy deliveries and through barbed-wire fences are part of the past, but Lorne says the F-100 that’s been part of his whole life is still creating lasting family memories. CCT