When Clayton Welch passed away in 1976, he left behind a 1970 Ford F-100 longbed. The stock truck was in excellent condition, so his son Joe Welch brought it to his home in Plymouth, Michigan, and started driving it. That lasted for about 10 years. By then, the Michigan winters were eating away at it, and Joe decided to put it away until he could restore it as a tribute to his dad.
Joe's interest in fun trucks and cars stretches back to his pre-teen days in the late 1950s and early 1960s. "I don't want to tell too many stories about what I did when I was a kid growing up in rural Kansas," he said, so you'll have to imagine that. He never lost that interest—or his love for going fast.
In the process of collecting parts for the restoration of his dad's F-100, Joe found a 1970 shortbed stashed behind a garage. It had been firebombed, but he figured it would serve as a decent donor truck, so he bought it for $100. He also bought a 1971 longbed donor, and between the three trucks was able to restore his dad's 1970 to as nice as it had ever been.
When his dad's truck was completed, Joe had enough unused parts left over to start turning the $100 1970 shortbed into something cool. Rather than build another restoration, he decided to take this truck in a different direction. At first glance, it would look like his dad's stocker, but with a slammed stance and some big wheels and tires. Every glance after that would uncover more performance and appearance modifications. With help from Ralf's Rides and a number of Midwestern shops, the hot rod F-100 was finished in approximately a year.
Since the plan called for keeping the body looking stock, no modifications were made to the sheetmetal. Despite some damage from the fire, the condition was good enough for restoration. Some remarkable work went into bringing the body back to brand-new condition, complete with Ranger exterior trim and two-tone paint. Hot Marks in Greenfield, Indiana, performed the finish work. James Matthews used PPG paint to get the same red and white paint color scheme as the restored truck. There's no missing this truck, but just in case, illumination has been improved with Halogen headlights and LED taillights. The bed of the Styleside shortbed was finished with hickory, interrupted by a pair of plus-sized wheeltubs.
There wasn't much room left in those tubs after they were packed with a pair of 295/45R20 tires. Joe chose ultra-high-performance BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW radials, mounted on 20-inch Qualifier five-spokes from Center Line's Competition Race Street series. The front tires are 275/40ZR18s on 18-inch wheels. It's a combination that updates the truck, but suits the stock-looking body. In terms of proportion and performance, it's an improvement over stock wheels and tires.
The outside may look resto, but extensive modifications were made inside the cab. Navigator bucket seats heighten the comfort factor. Indy Auto Trim in New Palestine, Indiana, used ruby red and flame red Rave synthetic leather to cover the seats and custom door panels. A custom-built console runs between the buckets and houses cup holders, the shifter, an Alpine GPS unit, and JL Audio speakers for the Alpine stereo. The short shifter is topped with a Hurst Sidewinder shift knob featuring a switch button wired to a line-lock. Dakota Digital instruments replace the stock analog gauges in the stock dash. Engine speed is monitored by an Auto Meter Pro-Comp tach mounted on top the dash. The truck is guided by a Grant three-spoke wheel on an ididit column. A Vintage Air heat and A/C system keeps the cab comfortable.
The engine compartment was redone with a custom firewall and inner fenderwells. Mounted in the middle is a 468-inch Ford big-block with Cobra Jet heads, built by Jon Kaase Racing Engines in Winder, Georgia. It's tame compared to what Kaase builds for the dragstrip, but it's Godzilla next to anything it would meet around town. In fact, Joe said the challenge was getting the engine to calm down enough so he could drive it on the street. JKRE packed the cylinders with 13.2:1 Venolia pistons and Carillo rods turning a Sonny Bryant crank. With a Barry Grant King Demon carburetor and Edelbrock manifold feeding it, and an MSD ignition lighting it up, the engine puts out 745 horsepower and 657 lbs-ft of torque.
Custom headers and 3-inch exhaust pipes connect to MagnaFlow mufflers with a pair of MagnaFlow dual tips extending past the rear. A March Performance serpentine system dresses things up in front.
Rockland Standard Gear assembled the Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed, sending torque to the 3.70:1 Ford 9-inch by way of a PST aluminum driveshaft. The rearend is located by a parallel four-link setup. The Mustang II style frontend is from Art Morrison Enterprises. A wishbone Panhard bar in the rear, front and rear antiroll bars, and Strange Engineering adjustable coilovers at all corners smooth out the ride. With a Right Stuff booster and master cylinder plumbed to 13-inch Wilwood disc brakes, stopping is never a problem.
Joe loves the outcome, not only for how well this pickup was built, but also for the fact that his hot rod 1970 F-100 shortbed is the perfect counterpart to the unidentical twin restored 1970 F-100 longbed that belonged to his father. The similarities and the differences are immediately apparent, but just in case, the two trucks can be identified by their front tags: DAD'S and SON'S.