The old man who previously owned the truck had kept it in his barn for so long that he had practically forgotten about it. Even so, when Barry showed up to try to buy it, he had to go through some horse-trading to get the guy to part with it. But evidently, Barry is good at that kind of thing and after swapping some building materials for the hibernating pickup, he was able to get the '56 F-100 for himself.
That was around the year 2000. At that time, the only modifications to the '56 were the 289 engine and C4 transmission powering it. Barry wasted no time getting the truck back on the road, making up for more than a decade of lost time. In the early '00s, another long-neglected vehicle known as the Ernie's Camera Shudder Bug AA/Top Fuel dragster was restored, 40 years after a crash that put it into retirement. At the 2004 Hot Rod Reunion drags in Bakersfield, Barry's '56 served as the push vehicle for the dragster.
When Barry decided to have the truck rebuilt, he contacted Scott's Hotrods 'N Customs in Oxnard, California. Justin Padfield and the Scott's crew had previously built a couple of high-end cars for Barry, so he knew what kind of quality to expect from the shop.
The frame and frontend were the first areas to receive attention. Scott's provided a new square-tubing frame as well as a custom independent front suspension, with rack-and-pinion steering and Wilwood spindles to upgrade things at the forward end. In the back, a Speedway quick-change rearend was suspended with a four-link built at Scott's. Anti-sway bars, Aldan coilover shocks, and Wilwood 12-inch disc brakes were added all around for improved handling and stopping. The whole thing is carried by a set of 16-inch Smoothies from The Wheelsmith wearing 225/50R16 and 265/60R16 BFGoodrich performance radials.
The body and bed came next. Barry's stipulations were simple. He wanted to keep the driprails and the vent windows—and he absolutely did not want another F-100 with vise grips for door handles. Scott's was able to comply with those requirements, and even go a little further, restoring the sheetmetal to perfect shape and adding some low-key modifications to improve its appearance. The hood, grille, and cowl were shaved to clean up the lines, and the vents and marker lights were removed. Door corners were rounded and the running boards were reshaped. The bed was treated to just as much work. Side panels were rebuilt and seams and stake pockets were filled. The bumper was replaced with a fabricated roll pan equipped with nerf bars and Lokar oval LED taillights. Bed wood is black oak, protected by an electric lift tonneau cover from Pro's Pick. Jimmy Hartman from Oxnard painted the '56 with a Lexus color called Brandywine Mica. The wheels are finished in contrasting yellow with trim rings and '47 Ford caps.
The 289 and C4 are long gone, replaced by a 302 crate motor and Ford AOD. The engine is distinguished by Cobra valve covers and air cleaner, and fed by a Holley four-barrel on an Edelbrock intake. Custom headers and exhaust pipes were built to guarantee a perfect fit. A Vintage Air Front Runner engine component drive system keeps everything moving like it's supposed to.
Ron Mangus Interiors has designed and built interiors for numerous Scott's project vehicles (including the '33 Ford that won America's Most Beautiful Roadster in 2010). For Barry's '56, Mangus used beige and burgundy leather to cover a new Glide seat. Scott's redid the dash, replacing the factory gauges with a Classic Instruments Vintage Series five-gauge set, and creating a lower dash to house vents for the Vintage Air HVAC system. A Lecarra banjo wheel and ididit shifter column keep the F-100 heading the right way, and a Pioneer stereo system provides the soundtrack via Arc Audio speakers.
Now that this '56 is finished to trophy-winning form, you might think it's living a pampered life, but Barry says it was built to enjoy. He might not be using it as push truck for a dragster anymore, but that could change (he's working on one). He's also got a 1930's era Sprint Car he needs to haul—and a Brandywine F-100 that would make a pretty sweet tow vehicle.
Now that this '56 is finished to trophy-winning form, you might think it's living a pampered life, but Barry says it was built to enjoy.