In addition to good old-fashioned friendly competition, the build-off between Custom Classic Trucks' Gasser-style '72 Ford F-100 and Classic Trucks' new-age retro custom '68 F-100 was conceptualized to provide our readers with a selection of tech features geared to address solutions ranging from getting the most bang from one's buck to cost is no object.

Since our goal of having the '72 ready to roll and attend Rod & Custom's Americruise at the end of June is right around the corner, the low-buck approach not only fits our budget, but it also means we shouldn't have any problem meeting Americruise's deadline. In the January issue of Custom Classic Trucks, we used Mothers' clay bar system to prepare the '72's original paint for a complete detail job that concluded with an application of Mothers' California Gold Carnauba Cleaner Wax. In this segment, we are going to click our F-100's cosmetic appearance up a few more notches with a mix of advanced detailing techniques combined with restoration parts sourced from the fine folks at LMC Truck of Lenexa, Kansas. Not only is LMC Truck a good place to locate parts for someone doing a finicky 100-point restoration or custom job, but they're also a great source for someone who has an older truck they are trying to keep on the road. In the case of our '72 Ford, it's kind of where the two worlds collide.

The first step toward the F-100's facelift was an initial cleaning of the inner fenderwells, underhood, and behind the grille with an application of engine degreaser, followed with a rinsing blast of hot water straight from the tap on the hot-water heater. Next, we used compressed air to blow-dry the areas as well as further the cleaning process. On paper, all this doesn't sound like a lot of work, but in actuality it accounted for a day's worth of labor.

The disassembly process started with removing the headlight bezels with the extraction of four Phillips head screws from each side. From here we located the mounting bolts holding the grille surround by chipping away road tar, caked asphalt, and dried mud with a narrow putty knife. If we were replacing the grille surround instead of restoring it, we could have located all the bolt holes by looking at the new surround. Instead, we had to hunt and dig for each bolt under the muck. Once the grille surround was removed, we were able to access and remove the turn-signal lamp assemblies. Although we had pre-soaked the 1/4-20 nuts securing the turn-signal lamps with Liquid Wrench, two of the studs were beyond penetration and snapped. The last step to stripping the front end was removing the front bumper.

With the front bumper along with everything else out of the way, we moved on to prepping the radiator core support (the exposed rusted area behind the grille) and inner fenderwells to be painted in semi-gloss black spray paint. This entailed yet another stage of degreasing with a car wash sponge and a thick concentration of car wash soap in a 5-gallon plastic bucket. After scrubbing and rinsing the area down with hot water, we used compressed air to accelerate drying. Then we used 150-grit dry sandpaper to sand down the rusted metal and feather out the existing black paint. After the entire area was thoroughly dry-sanded, we used compressed air to blow the area clean, and then moved on to finer grades of sandpaper. This is where we switched to using 220- and 400-grit wet and dry sandpaper dunked in a light concentration of warm soapy water followed with a fresh water rinse, finishing with additional compressed air.

Once we were sure everything under the hood and on the core support was completely dry and free from any contaminants such as oil, it was time to mask the entire area off, blow it clean for the last time, and start spray-painting.

Before we reassembled the front end with the new parts we bought from LMC Truck, we checked to make sure they fit properly. The only snag-and it was a very minor one-was the tips of the lenses' screws on the reproduction turn signals protruded farther than the originals. It was necessary to grind the screw tips down until they would allow the turn-signal lamp assemblies to sit flush into place without interference. Installing the turn-signal assemblies first onto the front valance was the proper order, followed by setting the grille surround into place above the turn-signal assemblies. Next, the headlight bezels were installed, followed by installing the grille inserts, then lastly the front bumper.

Maybe at a later stage in the build-off we'll pull our '72 F-100 all the way down to the frame and dump some big dough into it, but in the meantime, thanks to a good selection of high-quality reproduction parts from LMC Truck mixed in with a few detailing tricks, we've been able to enhance the cosmetic appearance of our trusty '72 to show up in time for Americruise, and do it for some relatively low bucks to boot!

SOURCE
LMC Truck
8-00/-562-8782
www.lmctruck.com
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