It's hard to know if the saying opposites attract might be the best choice to express the premise behind the ongoing build of our '53 F-100 but it's as good a place to start as any. For those of you who can't recollect CCT having a '53 Ford project in the works don't worry because up until now we've been calling it a '56 F-100 because that's the year of the chassis we started out with. To catch everyone up to speed, the '56 chassis we scored for $800 came equipped with a Volare frontend and a 9-inch Ford rearend, which is great, but there were some Mickey Mouse aspects to the deal. This brings us to the premise that we are going to build the truck from the ground up as inexpensively as possible, but we are not going to cut corners or cheap out. On the '56 chassis the dangerously inadequate stock Ford single master-cylinder was swapped out for a CPP dual master cylinder with a booster and the Volare torsion bar IFS suspension was lowered properly by installing Fatman Fabrications' Volare 2-inch drop spindles to maintain the correct tension on the torsion bar.
Moving on to the body for our project, frankly we were hoping to luck out and find a '56 F-100 for cheap, but when a complete '53 F-100 popped up for $500 we jumped at the opportunity. In this installment, we're preparing the '53 cab to be mounted on the '56 chassis. The absolute wrong way to go about it is to install the cab on the chassis and then do the bodywork and prepare the cab for paint. On a budget build one might be tempted to sand the old paint down or use a brush-on chemical stripper to get to the bare metal but trust us it will prove to be a major mistake on several counts. First, the cost of the materials needed will exceed the expense of media blasting and take a lot more time to do. Secondly, the results will not be nearly as nice. There is one big screw-up that can occur with media blasting and that's having the wrong media-blaster do the work. There's nothing worse than discovering every square inch of the steel body panels have been warped beyond repair.
Once the cab has been blasted down to the bare metal the next step is paint it with the right primer. A good DTM (direct to metal) primer is what you'll want to be on the lookout for. We got real lucky here because we discovered a super good DTM epoxy primer that's marketed at a competitive price. It comes via mail order from the folks at Summit Racing, and lives up to all of the promises made on the can. We popped the lid off and were pleased to discover Summit's SUM-UP230 epoxy primer didn't have the clumps often found in products at the same price point, and provided good coverage. Good coverage with high build means you won't have to buy a lot of paint, and the ability to dry tack-free quickly means not a lot of dirt will settle into the finish.