In the May '09 issue of CCT we introduced you to Motor Trend Executive Editor Matt Stone and his '62 Ford F-100. It started out: "There's an old expression that says you can never judge a book by looking at the cover. After I received the following letter and photographs from Matt Stone, Motor Trend's Executive Editor, I no longer have the opinion that the guys at Motor Trend are only interested in twin-turbo Volvos that run on cellulosic ethanol or brand-new Buicks that are built for export to China. In fact, I think it's pretty cool the editor of a major car magazine has fond memories and loves these old trucks just as much as the rest of us." Since then Matt has discovered he is no different than the rest of us, and has begun to fix up his old Ford. -John Gilbert
While I anguished over what approach to take (bone stock redo, patina wagon, period rod-truck, Pebble Beach restoration-OK, scratch the last one), I gathered numerous catalogs, and decided to go with LMC Truck as primary parts supplier. They carried most of what I needed, their phone order people seemed to know their stuff, and their prices are competitive.
Do-it-all mechanic George Beall drew the task of initial re-commissioning. A new gas tank, battery, master cylinder, new front wheel cylinders and brake lines, a fluids change, a carburetor rebuild, plus a little welding on one rear shock mount and the Effie was back on the road. Not pretty, but running, functional, and safe.
Fortunately, there wasn't much heavy mechanical work required. The original 160-horse, 292-inch Y-block V-8 has a valve or cam lobe going soft that yields a somewhat lumpy idle but said engine was rebuilt about 60,000 miles ago, and otherwise runs fine. The clutch and granny low four-speed manual trans are up to snuff, as are the shocks and suspension. It takes three grown gorillas to turn the steering wheel, but that's kinda the way they were, and the tires were old and hard, which didn't help. While parts were in transit, I fiddled, fettled, and mostly, scrubbed. I must have spent $40-a quarter at a time-at the pay-and-spray car wash.
The next thing I had to get after was all of the cab rubber, or more correctly, the distinct lack thereof. The windows rattled in the doors, and the doors shook in the door openings. The windshield and rear window seals leaked, which had to be addressed prior to any interior work (or rain). LMC sells an affordable windshield/door aperture/rear window rubber kit that takes care of all of that, and my friends at Bistagne Brothers Auto Body popped it all in for me. The Bistagne boys also addressed broken door locks and balky window cranks, and shaped out a few dents (courtesy of an errant snowplow) in the driver's door and front fender. With the cab now tight and dry, I decided to proceed with revitalizing the way-beyond-tired interior.
One headliner kit, one seat kit, a carpet set, new pedal rubbers and shifter boot, plus a period-looking chrome-and-foam steering wheel from LMC gave the cabin a makeover that Bob Vila couldn't come close to. Oscar's Upholstery in Glendale, California, did the job, and we put a layer of foil-lined Dynamat, supplied by Year One, between the roof and the headliner to quell heat and noise. A layer of thinner, peel-and-stick Dynaliner sound insulation went on the floor prior to the new rugs. No more metal floor; furniture blanket "upholstery;" and brittle, water-damaged headliner to contend with.
Nothing-nothing-improves the character of any vehicle like fresh tires and just the right wheels. Funny enough, I'd owned the white spoke mags that came with the truck before. They were on a '54 Ford F-100 I had about 15 years ago. I'd bought new boots for it, and gave these to Dan to replace the old narrow stockers he had on the '62. Now they were mine. Again. It will be my privilege to recycle them. Again.