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.
All the best choices appeared in Wheel Vintiques' online catalog. After much hand wringing, I selected a set of stock-appearing (though wider) Gennie steel wheels, sticking with 15-inchers in order to maintain a nice ride and a '60's look. I ordered them in red to match the interior accent color, and chose polished '47-48 Ford passenger car patterned hubcaps. The glossy-yet-sturdy powdercoat finish on these wheels is beautiful; far and away the best paint surface on the entire truck.
The Tire Rack supplied 225/70-15 Firestone Indy 500 tires for the front, with 255/70-15s out back, to add the slightest rake. Not only does my F-100 look cooler by a factor of many, but also the ride has improved, and the steering is lighter now. This rolling stock is the best money I could have spent.
What's next? The stock single muffler is about the size of a Civil War canon, and needs to go in exchange for a throaty sounding exhaust system. A spray-on bed liner will seal up the dents and surface rust in the worn but solid bed. Then there will be foglights, some spray can detailing, and a myriad of other small stuff.
Although much time was spent selecting and gathering parts, things moved fast once the work began. Dumping the old Appliance Wheels white spokers and rock-hard tires in favor of retro steelies-and-caps from Wheel Vintiques, and new staggered-sized Firestone Indy 500s from Tire Track, changed the entire look of the truck.
Everything in the thoroughly revitalized cabin came from LMC Truck: seat kit, headliner, carpet set, pedal rubbers, and shifter boot, even the visors. The only thing you can't see is the Dynamat and Dynaliner that rests underneath the rugs and headliner. Everything was affordable, and the install was straightforward. Can't say I miss the sagging, mildewed headliner, and the furniture blanket "upholstery," such as it was.
The old, white plastic wheel was charming, but cracked in a million places, missing its (expensive-to-replace) horn ring, and was so large it nearly touched my chest. This chrome-and-foam replacement piece from LMC is a bit smaller, easier to grip, and still has a '60's look without appearing cheap. All of the paint and chrome on the dash is original, and came back to life with the application of wax, chrome polish, and manual labor. Wheel Vintiques also supplied us with trim rings, which really set off the late-'40s Ford-style hubcaps. I'm running without the rings for the moment, as I like the industrial look for the steel wheels, but will probably pop them on at some point. Wheel Vintiques manufactures numerous trim ring designs to suit your need and taste.
The old, pitted, and thoroughly '70s aluminum trailer mirrors were functional but looked like crap. LMC Truck sells exact, nicely finished reproductions of the factory mirrors, which also rotate out and down for towing. Access panels inside the doors are removed to install them.
LMC sells all the fan geek stuff you need for your truck: reproduction shop manuals, owner's manuals, books, license plate frames, and sales brochures, even T-shirts. This is a repop of the original '62 F-100 sales folder. Pretty nifty illustration, no?