1954 Ford F-100 Turned into Cool Rat Rod: What’s Up in the Forums

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Ford F-100

A bad buy nearly spells the end for this Ford F-100 panel van. But then a brave FTE member swoops in and saves it.

Here in the states, we Ford truck fans have it made. If we need parts, we can simply head down to the local junkyard, hop online, or hit up the classifieds. Finding a project truck itself is a piece of cake, too. Heck, the hardest part is settling on which one you really want. But if you live overseas and have a Ford truck addiction, things aren’t so simple. So Hungary resident and Ford Truck Enthusiasts member zolav8 did the smart thing and resorted to the forums for advice on his 1954 Ford F-100 panel van build.

“I’ve just purchased a ’54 Ford F-100 panel. It’s a 223 six with three-speed manual, not running at the moment. Lots of rust, lots of Bondo. Engine doesn’t run, a few missing parts – it will be a long project. I don’t have a solid build plan yet. When finished, I’d like to go on road trips with the truck, and I’m not sure if the original drivetrain can handle that.”

Ford F-100

And then, the OP provides a little history on how this Ford F-100 made its way to Europe in the first place.

“The advertisements are misleading. The truck is not from Cuba, it was imported from the States 12 years ago by the PO. He bought it on eBay, but it was in far worse shape than expected. He lost interest and bought a second one that’s under restoration now, the body work is finished.

Some years ago the truck was featured in an advertising campaign. That’s the reason for the Cuba theme.
I’ve removed the last sticker today and took 300+ photos to document the starting point, the missing parts, everything. From a few feet it looks like a decent patina truck. But the truth is that it’s very rough. Lots of Bondo hides the problem.”

Indeed, it looks like bodywork is the biggest concern. So that’s exactly where the OP starts.

Ford F-100

That process alone takes years to complete. But with the old Ford F-100 finally in one piece again, it’s time to address some other areas. First, all new brakes, booster, and even pedals. Then a carb rebuild and some touch up paint to get her looking presentable. Before you know it, the panel was even up and running, albeit a little roughly.

1954 Ford F-100

After sorting out a vacuum leak and some other niggling details, the OP found a sweet set of wheels. With a fresh green powdercoating and some wide white wall tires, the new rolling stock really pops. Throw in a good old-fashioned Mexican blanket seat cover job, and this old Ford F-100 panel was ready to roll once again. And what better way to enjoy this truck’s maiden voyage than by cruising it to a local car meet?

Ford F-100

Of course, there were a couple of niggling issues along the way. But nothing the OP couldn’t fix with some basic tools. And this is just the beginning of what we feel is going to be an ongoing, ever-evolving project. So be sure and head over here to keep up with the latest adventures of this cool Euro Ford F-100 panel van!


Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other sites.

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