BFGoodrich Ford Truck Enthusiasts Profiles: Gary Lewis

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Welcome to BFGoodrich Member Profiles, where we’ve chosen a member to detail from our forums. This is Gary Lewis and he has been a huge tech resource here on Ford Truck Enthusiasts and a great help on our boards. We’ll profile him in this article and take a quick peak into his life as a Ford Truck Enthusiast.

At 67 years young, Gary Lewis is one of our older members but that age has lead to a wealth of experience that not many can match. He helps out with tech knowledge to fellow members and he’s always willing to lend a word of advice if you need it.

His first Ford truck is a 1972 Ford F-250 Camper Special, however his prized truck is a 1981 Ford F-150 that his father, who is 94 years young, once owned.

Unfortunately, he came to inherit it under dire circumstances, “More recently my father, who is now 94, gave me his 1981 F-150 as he was losing the battle with Alzheimer’s.”

It needed some work, as it had a crushed bed, significant rust and an engine that could use some rejuvenation. He’s glad to receive it despite its issues, “So I’ve undertaken a complete restoration/modification to put it in better-than-new shape and add a few changes of my own.”

What he intends to do is restore it but why do it despite the money he will need to make it better than new? “Because I will be handing this truck down to my kids and grandkids, so it has to last,” Gary responded, “Everything I can think of to make it last is being done, including powder coating the radiator and cab mount hardware that is so prone to rust.”

It won’t just be a restore, either, “Similarly the engine is being built with the latest technology, such as a roller cam, lifters, and rockers to ensure it will live with whatever oil is available in 30 more years.”


With age comes years of experience, but what has been his most memorable? “Too many to list, but I would have to include taking it from Oklahoma to Delaware and back, altogether 3500 miles, loaded with my mother and father’s furniture that my son and daughter-in-law wanted.”

By the way, he made that trip with the 1981 F-150 he got from his father. Much like his father, he’s also at home on the road as his father did when he was able to.

He doesn’t have a single favorite modification that’s being done to his 81 F-150, he has several. It’s getting a full frame-off restoration but will get some hot-rodding done, too. He’s installing a 408 Cubic Inch engine with aluminum heads, roller cam, lifters to get a tune of 550 horsepower.

The transmission won’t be a slouch as it will be a ZF5 manual because it’s more fun to shift your own gears with 550 horsepower. He has given himself a time frame to get the truck done, “It has been a long road and I’ve gone through two body and upholstery shops, but I want to complete it ASAP to take Dad for a ride before he passes away.”

Since he’s been in two very classic Ford trucks, does he look forward to the new 2015 F-150? Of course, but it is the construction that has his attention the most. “I’m curious to see how the aluminum and other changes stacks up in MPG.”

The 2015 will have some tough competition in fuel mileage in the Lewis home, “My wife’s diesel 2014 GLK is consistently turning in 38 MPG on the 3,500 mile trip we are on as I type, but I’m hoping Ford can create a truck that can give compete while still being able to tow. ”

There are many people that Gary would like to thank and it was a hard question to answer because of the amount of wonderful people on the board, especially the 1980 to 1986 forum.

“That’s a really hard question to answer since the 80 to 86 forum is such a group of selfless guys. Many, many people have helped me in this build, but those that leap to mind include Dave Franklin/Franklin2; Jim/ArdWrknTrk; Paul/Rogue_Wulff; David/1986F150six; Kyle/first today; Shaun/Fordzilla80; Ken/Ken Blythen; Luke/Luke76; and Chris/ctubutis.”

We hope to see your 81 F-150 very soon, Gary, and we look forward to the story of taking your dad out on one last ride. On behalf of Ford Truck Enthusiasts and BFGoodrich, thank you for your selfless advice and contributions to the forum.

Congratulate Gary in the forum.>> 

Justin Banner is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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