Bullnose F-150 Flareside Fascination Leads to Killer Build

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F-150 Flareside

You don’t have to have elite mechanical skills to fix up an old F-150 Flareside. All you need is the desire and the FTE forums!

Sift through the Ford Truck Enthusiast forums, and it becomes immediately clear that we’ve got quite a few experts roaming around. But we’re also full of folks who have the desire and the means to fix up an old truck, but not necessarily the ability. But everybody has to start somewhere. And typically, that means pickup up an old truck and learning along the way. Which is exactly what FTE member SCFlareside did with his bullnose F-150 Flareside project.

Also like many folks, the OP soaked up the knowledge and experience of other members before bringing home his project. And once he fell in love with a particular truck, he leaned on those same folks for help as he began his build thread.

“About a year ago I ran into a guy at a local gas station with a really clean ’82 F-150. I realized how long it had been since I saw a good example of one locally. That truck stuck with me, and I began to think about watching for “the right one.” Something that I could wrench on with my (basic) abilities, maybe use as a weekend driver/Lowes truck and slowly bring back to great shape. I started looking at Flaresides too. I appreciate the last of the “old” Flareside looks on the ’80-’87s. Problem was scarcity, of course.”

F-150 Flareside

First, the OP located a 1981 F-100 parts truck. Sadly, it was totaled after a full restoration. But on the bright side, it presented an excellent opportunity. The OP’s wife wasn’t about to allow a parts truck to sit in the driveway, so the OP stored it at a local junkyard while he sought out the perfect project truck to pair it with. And luckily, he didn’t have to go far.

“I settled on an ’85 F-150 that was fairly local and owned by a mechanic. It was his daily driver, which I liked, rather than buying something sitting in a field someplace. He had installed the 302 HO with EFI from a 1995 F-150, along with swapping over its ’95 Styleside bed. It was originally a 300ci six truck, but still had the granny gear 4-speed it came with. New brakes, bearings, u-joints, belts, clutch, water pump, cap/rotor/plugs and wires. 

On the downside, it still needed some things. Nice frame and cab corners, but a rust hole at the back of the floor pan (drivers side). Distributor was wobbling and the truck was running a bit rough. O2 sensor was damaged (laying on the frame). Water pump is new but needs the right bolts. And the fuel pressure regulator was bypassed. Gauges inoperative except alternator and oil pressure. The truck had a red interior that was really well worn. BUT the parts truck had…wait for it…a red interior. I figured that I could swap on the correct bed and sell the ’95 bed to recoup a few hundred bucks.

Other details I liked – he already had the “right” wheels on the truck. And a set of good BFG A/Ts on the front, which meant I only need two for the rear eventually. My goal is to go back to the look that the truck would have had in ’85/’86 when I was in high school, but upgraded just a bit.”

F-150 Flareside

Over the next several months, the OP ordered up all the parts he needed and began working on swapping over the interior. That included period goodies like an old school Lund moon visor. Next, the Flareside bed came off and the wood was refinished. Slowly but surely, everything underneath was coming off and receiving fresh paint. Soon, the donor Flareside bed was refreshed and in place. And we’d say looking pretty darn nice as well.

F-150 Flareside

The next step was a new (matching) set of BF Goodrich tires, Pro Comp shocks, a new dash pad, floor mats, and manifold-back exhaust. Then a full primer job, followed by a wheel refinish. And now, the truck was looking more like a “30 footer,” as the OP calls it. He sourced a set of vintage KC lights for the front, which really add to the period look. Then, the big moment – the F-150 Flareside headed in for a paint and body job. And boy, did it turn out nice.

F-150 Flareside

We’ve witnessed our fair share of incredible transformations over the years, but this one is a little extra special. Maybe because we don’t see a ton of Bullnose F-150 Flareside pickups around. Or perhaps it’s because the OP credits the fine folks at the FTE forums for helping him live out his high school dreams once again. Either way, we’re enjoying the results immensely. To see the entire process of this sweet truck coming back together, be sure and check out the entire build thread!


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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