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1948 - 1956 F1, F100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Fat Fendered and Classic Ford Trucks

'55 F-250 Custom Build Pics

 
  #1  
Old 03-12-2011, 09:06 PM
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'55 F-250 Custom Build Pics

Hi, new Guy here. I just discovered this site a few days ago, and I am totally hooked.

I work at a hot rod shop and thought some of you might be interested to see some pictures of a custom '55 F-250 we have been working on. It is a very unusual build. I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.

Here is the point we are at now:


The paint color is slightly off in these pics because I'm still getting the hang of my new camera.

We started with a running, driving stock '55 F-250. The plan is to build sort of a 'sleeper' hot rod. From a distance the truck will look basically stock, except for a slightly lower stance. But under the surface, this truck is far from stock. In addition to the lower stance, the ride and handling are significantly improved with a custom chassis we had built at The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, IL. We brought them our original frame to use as a pattern.

This is how it looked when we got it back to the shop, with the original frame strapped to it.


The new chassis has independent front suspension with tubular arms, coilover shocks, and rack and pinion steering. The rear is a 9" with a 4-bar and coilovers. There are swaybars front and rear and disc brakes all around. We had the wheel track made slightly narrower to make up for the thickness of the wheel adapters we needed to run the stock 8-lug wheels, hubcaps, and trim rings.

The bed and fenders are new reproductions from Mid-Fifty F100 parts. We had a local metal fab shop hammer out some new wheel tubs for our bed sides.





The cab was in need of repair in all the usual places. The city we are located in prohibits us from doing body and paint work, so we farm that work out. Here we are test fitting the cab and bed after the preliminary body work was done.





One of the modifications we made was to lower the hump in the firewall to give us more room for the air conditioner under the dash. We also welded in brackets under the dash for the fuse panel, cruise control servo, and a few other miscellaneous items. After that, it all came back apart for paint.

I suppose you're wondering what engine and transmission is going in this truck. As much as I would have liked to have seen a Ford engine in it, the decision was not mine to make. The engine is a 401 Buick Nailhead which makes gobs of low-end torque. It is fairly mild because we wanted it to idle nice and make enough vacuum for the power brakes to work correctly. But it's no slouch. It made 358 [email protected],000 RPM on the dyno, but the engine will rarely see four grand. The beauty of this engine is that it makes over 400 ft-lbs. of torque way down at 2,250 rpm. Should be plenty of grunt to get this beast moving.

As for the transmission, the owner of this truck believes that "If it doesn't have three pedals, it's not a hot rod." So we fitted it with a Tremec Magnum 6-speed.


The interior of the cab was painted to match the leather upholstery. It is very well insulated with a layer of dyna-mat type material as well as a layer of foil-backed fiber insulation (2 layers on the fire wall).



Got the engine and transmission in and had a driveshaft made. installed the front clip and plumbed the heater and A/C lines. You'll also notice in the following picture the nifty three deuce intake.


We installed a reverse-tilting hood kit from No Limit Engineering.



In the following pic you can see the wheel adapters that allow us to use the stock wheels.


We hauled it out to Heartthrob Exhaust in Litchfield, MN, and had them make a custom mandrel-bent stainless exhaust system. It turned out perfect as usual.



One of the trick little details on this truck is the bed side turn lights I made out of some square acryllic and yellow LED's. They mount in the notch ahead of the fenders.





Anyway, that's it for now. I'll post more as as the job progresses.

Hope you all enjoyed checking out how I've spent my winter so far.

Joe
 

Last edited by COE Joe; 03-12-2011 at 09:22 PM. Reason: typo(s)
  #2  
Old 03-12-2011, 09:25 PM
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Very nice. I love that you are keeping the look fairly stock.
The original frame looks to be in great shape, I hope you find a good home for it.

I'm looking forward to more pictures as you progress. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:36 PM
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Really neat looking build! Can't wait to see the finished product.
 
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:37 PM
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Very nice. Thanks for sharing it with us.
 
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:45 AM
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Wow you guys are doing a great job.That is a professional build.I love how it really looks stock,paint,steelies and white walls.keep the pictures coming.
What is the story on your COE we would like to hear about it as well.
Thanks for sharing
 
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:14 AM
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Very nice. I have a few 56s this color of green, and as far as I am concerned the nicest color for a effie.
Did you buy the bed sides from mid fifties?My truck is from a friend and I am finishing it...it is under an FTE site. Or my gallery.
Look up ''earl'' and take a look.....nice job!!
 
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Harrier View Post
Very nice. I love that you are keeping the look fairly stock.
The original frame looks to be in great shape, I hope you find a good home for it.

I'm looking forward to more pictures as you progress. Thanks for sharing.
Glad you like it.
We also have a nice running 6 Cylinder and good transmission in need of a good home. Our shop will be hosting a monthly meeting of the local F-100 club soon. Hopefully one of those guys will be interested.
 
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by iwanaflattie View Post
Wow you guys are doing a great job.That is a professional build.I love how it really looks stock,paint,steelies and white walls.keep the pictures coming.
What is the story on your COE we would like to hear about it as well.
Thanks for sharing
Thanks.

I'll be doing a build thread on the '56 COE when we get started on it. That might be awhile because we have seven builds scheduled ahead of it. Here are a few of them:
'32 Victoria


'53 Dodge Meadowbrook Hot Rod


'28/9 Ford Stretch Cab



'37 Chevy Coupe Street Rod - New Chassis, Jimmy 302 w/efi



Until we get the rest of them done, the C-600 is just a glimmer on the horizon....


Joe
 
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:31 PM
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Awesome place to work and play. What a life.

There I said it for all of us.
 
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by WALFORD'S 56 View Post
Did you buy the bed sides from mid fifties?
Yes. They were available with or without wheel tubs. We ordered them with tubs but they were not really what we expected. They were not rounded on the edges like the originals. We ended up having a metal fab shop make and install reproduction tubs.

Here is what the original Ford tubs looked lke:


By the way, the aluminum tonneau cover in this picture will be going on the new bed.
 
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:53 PM
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Here are a couple of other details on the truck.

We installed Versa-Track in place of a few of the trim strips in the bed floor so that whatever cargo this thing hauls (spare tires, jacks, tools, etc.) can be secured.




I used a dome/map light from an 87-96 F-Series.


A power cowl vent, because the old mechanism left no room for the air conditioner.


More to come......

Joe.
 
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:17 AM
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Hey Joe, just an observation in the truck, Did you raise the bed an inch? The bracket holding up the front of the box looks higher than stock. I'm thinking of doing this on mine, then raising up the running boards at the same time. If so, was it a big deal to change? Should be enough room between the cab and running boards to do this, and take that gap away.

Karl
 
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by KP Bob View Post
Hey Joe, just an observation in the truck, Did you raise the bed an inch? The bracket holding up the front of the box looks higher than stock. I'm thinking of doing this on mine, then raising up the running boards at the same time. If so, was it a big deal to change? Should be enough room between the cab and running boards to do this, and take that gap away.

Karl
On this truck, for whatever reason, the chassis builder made the front bed mount with two sets of mounting holes. They are in the high position in the picture above, but it turned out to be too high. We ended up bolting them in the low position which made the flange even with the top of the frame rail, which I assume is the same as the factory setup.

Unfortunately, the low position was too low and had to add some shims to get the gap correct and even between the lower bed side panel and running board. Keep in mind, this truck has reproduction running boards and a reproduction bed. The other bed mounts did not need to be shimmed.

So, to answer your question directly; you can easily raise your bed up an inch with a stack of shims, or better yet, a one inch block of metal, assuming the bolts are long enough...ours were.

However, If you raise the boards to close the gap between the board and the cab, then the ends of the boards wouldn't line up with the bottoms of the fenders, which might look a little odd.





Hope this helps.....
Joe
 
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:49 PM
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Thanks for the reply, Joe. I see what you're saying. I've been throwing around the idea of a 3" wider box by Dan Carpenter, which means I would have to modify the aftermarket running boards I purchased anyways. Also, then I would take an inch out of the front fenders as well. What do you think?

Karl
 
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:18 AM
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I'm thinking that if your goal is mostly to reduce the gap between the cab and running board, and you are modifying the boards anyway, you might consider extending the vertical part of the board an inch to close the top gap rather than raising the boards and bed, and cutting the fenders. Trimming the fenders and making it look right would be difficult.

Another thought...You might not want to close up that gap too much. The cab is on rubber and the boards are not, and most frames, especially stock frames can twist a lot even under normal conditions. I believe that's why the gap is so large in the first place.

Joe
 

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