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1956 Ford F100 Farm Truck with Mild Resto-Mod

1956 Ford F100 Farm Truck with Mild Restoration Resto-Mod

The goal for this project was to take a 60 year old Farm Truck and make it into a reliable running pickup, while adding a few hidden updates along the way. This 1956 Ford F100 was extremely solid; it had been repainted in 1981 and looked to have some mechanical repairs along the way. The owner was looking to add long arm/ short arm (aka Mustang II) suspension to make for a more comfortable ride. He also wanted to increase the horsepower to the original 223 i6 motor and add power steering.

The Suspension:

We selected a Heidts Mustang II setup. The kit came with everything needed to add disk brakes, slightly lower the front end, make the handling more predictable and stiffen the frame. I decided to go the extra mile and do an inset-boxed frame with a TIG weld. It’s much stronger than a ground-down mig weld. It looks original and the exposed bead is pretty cool too.

One issue we ran into was the Heidts front crossmember was not designed to work with the oil pan on the Ford 223 i6 motor.  The original oil pan had to be heavily modified, with a notch to clear the pan and a second drain plug. All welds were done on the TIG to ensure a proper seal. The oil pickup also had to be heavily modified to go up and over the crossmember.

The Body:

The body was pretty straight except for the front cab corners / rockers  which were completely rotted away. The repair had to be done to the outer skin, the inner structure and the inner skin of the cab. The key to this was closely watching the door gap and the mount for the fender. Since it was  supposed to look like an old farm truck, we decided to intentionally mis-match the paint. We used some original ’56 ford green and blended nicely.

The Wiring / Plumbing:

All wiring in the vehicle was original, with cloth wrap. It was dangerous as well as faulty. We replaced all of the wiring with a Painless 28 circuit kit. It complete overkill, he only needed about 18 circuits, but now the truck is electrically ready if anyone ever wants to add accessories. It’s a little more work up-front which makes things much easier down the road.

All of the original brake and fuel lines were rusted and brittle. The brake lines had to be modified to accommodate front disk brakes so we replaced them all while we were at it. Turns out the rear lines were solid with 60 years of rust and gunk, so they needed to go anyway.

The Engine:

The engine was rebuilt by world-renowned Ford expert Ohio George Montgomery. He usually works on wild Boss 429, 427 side-oilers and specialized racing engines. We knew he was the right guy to get a few extra HP out of this 223-6cylinder. Bill and his team did a fantastic job, they set up the motor to run with a set-up from Clifford performance that adds headers, carb and intake.  One issue we ran into was the intake had very little room to clear front cross-member, brake pedal assembly and the power steering rack. We modified the long-tube runners to come together earlier. Rather than running dual exhaust we ran a single pipe, which helped us make tight clearances as well as preserving the original look.

The original motor was designed to have a generator as the only belt driven accessory. We updated the wiring to use a modern alternator instead and we had to mount a power steering pump for the new Heidts rack. There are no off the shelf accessory drive systems for a 1956 ford 223 so we designed one from scratch.

The Project:

This was a really fun project, all focused upon meeting this specific customer’s vision of how a ’56 F100 should be done. Doing a sympathetic restoration / resto-mod was a cost-effective build style, we didn’t have to worry about a little rust here or there, we weren’t concerned with matching paint colors or “originality.” We were much more concerned with reliability, safety and a little extra performance. The result was a fun, cool pickup that is easy to work on and is ready to go when you are.

Need a Quote to Modify or Restore Your Vehicle?

If you have questions, ideas or would like a quote for a custom build, we do everything from rat-rods to sympathetic resto-mods (as seen here) all the way to complete show-vehicles. Please feel free to email me any time with the contact form on the sidebar. I will gladly quote full builds or one-off parts to assist you in your build. I’m here to help, so lets go!
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