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1956 Ford F-100 4x4 - Indy Inferno

Posted in Features on April 1, 2001 Comment (0)
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1956 Ford F-100 4x4 - Indy Inferno
Photographers: Dan Davis

When Mike Webb of Greenfield, Indiana, began building his truck, a '56 Ford F-100 4x4, he had one thing in mind: to do it right the first time and be done. Originally belonging to his uncle, Mike had his eye on this sleeping beauty for quite some time. Finally, with some persuasion, he managed to get it from his uncle, and the rest is history.

An electrician by trade, Mike made sure that nothing was overlooked with the buildup, especially the rig's foundation - the frame. Since the frame was a '56 model, some strengthening was required before things could continue forward. With the body off of the frame, Mike, his brother Greg, and his father-in-law Steve Eden boxed and smoothed it out. The trio then added three crossmembers beforeshipping it off for a complete sandblasting prior to the PPG Deltron Sparkle Silver paintjob that was applied to it. Special care and planning was taken to weld the necessary tabs and brackets to the frame so that the suspension and other key components could be mated perfectly. There was even a space created between the framerails behind the rear axle for the custom-built 19-gallon No Limits Engineering fuel cell.

With the frame restoration/upgrade complete, work on the drivetrain and suspension began. Opting to replace the factory front axle, Mike went with a Dana 44 unit. He used the running gear for steering - among other things - from a '79 Ford Bronco, including the 9-inch rearend, which was stuffed with a set of Auburn 3.50:1 gears. With the axles picked out, Mike retained the factory rear leaf springs in the back, while he chose a Skyjacker coil spring setup for the front. To soften the ride, dual Rancho RS 5000 shocks support the rear while single units head up the frontend. To give the truck a fresh look, a set of 15x10 Center Line Hellcats shod with 35x15R15 Mickey Thompson Baja Belted tires replaced the factory versions.

The power from this rig is derived from a '72 Ford 460-cid V-8 that was bored 0.030-inch over. After the boring, the block was deburred and machined by B&K Machining in Muncie, Indiana. With things all smoothed over, the crankshaft was turned 0.080 inch just to clean things up a little. The factory internal components were replaced with high-end aftermarket makes since Mike and his crew were shooting for horsepower numbers in the 500 range. The 8:1 TRW forged pistons are only the beginning in this engine. Following them is a Melling high-volume oil pump, a Milodon geardrive, Michigan 77 rings and bearings, as well as Crane valves and Ford SVO Motorsports rockers. Of course, all of these components pale in comparison to the Hampton 6:71 blower from Hampton Blowers with dual 750-cfm Edelbrock carbs. Ignition duties for this monster are handled by a Mallory distributor paired up with an MSD Blaster II coil and an MSD ignition module. The signals are all sent via Taylor wires.

The spent exhaust gases are routed through a set of L&L stainless steel headers that were Jet-Hot ceramic coated. From there, the gases travel down the 2-1/2-inch stainless steel tubing to the dual Flowmaster mufflers. For optimum engine cooling, a custom-made Howe Racing radiator was used.

Mated to such an impressive powerplant is an equally impressive '78 Ford C6 automatic transmission that was custom-built by D&L Transmissions of Greenfield. The two custom balanced and fabricated driveshafts were built by Indy Clutch and Joint in Indianapolis.

With all the running gear and the drivetrain complete, the next step was refurbishing the '56's body. For assistance, Mike called upon the crew at Vail's Classic Cars of Greenfield. Having the contacts to get anything they needed to complete the aesthetic restoration of the body for the truck, Mike left the all-steel body in their hands. Having gone over all of the panels with a fine-toothed comb, the final step was the application of the PPG Deltron Inferno Red paint. It is important to point out that all chrome and trim pieces were originals as were the taillights.

While the outside may say old school, the inside screams new school. Maybe it's because the entire interior was gutted and redone. The original dashboard and gauge cluster was retained but updated with Auto Meter gauges for better monitoring of the vital signs. The factory bench seat, the carpet, and the door panels were re-covered in dark-gray charcoal material, while the headliner is done up in a complementary light gray. For sound, a Kenwood CD player and two Kenwood amps push the tunes through the JL Audio/Pioneer component speakers and subwoofers.

Judging from the numerous awards and trophies that he has received for such a show-stopper, ranging from Best Outstanding Pro Vehicle at the 1999 Indy Jamboree to the Most Outstanding Off-Road Vehicle of 1999, we understand that we aren't the only ones that are awestruck by this fiery '56.


View Slideshow
SPECIFICATIONS
Vehicle '56 Ford F-100 4x4
Owner :Mike Webb
Engine :466-cid Ford V-8
Transmission Custom-built Ford C6 Automatic
Suspension Skyjacker coil spring (front); factory '56 leaf springs (rear)
Wheels 15x10 Center Line Hellcats
Tires :35x15R15 Mickey Thompson Baja Belted Radials
Other :19-gallon No Limits Engineering fuel cell;
custom-fabricated front and rear driveshafts;
reworked original ’56 front grille

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