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1972 Ford F100 - New Found Glory

Posted in Features on October 1, 2001 Comment (0)
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Off-roading has evolved into such a diverse sport since it began. Every enthusiast has their own dreams and aspirations of their ultimate off-road vehicle. Here at OFF-ROAD magazine, every month we have the amazing opportunity to bring these diverse machines to you from around the world.

This '72 Ford F-100 is one of the most unique prerunners we have ever seen. It comes to us from Kingman, Arizona, resident Greg Holman. Many trucks have been through the meticulous hands of Greg over the last 23 years. Throughout his career, Greg has campaigned numerous off-road race vehicles, including Jeeps, trucks, and buggies.

Although he no longer competes in races, Greg remains a well-respected person in the off-road community through his occupation as a custom header fabricator. Greg's craftsmanship can be found on many top vehicles. His clientele includes off-road racing icons such as Rob MacCachren, Dave Ashley, Robby Gordon, and Larry Ragland, just to name a few. Greg has established himself as the industry leader in custom-fabricated exhaust systems. His fully custom '72 Ford is a manifestation of what happens when opportunity meets knowledge.

Greg has owned this truck since 1984. Originally, he bought it to race in Class 8. The knowledge and connections Greg has with his book of clients more than enables him to fabricate any new-model truck he could dream of. However, loyal to his past, Greg went to work on his trusty '72 F-100.

Even though this is a '72 Ford, the only remaining original part is the cab of the truck. The chassis and rollcage were completely redesigned and fabricated using the highest grade 4130 chrome-moly tubing. The new design placed the engine facing backward in the bed of the truck. Using a Casale V-drive, the driveshaft was redirected to the Ford 9-inch rearend. This was a large challenge, however; similar to many natural-born fabricators, he feels that half the fun of owning a vehicle is getting to build it.

The absence of the engine up front left ample room for an elaborate front suspension system. A set of handcrafted, TIG-welded 4130 chrome-moly A-arms was built specifically for this truck. Because of the missing engine, the arms are mounted in the very center of the chassis and are longer than most. This gives the truck a large amount of travel without being much wider than stock width, therefore enabling the truck to get through tight sections of terrain with ease. The custom arms are matched with a pair of Sway-A-Way shocks on each wheel. One position-sensitive shock and one coilover shock produce 20 inches of wheel travel. Custom secondary hydraulic bumpstops were fabricated to add progression as the truck bottoms out. With no bumpsteer and very little camber change through the travel, this frontend was ready to rock.

When fabricating the rear suspension, he encountered a unique puzzle. The engine now took up most of the bed space. He approached this difficulty by designing a three-link cantilever system that fits around the perimeter of the engine. Just like in the front, he used two different Sway-A-Way shocks per wheel, a coilover for ride height, and a position-sensitive shock. The damping on the position-sensitive shock can be adjusted so that there is more or less damping, depending on where the suspension is in its travel. This technology is found on most trophy trucks and is a key ingredient to a smooth-riding off-road truck. The rear suspension now produces 25 inches of wheel travel. A Sway-A-Way antisway bar was added to keep the Ford stable at speed.

A big part of Greg's occupation is engines and everything having to do with them. After the hundreds he has worked on during his career, he has a pretty good idea of how to build a good one. For his truck, he wanted something with good power, but more importantly, one that is reliable and easy to drive. With these goals in mind, he began with a '72 Ford Boss 351. His performance upgrades began when he installed a set of Carillo rods, 10:1 JE pistons, and a Comp Cams cam. Dean Turk did the porting on the heads and installed a set of stainless steel TRW valves. For the intake system, Greg went with the proven reliability of an Edelbrock manifold, a Holley 650-cfm carburetor, and, of course, a K&N air filter. REF Unlimited built custom headers that point out the side of the truck in front of the rear tires. When all was complete, the fresh powerplant produced 425 hp and was ready for thousands of miles of Baja.

The interior is basic but very clean. It is performance-based with just the bare necessities. The intricate aluminum dashboard was custom-fabricated by Matt Tomb. After fitting the dashboard into the Ford, he put in the Auto Meter gauges. Richard Cook did the upholstery in gray to complement the gray Mastercraft seats. A fire extinguisher and a set of RCI seatbelts were installed.

The completed prerunner weighs in at 4,800 pounds. With a top speed of more than 100 mph, stopping the truck is easily handled with the four-wheel Wilwood disc brakes. Traction comes from the 17x8-inch Ultra wheels and 37-inch Bridgestone tires. Each wheel is secured to the truck by a custom oversized three-spoke knock-off nut built by REF Unlimited.

With all of the technology and quality Greg sees as part of his job, it is no wonder he would produce a truck with such intense attention paid to every detail. After all, this truck is the only marketing he uses for his company REF Unlimited. "I wouldn't want to own a piece of junk - nobody would believe I could build headers. This truck is a reflection of the quality of work I put into anything I do."

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown Greg Holeman/Kingman, Arizona
Make/model '72 Ford F-100 2WD
Engine '72 Boss 351 425 hp
Transmission C6, Casale V-drive
Rearend Ford 9-inch with 4.86 ring-and-pinion;
  Sway-A-Way axles
Tires/wheels 17x8-inch Ultra/37x11.5-inch Bridgestone
Brakes Wilwood disc
Shocks Sway-A-Way position-sensitive, coilover
Suspension Three-link cantilever (rear); A-arm (front)
Wheel travel (front/rear) 20-inch/25-inch
Added features Mastercraft seats; K&N air filter; {{{Optima}}}
battery; Auto Fab fiberglass; RCI seatbelts;
Auto Meter gauges; JE pistons; Carillo Rods

"The absence of the engine up front left ample room for an elaborate front suspension system. A set of handcrafted, TIG-welded 4130 chrome-moly A-arms was built specifically for this truck."

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