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1974 Ford F-100: The Family Truckster

Posted in Features on November 13, 2017
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When Ryan Abellana set about building this sweet ’74 Ford F-100, he had a plan and a little prodding too. “This vehicle was built with strict supervision of my wife and daughter who know off-road racing,” says Abellana. “They had expectations of what this should be capable of. My wife has copiloted races in the past (they raced a 1400 truck from 2004-2008) with me in the MDR, and MORE series. And my daughter wouldn’t miss a course prerun. So expectations were high.”

Ultimately, what they all wanted was a street-legal, race-capable vehicle that wouldn’t blend in with the rest of them. One in which they could go chase and prerun with the best of them, and then be able to pull into a highway diner without getting pulled over on the way.

Abellana went to work. Though the body is an F-100, the frame is from a Ford but one that originated with an F-250. First, he moved the engine and trans back 20 inches for better weight distribution. That was only the beginning, as this chassis was built to SCORE-legal specs using 4130 tube and plate, right down to the 60-gallon Fuel Safe fuel cell. The front suspension is, of course, a twin I-beam but the arms and even the spindles, were built by Abellana again using 4130. To them, he attached Blitzkrieg hubs and 12-inch Wilwood disc brakes. For shocks, Abellana used Fox 3.5 bypass and Fox 2.5 coilovers, and to the coilovers he swapped in a set of Eibach progressive springs.

Fox 3.5 bypass and Fox 2.5 coilovers are used both front and rear, though Eibach progressive springs have replaced the Fox units.

As with the front end, Abellana designed and built the four-link system, and the trailing arms were made out of 4130 plate. The rearend is a Dirt Tech 3.5 floater with a Gearworks polished 10-inch unit that has 5.43 gears. Its connected to the Blitzkrieg hubs with 40-spline, 300m axles built by Ryan Stewart at PPM in Ontario, California. PPM sway bar and arms complete the system.

As with the front end, the brakes are again Wilwoods and the shocks Fox with Eibach springs. Also found are all four corners are KMC Enduro wheels and BFGoodrich Baja KR’s. The tires are 39/13.50-17 with 17x8.5 wheels.

When more off-road capabilities are needed, BFGoodrich Baja KR’s and KMC Enduro’s are installed.

Now measuring 410ci, the Ford Windsor is one punched-out small-block. Built by Noppert Racing Engines in Ontario, California, it also now puts out a healthy 496 hp with 519 lb-ft of torque. It’s fed with a K&N topped Demon carburetor that funnels the air/fuel mixture through a Ford Motorsports intake manifold. The sparks come from an MSD 6AL ignition system while the headers were made by an apparently multi-talented Abellana.

The classic 351 Windsor has been punched out to 410 ci, equipped with a Demon carb, MSD ignition, and K&N air filter. It produces 496 horses with 519 lb-ft of torque.

Abellana made sure his truck has a serious transmission 6100 class-legal TH400. Built by Brian’s Automotive, its cooled with a pair of CBR coolers and connects to the custom driveshaft built and balanced by, yep, Abellana.

The cab and doors are still the stock units, but the rest of it is, of course, fiberglass. A McQueen fiberglass front end combines with Trailer Products bedsides to cover the BFG’s and the bright white paint was applied by (who else?) Abellana with the help of “a neighbor that has a lot of experience.”

A pair of Hella headlights combines with some LEDs in the grille. In a very clean setup, Scott at Dezertworks in Montclair, California, fabbed in the custom LED chase and third brake light that’s actually mounted into the cab just like a modern third brake light. Nicely done.

Hella headlights and an LED light strip produce all the light it needs.

In the bed area is the Fuel Safe fuel cell, but also a custom toolbox that’s about the same size as the fuel cell. All needed parts and tools are stored there but there’s also a pair of aluminum coolers on either side of spare tire, which are removable to accept an extra tire at each location just in case.

Inside is all business as Mastercraft Pro 4 seats and Simpson five-point harnesses corral the occupants. The custom dash (yeah, Abellana again) features an Auto Meter dash panel and gauges, a pair of Lowrance GPS units, and a Racer X intercom/Icom radio system.

There’s another seat hiding behind the two Mastercraft Pro 4 seats that’s for Abellana’s daughter. The trio utilizes Simpson five-point harnesses.

Abellana added an Art Carr shifter to his custom-made center console, which has the actuator knob for the engine fire extinguisher, a couple of electrical ports, and a few cupholders too.

An Art Carr shifter is mounted to the custom center console.

Abellana says that he’s built many plated off-road vehicles and didn’t want any issues with the law in this one, so it was built to the limit of the CHP rules. Since he built this vehicle for he and his family to enjoy, he took it for a voluntary inspection by the CHP to make sure it follows DOT regulations. Well, minus the beadlocks and KR tires, of course.

The result is a truck that meets the criteria of all in the house of Abellana. It’s cool, it’s fast, and it’s fun. “As my daughter got older and my racing career slowed down, I envied the old guys I would see on the sides of the racecourse in the middle of nowhere cheering on us racers with their family by their prerunners.”

Now with this Ford, he and the Family Abellana will soon be the envy of all who pass by them.

Another classic, the Demon was rebuilt by The Carb Shop of Ontario, California.
An Auto Meter dash pack, Lowrance GPS units, and an Icom radio/Racer X intercom is situated in the handmade dash.
CNC pedals add to the no-nonsense interior.
A large tool/stuff box is placed before the fuel cell with two other smaller boxes straddling the spare tires.
These neat little, custom-made boxes are perfect for stuff and even act like an ice chest.
The owner-built suspension uses Blitzkrieg hubs and Wilwood brakes.
A Dirt Tech 3.5 floater rearend housing is equipped with Blitzkrieg hubs, 40-spline, 300m axles, and a Gearworks polished 10-inch unit and 5.43 gears.
Abellana designed and built the four-link system, and the trailing arms were made out of 4130 plate.
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Auto Meter
Sycamore, IL 60178
KMC Wheels
Cerritos, CA 90703
Eibach Springs
Corona, CA 92879
Fox Racing Shox
Watsonville, CA 95076
Tulsa, OK
Fuel Safe
Redmond, OR 97756
MasterCraft Safety
Santee, CA 92071
Trailer Products Inc.
Hemet, CA 92543
Wilwood Brakes
Camarillo, CA 93012
Blitzkrieg Motorsports
CNC Brakes
(619) 275-1663
Dirt Tech
MSD Ignition
CBR Performance

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