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This Was Once a Lowrider?

Posted in Project Vehicles on May 1, 2001
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235large+1956 ford f100+front left view
236large+1956 ford f100+open tailgate rear right view
237large+1956 ford f100+headlight view
238large+1956 ford f100+badge view
239large+1956 ford f100+emblem view
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241large+1956 ford f100+under front view
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244large+1956 ford f100+engine view

It’s hard to imagine that Mike Webb’s immaculate red F-100 truck started life as a primered, two-wheel-drive lowrider. But Mike’s brilliant show-stopper was transformed from that starting point into one of the cleanest vintage 4x4s around.

After acquiring the truck from his uncle in Michigan, Mike immediately went to work with a complete frame-off restoration and engine swap. First he yanked the 351 Windsor and C-4 automatic tranny that a previous owner had installed, then tore the truck down to the frame and proceeded to take measurements. The frame was then sandblasted, boxed, smoothed and powdercoated, and was redesigned with an integrated body lift. Three additional crossmembers were added for strength.

A very healthy 460cid V-8 is the powerplant of choice and fits snugly under the hood. It was balanced and bored-over .030 inches by B-K Machining in Muncie, Indiana, and has a compression ratio of 8:1, provided in part by TRW forged pistons and cast heads from a 1972 Ford. A Comp Cams camshaft runs Manley Severe Duty valves, which are fortified with Comp Cams springs and stock rockers. The engine is fed by dual Edelbrock Performer Series 750cfm carbs and a 671 Hampton Blower bolted to a Hampton intake manifold. Exhaust gases exit through L&L stainless headers into Flowmaster mufflers with Stainless Specialties wide oval tips. A Melling high-volume oil pressurizes the lubricant with the help of a stock chromed Ford oil pan and cooler. The fuel is ignited by an MSD Blaster II coil and Mallory Unilite distributor through Taylor plug wires and AC Rapid Fire spark plugs.

The power threads through a Ford C-6 automatic transmission modified with a custom torque converter by Precision Converters. A B&M shift kit provides crisp gear changes, and a Perma-Cool framerail-type cooler and chromed pan keep the internals from getting too hot. A rebuilt and fortified NP205 transfer case caps the tranny and is bolted to a Dana 44 front axle from a ’78 Bronco. That T-case sends torque to a Ford 9-inch rear axle through custom driveshafts fabricated by Indy Clutch and Joint. Both axles house 3.50:1 gears and Auburn differentials.

The original custom-boxed frame sits tall on Skyjacker 9-inch-lift front coil springs and the original rear leaf springs with 5½-inch custom blocks. The front radius arms, spring towers, and shock mounts came out of a 1978 Ford Bronco. A Superlift track bar and radius arm drop bracket was incorporated to make it all work. Six Rancho 5000 shocks and a single Rancho steering stabilizer rein in the bumps and keep the rig in control. To clear 35x14.5 Mickey Thompson Baja Radials on 15x10 Centerline Hellcat wheels, the custom body lift integrated into the frame provided the final tweak.

As you can see, not a single detail was overlooked in restoring this classic beauty. The exterior features a striking chrome-trimmed pine bed and lots of chrome by Shelbyville Plating and Polishing. Finally, a PPG Inferno Red spray job completed the transformation. The interior of this vintage ’56 features Auto Meter gauges including tachometer, oil pressure, fuel, and water temperature as well as a Grant classic steering wheel. Good vibrations flow out of a Kenwood KDC-4009 AM/FM CD player through two Kenwood amps, JBL 10-inch subs, and 6-inch Kenwood speakers.

Mike’s ’56 Ford has impressed judges in truck shows throughout the Midwest and has got our attention as well. It’s one of the finest vintage buildups we’ve seen.

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