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'78 Ford F-250

Posted in Project Vehicles on May 1, 2002 Comment (0)
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110large+1978 ford f250+side view
Under the hood of Gemmell’s Ford resides a big-block engine that’s topped with a Littlefield 8-71 blower. The ’66 Cobra Jet engine is stuffed with performance items, and it builds more than 800 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. It’s backed up by a heavily modified C-6 transmission. Under the hood of Gemmell’s Ford resides a big-block engine that’s topped with a Littlefield 8-71 blower. The ’66 Cobra Jet engine is stuffed with performance items, and it builds more than 800 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. It’s backed up by a heavily modified C-6 transmission.
The interior of David Gemmell’s Ford is all business. The driver overlooks a slew of Auto Meter gauges that monitor rpm, oil pressure, water temperature, blower boost, transmission temperature, and voltage. Shifting of the C-6 transmission is via a floor-mounted Hurst Quarter Stick. Entertainment is provided by a high-end audio system that includes four 12-inch subwoofers. The interior of David Gemmell’s Ford is all business. The driver overlooks a slew of Auto Meter gauges that monitor rpm, oil pressure, water temperature, blower boost, transmission temperature, and voltage. Shifting of the C-6 transmission is via a floor-mounted Hurst Quarter Stick. Entertainment is provided by a high-end audio system that includes four 12-inch subwoofers.
Residing under the front of the Ford is a 2 1/2-ton Rockwell military axle that sports custom hydraulic steering as well as a driveline brake. It rides on a custom suspension that was fabbed by Gemmell and creates 15 inches of total lift. Residing under the front of the Ford is a 2 1/2-ton Rockwell military axle that sports custom hydraulic steering as well as a driveline brake. It rides on a custom suspension that was fabbed by Gemmell and creates 15 inches of total lift.
A custom rear suspension holds the steerable 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axle. Like the front axle, it sports custom hydraulic steering and a driveline brake. A custom rear suspension holds the steerable 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axle. Like the front axle, it sports custom hydraulic steering and a driveline brake.
115large+1978 ford f250+side view
The specs. The specs.

We used to know this guy who named his vehicles. This guy had a name for each one of his classic Volvos. The name he chose for each one represented what he considered to be the vehicles personality. For instance, he had this black, boxy, 60s-era Volvo that he called Stanley because he thought it looked stodgy. He never, ever, referred to his cars by their model names. Instead, he used just their owner-christened names. If we were to apply this entertaining but strange little idea to David Gemmells 78 Ford F-250, we'd be inclined to call it Bubba, because this Flame Red Ford is massive and powerful, and as we all know, you never, ever, want to mess with a dude named Bubba.

Residing under the hood of the Ford, sitting on custom motor mounts, is an angry, supercharged 456ci engine that spews a mind-boggling 820 hp at 6,400 rpm, and generates 1,000 lb-ft of torque at 5,890 rpm. This monster began life as a 427 Cobra Jet engine that was tucked inconspicuously into a 1966 Chris Craft boat. According to Gemmell, the Cobra Jet engines were built on Fords industrial line, and one of their characteristics included a five-percent-higher nickel content in the castings than a standard Ford engine. This created a much stronger block, hence more durability, which is perfect for a blower application. Gemmells engine was machined by Beatty & Woods Performance Engines in Mississuaga, Ontario, and assembled with a laundry list of performance parts.

The balanced and blueprinted, bored and stroked engine sports JE Pistons, a Melling oil pump, Competition Cams camshaft, Manley stainless-steel valves, Competition Cams valve springs, Dove Engineering titanium roller rockers, Cobra Jet iron N casting heads, Hampton lower intake and blower spacer, a Littlefield 8-71 blower, and dual Holley 750cfm carburetors. The engines electrical system is composed of dual 1,065 cca batteries, a Propower 180-amp alternator, MSD 6BTM ignition control module, electronic distributor, MSD Blaster 2 coil, Taylor 409 sparkplug wires, and NGK spark plugs. Gemmell wanted the ultimate free-breathing exhaust system, so he fabbed his own headers. They feature 2 1/4-inch primaries that feed to a 4-inch outlet. From there, 4-inch pipes feed 50-series Flowmaster mufflers before exiting through five-inch tail pipes.

Gemmell knew that an engine creating more than 800 hp needed beefy driveline components that could handle the torque, so he heavily modified a C-6 tranny with a 5-disc forward clutch with roller bearings (stock C-6 trannies have a 3-disc forward clutch), a Turbo Action reverse-pattern manual valvebody, Fireball torque converter, custom cooler, B&M aluminum pan, and a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter. Behind the tranny is a divorced NP205 transfer case that feeds power to custom driveshafts that spin the 6.72:1 gears in beefy Rockwell 2.5-ton axles. The rear axle is a steerable unit; both the front and rear axles sport custom hydraulic steering. Tires are 44x19.5x16.5 Boggers mounted on custom 16.5x16.5 steel wheels. The wheel/tire combo fits under the Ford with room to spare, thanks to a custom leaf-spring suspension that offers 15 inches of total lift.

On the outside, Gemmell bolted up rust-free body panels he found in the southern United States. He envisioned a good looking, but flash-free appearance for his truck, so he kept exterior mods to a minimum except for a 3-inch body lift. Probably the most eye-catching item is the Flame Red urethane paint, which was sprayed by John Self at JKS Collision in Mississuaga, Ontario. It captures your attention with its super-bright, wet-look finish. Knowing that the 800hp engine would have a major-league thirst for fuel, Gemmell mounted a massive 75-gallon fuel tank in the bed of the Ford to eliminate a lot of trips to the gas station.

Inside the cab, things are rather sedate, as the driver and passenger ride on stock seating. For entertainment, the cab features a serious stereo system that includes a Blaupunkt head unit, three Kenwood amplifiers, four 12-inch Earthquake subwoofers, four 6 1/4-inch Pioneer speakers, and two 1-inch dome tweeters. The most important upgrade was the addition of six Auto Meter gauges. These allow Gemmell to monitor oil pressure, water temperature, blower boost, transmission temperature, voltage, and engine rpm.

Thanks to help from friends Paul Echlin and Adam Craig of Smiths Falls, Ontario, Gemmell and his wife Lisa were able to create this ground-pounding, terrain-taming Ford in less than two years, and they are quick to point out that even though it looks pretty, they don't hesitate to use it to go wheeling.

So feel free to call this Ford Bubba, or whatever other name you might like. But whatever name you might choose, it all becomes irrelevant when you hear the massive engine fire up.

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