1974 Ford F-100: The Family Truckster

This F-100 Had High Expectations To Meet

Matt EmeryPhotographer, Writer

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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