I like this 1951 Ford F1 pickup. A lot.
Not radically customized, but not 100% stock either, it's a fantastic combination that was designed to be driven comfortably, but still manages to embody why these pickups are so popular. I'm especially pleased to see a warmed-over flathead under the hood instead of another boring Chevy crate motor, and the details throughout the truck will surprise and delight you as you look it over. In the end, it's a highly drivable truck that feels like vintage hardware, but that will be welcome at any rod and custom event you'll attend.
Given a full rebuild just a few years ago, and having traveled less than 3200 miles since then, the paint and bodywork on this truck are in excellent condition. Never conceived as anything but a clean cruiser, the builder nevertheless took his time and did the bodywork correctly. This was probably a very solid truck to begin with, and I can't find obvious signs of trouble in the past anywhere on the truck. I know the bed is new, but the rest is OEM and as a result, panel alignment is very good. The doors open and close with a precision that suggests Fords “million dollar cab” (because it cost $1 million to design and tool) was worth every penny. All the panels except the tailgate are unmodified, while the tailgate was smoothed and redesigned to fit to the rear of the bed much more artfully than the original design. There's a rear roll pan with a pair of flush-mounted taillights, and a third LED taillight molded into the cab above the rear window. There's also a cool flip-up fuel filler door in the left rear fender (the rear fenders are fiberglass), but that's about it for the custom modifications to the bodywork. In my opinion, that's a good thing, since the 1951 Fords were some of the best looking pickups ever designed.
The builder was also kind enough to leave all the original trim intact. The 1951 Ford pickup introduced a new front end. Gone was a smiling horizontal-bar grille and inboard headlamps, replaced by a single-bar grille with three massive "teeth.” On this truck, the grille bar was painted to match the body, leaving only the teeth chrome, which is a subtle, cool twist on the “been there, seen that” monochromatic paint schemes. Fenders of the 1951 Ford pickup were revised to house this new grillework, and headlamps moved farther outboard, and the headlights on this truck are neat HID pieces with blue dots for a modern look and impressive performance. The remaining trim is all OEM, and has been restored to show condition, including the dual rear-view mirrors and unique trim on the sides of the hood. There's new tinted glass all around, including the big windshield, and it is blemish-free. Look in the bed and you'll see that the oak floor has been refinished, and instead of simply staining and varnishing it like everyone else, this floor has been whitewashed for a custom look that goes perfectly with the white paint. And that Pepsi cooler back there has been permanently mounted, a cool retro touch that will get folks at car shows talking.
For power, I'm thrilled that the owner of this truck didn't follow the crowd and dump a garden variety crate motor in the engine compartment. Instead, he went old school with a hot 239 cubic inch Ford Flathead modified with some period-correct speed parts. You've undoubtedly noticed those gorgeous Offenhauser cylinder heads, left in the natural as-cast finish instead of polished. Up top, there's a matching Offenhauser 4-barrel intake manifold topped by a 390 CFM Holley carburetor. Inside there's a vintage Isky ¾-race camshaft, and a set of cool Fenton headers produce that traditional flathead sound. The electrical system has been upgraded to 12 volts, and a MSD billet distributor hands out the spark. A Carter electric fuel pump has been installed in place of the original mechanical unit, and for a really retro engine compartment, there's a “beehive” oil filter taking care of the lubricant. Up front, an original style heavy duty brass and copper radiator with an integral transmission cooler keeps it cool, assisted by CoolFlex lines and hoses. The entire engine compartment was bathed in more white paint, accented by hand-painted pinstripes for a very 50s appeal. It's not over-wrought, it hasn't been chromed or polished to the point of being unusable, and it's just a reliable, powerful setup whose basic recipe was perfected decades ago.
Backing up the potent flathead is a C4 3-speed automatic that uses a Flat-O-Matic conversion kit to mate it to the engine. Fully rebuilt, it also features a Gear Vendors overdrive system for easy highway cruising. There's a switch on the dash to select manual or automatic operation, and it's triggered by a floor-mounted button. The original 3-speed manual transmission shifter was adapted to select the gears on the automatic, and the original clutch and brake pedals were retained and joined together via a welded bracket. Too cool!
The frame was boxed and painted in DuPont Imron for durability. Up front, a FatMan Mustang II front suspension system was installed, and features tubular A-arms, a power rack and pinion steering system, and disc brakes for modern stopping ability. Out back, the stock rear differential was retained, including the 3.89 gears, but it is hanging from a Posi Parallel rear leaf kit. Modern tube shocks have been installed all around, and a power brake booster has been installed under the floor. A true dual exhaust system has been installed with Ford accessory exhaust tips out back to complete the vintage look. And in this world of billet aluminum 20-inch wheels, I'm delighted to see modest 15x6-inch steel wheels with original Ford truck hubcaps and trim rings for a very stock look. Tires are properly sized, with 205/75/15s front and 225/70/15 rear Cooper Trendsetter radials.
The interior is like the exterior nothing flashy, just great craftsmanship with a traditional flair. The seats have been reupholstered in blue leather, and the matching door panels and headliner compliment the white paint perfectly. Armrests and seat and shoulder belts have been added for comfort and safety, while there are new carpets and a rubber floor mat under your feet. The dash is still sporting all its original gauges, which have been expertly restored and upgraded for use with the 12-volt electrical system. There's an auxiliary temperature gauge that has been cleverly stashed inside the original ashtray, keeping the inside of this truck pure 1950s. As I mentioned before, the original 3-speed manual shifter has been modified to control the automatic, and topped by a real billiards 8-ball (you absolutely must have a skull or an 8-ball shifter in your '50s custom). The original tube-type radio is still in the dash, augmented by a modern Kenwood AM/FM/CD system that powers speakers mounted in the kick panels. I have to believe that's the original steering wheel, restored and subtly modified with a blue finish.
Documentation is extensive, including restoration photos, receipts, manuals for all the components, catalogs, and several how-to articles. We also have two separate appraisals, both of which pin the value of this truck well above the current asking price ($34,900 and $50,000 respectively).
I said it before and I'll say it again love this truck! If I had the room to store it, I would probably buy it for myself, it's that nice. The price is extremely appealing, and even doing it I, I couldn't duplicate this truck for the asking price. I would drive it to work every day, have some fun hitting the cruise nights with it, and it's still fully functional as a pickup, too, so weekends at Home Depot would be a blast. The modifications are subtle and smart, with nothing radical inside or out. The hardware is tried and true, and any time I see an old vehicle sporting an original style flathead, it makes me smile because the owner didn't take the easy way out with a crate motor. All that adds up to a great looking, great driving truck that will bring you years of pleasure. I'm going to make this one my #1 pick for this week this Ford won't last 10 days on the showroom floor. Don't miss your chance, and call today!