If you were at the Holley LS Fest West event in Las Vegas in May, or if you were watching the coverage of the event, you may have noticed something a bit odd: there was a very fast and very clean sky-blue Ford F100 pickup running around, doing laps on the autocross and spending time on the dyno.
The LS-powered pickup of Josh Wojciechowski from Great Falls, Montana was getting a lot of attention, and for good reason. Josh traveled over 1,000 miles to LS Fest to show off his hard work: a 1969 Ford F100 pickup powered by a 2001 iron block ,5.3-liter Chevrolet LS engine. This blue oval machine has the heart of a Chevy under the hood.
Photos by: Brian Havins
Josh has always been a bit of a Chevy man. His first car was a 1996 Cavalier, something he isn’t super proud of, but it was a Chevy, and it introduced him to working on cars. He also digs trucks and has owneds a C10 pickup and an S10 with a Chevy small-block. So, you may ask yourself, if Josh likes Chevys and he likes Chevrolet pickups, then where did this Ford come from?
Like a lot of things that come a man’s way, this Ford came through marriage. Josh’s father-in-law, Mike Gittins, had this Ford F100 that was sitting for a number of years in front of his house. The old Ford had engine problems, and someone in the neighborhood was kind enough to back into it one-day, causing damage to the bed. Josh’s father-in-law didn’t want the un-running damaged truck, so Josh picked it up for cheap — $700 cheap to be exact.
The fact that the F100 had some body damage from the collision wasn’t a problem for Josh — he knew he could fix it. He grew up tinkering with things and always had Legos or Erector sets. After high school, Josh attended Wyotech in Wyoming and earned his auto body degree as well as an Associates degree in business management. The 29-year-old currently works as a diesel mechanic in Montana. He knows his way around a wrench and a paint booth. After buying the F100, in his spare time, Josh immediately began fixing up the truck looking for a daily driver. What he didn’t know was that the F100 would end up having a total of five engines, the last three being Chevy motors, before he ended up running it at LS Fest.
Let’s go through the carnage and count the engines.
The first engine that came from the factory, a 360 mated to a three-speed transmission, was no good by the time Josh purchased the vehicle in 2016 (we will call this engine one). Josh went the Ford route at first and swapped in a Ford 460 (engine two) with a carburetor on it. He hated the carburetor as it kept vapor-locking due to heat during a summer cruising it around town. He knew what needed to happen, and he needed Chevy power. He decided to drop in a stock 5.3 LS with a Turbo 350 tranny behind it (engine three). But the whole concept of stock didn’t last long and the next thing you know there was a turbo strapped onto that 5.3-liter engine. A not-so-reputable tuner destroyed that engine, which meant a new motor was needed (engine four). The same tuner that ruined engine three, ruined engine four, as well. Josh went through two engines and had about 40 miles total on the truck. Long story short: no more turbo. Engine five: a 5.3 iron block from Summit Racing would be supercharged instead.
Engine five is still running, the tuner has been fired (obviously), and with a used LSA supercharger on top (either from a Cadillac CTS-V or a ZL-1 Camaro) the 5.3 LS is turning out 498 horsepower to the wheels, as tested at LS Fest (in 107-degree heat). Josh says more power is coming. Josh has done almost all of the work on the F100, including building the engine. He completed all of the bodywork and painted the truck himself in his garage, as well.
“When I had the engine out, I decided to paint the firewall. I used the original factory Ford paint color Sky View Blue to match the interior,” Josh explains. “The firewall looked so good in blue that I decided to go crazy with the build and then painted the entire truck.”
Crazy is a bit of an understatement — not only did Josh swap in five engines, but he also decided he didn’t like the long bed on the F100, so he cut the frame and sourced a pristine 1968 short bed. This generation of Ford F100 was built from 1967 to 1972, so the parts are interchangeable. He swapped in a 1967 grille and shaved the side markers off the hood as well as the front Ford emblem (can’t have that with a bowtie engine so close under the hood).
The craziness on the build didn’t stop with a Chevrolet engine. Josh cut the twin I-beams and engine mounts out of the F100 and replaced it with a 2003-2011 Ford Crown Victoria aluminum front sub-frame, control arms, front sway bar, and front and rear Crown Vic brakes. He wanted the truck to be able to handle autocross events that are run by the local chapter of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in Montana.
“The truck drives like a go-kart,” Josh shares. “It’s fast, it handles amazingly and has lots of power. Of course, traction is always an issue with a pickup.” Josh runs Falken Azenis tires for good lateral grip on the autocross course.
The interior of the truck still has the original factory Ford paint; Josh says he can’t quite get himself to repaint it as it still looks nice. He had a local upholstery company in Montana cover the seats in Mocha Brown vinyl. He has added some nice touches to the interior including some real carbon-fiber trim pieces from Munssey Speed, including a carbon-fiber glove box door, radio delete plate, gauge cluster bezel, and an under-dash A/C vent bezel. Because this truck was built to be driven daily, it also has air conditioning from Restomod Air.
For the rear suspension, Josh flipped the leaf springs over the axle, added a leaf, and then used a lower hanger for the leaf’s attachment points.
“Even with the leaf spring rear suspension, the truck has never wheel-hopped on me,” Josh says. Eventually, he would like to upgrade the rear suspension with a four-link setup and also replace the Crown Victoria brakes with aftermarket Wilwood units. The suspension rides on a Viking coil-over kit initially designed for the Crown Vic.
“The truck cruises nice down the highway,” Josh shares. “It averages about 10 miles-per-gallon.” Josh is not afraid to drive his F100, and he isn’t afraid to haul things in the bed. “I haul stuff in it all the time. I built the truck to be driven — I’ll drive the hell out this thing!”
The wiring under the engine bay was handled with a Jolt Systems engine wiring harness, which is typical for LS swaps. Engine data for the driver is provided through the Edge Insight CTS2 digital gauge. Josh fabricated detail parts himself to get the build to work correctly, like a custom-designed coolant tank to handle the heat from the supercharger, which he had Tig-welded by a local friend. The LS power goes through a 4L80E transmission into an 8.8 rearend out to Weld Racing S71 wheels wrapped in 295/40/18 Falken Azenis. Performance of the big F100 is solid, with a 12.672 ¼-mile pass at 110 mph a very fast pass while sitting vertically in the cab of an old pickup truck chassis.
Josh designed and built the front splitter and rear spoiler — he mocked up the two parts with cardboard and then sent measurements and photos of what he wanted to Kyle Howard with Outcast Autoworks in Reading, PA. Kyle created CAD drawings with specific measurements to fabricate the two different pieces. Josh took those plans to a local waterjet to cut the pieces. Then he had them powder-coated in satin black.
Josh says he has countless hours and probably $40,000 in parts in the build-up of his LS-powered F100. He started the project in 2016 and,five engines later, was racing the truck at LS Fest in May of 2019. He said the hardest part of the build has been sourcing parts for the actual Ford components.
“There isn’t a lot of aftermarket support for the F100,” he says. “For Chevy C10s, no problem, you can get anything, but it is a challenge to find parts for a Ford F100.”
Anytime a Chevy powerplant lands in a Ford there is often drama to be had. Ford guys don’t like it. Chevy guys don’t like it. Nobody is happy. But in the case of Josh Wojciechowski’s LS-powered ‘69 Ford F100 pickup, the build is so well executed, and the stance so right, that Ford and Chevy purists can agree on one thing: this truck was built to haul ass.