Whenever I attend an event, I like to peruse the entire show before starting to make a list of my favorite rides. This can pose a challenge, as finding something other than our beloved Mustang can be difficult since the quality and sheer number of Mustangs in attendance usually take priority. However, at the 2023 Holley Ford Fest, the East South-Central Appalachia area and its surroundings proved that the classic truck scene is still alive and thriving. These trucks prioritize creativity and ingenuity over cookie-cutter builds, offering a refreshing take on what a classic F-100 truck can become when reimagined.
When you own a shop, you naturally want to showcase the kind of work you can perform with a truck or two of your own. Todd Johnson breathed new life into his 1953 Ford F-100 by adding a Mustang II front suspension with 2-inch dropped spindles. Under the hood, he removed the old flathead in favor of the more common 302 cubic-inch small-block Ford. The original Crown Vic engine is mated to an AOD transmission, with power being sent to a Ford 9-inch rearend.
The build didn’t stop with suspension and drivetrain, though. Johnson addressed creature comfort and aesthetics alike. The interior was reupholstered, and all the windows were replaced with new units. The window felt and chrome trim were replaced as well. When I think of a cool cruiser, it’s hard to beat the looks of the early F-100’s, especially with the original cabin cooler poking up just beyond the hood.
Free Wheeling Ranger
If you’re a fan of the classic F-100 and Bronco scene, then the Free Wheeling graphics probably speak to you. Tim Daws decided to spice up his 1977 Ford F-100 Ranger’s character by applying the classic tones. While the autumn colors captured much of the attention, the truck actually underwent a frame-off restoration that included a 5.0-liter engine, C4 transmission, and a 3-inch front and 5-inch rear DJM suspension drop. The chassis was upgraded to include power steering, power disc brakes, and air conditioning. Providing cool tunes to match the cool truck is a Retro Sounds audio setup.
Dedicated To A Late Wife
After losing his wife to cancer, Louis Guzzo decided to ease his mind during the COVID era by building a 1967 F-100 as a memorial. Starting from the ground up, Guzzo utilized a Roadster Shop chassis paired with an AccuAir air system to give the truck the lowest possible stance. The ride remains smooth thanks to QA1 shocks on all four corners. A modern 5.0-liter Coyote engine, backed by a 6R80 transmission, provides the power, while Baer disc brakes peek through all four Detroit Steel 20-inch wheels.
Inside the cabin, a complete TMI interior was installed. Vintage Air keeps everyone cooled off, and a Dakota Digital dash gives engine readouts on the fly. Adding a touch of class is the German-weaved carpet. This truck provides a perfect combination of looks and performance, and it’s an amazing tribute to his late wife. We look forward to seeing more of this truck at upcoming shows.
The 1999-2001 SVT Cobra engine rarely gets much love when compared to its supercharged successor. However, that didn’t stop Joe Henke from installing one in his 1967 Ford F-100 and driving it over 700 miles during the Holley Ford Fest weekend! The engine is controlled by a Holley Terminator X and is mated to a T-45 five-speed manual transmission.
The suspension has been revamped with a custom four-link in the rear, utilizing QA1 dual adjustable coilovers and a ¾-inch splined sway bar. In the front, a Mustang 2-based crossmember with tubular A-arms, QA1 dual adjustable coilovers, and a 1-inch splined sway bar have been installed. Bringing the Cobra-powered F-100 to a stop are Wilwood Engineering 6-piston brakes on the front and 4-piston brakes on the rear.
While addressing the drivetrain and suspension is how most truck builds begin, Henke took it a step further with his custom exterior. The front bumper consisted of three original bumpers that were filled in the center and wrapped around the front end. A custom splitter made from ABS plastic adds aggressive aesthetics. In the rear, a Chevrolet C10 bumper was flipped and notched for the license plate and exhaust. The F-100’s bed features Seadeck boat flooring. This Avery vinyl Satin Midnight wrap stood out from the crowd and made for one sweet ride.
Crew Cab From The North
When thinking of a truck that would serve as the perfect hauler for your camper or be used as the ideal landscape truck, most people don’t consider a 1970 Ford four-door crew cab. However, Mark Leonard decided that this Canadian import H-code truck would suffice for the jobs he needed it to do and has been using it consistently. Recently, the truck was repainted with Summit Racing Battleship Gray and Pure White, while the interior was completely revamped in a classic red tone.
The truck retains a 390 cubic-inch FE engine but has been bored .030-inches over and has an RV camshaft installed. The engine is paired with a C6 automatic transmission. The rear houses a Dana 60 with 3:73 gearing. Although the truck only gets 10 mpg when not towing and 6 mpg with a camper behind it, Leonard still uses the truck everywhere he goes.
When Steve Quick and his wife, Marla, went looking for an F-100 to build up, they stumbled upon a 1970 F-100 Custom Cab that had a worn-out 302 cubic-inch engine and no transmission. No big deal, as the couple works together in the garage and it only took them 18 months to bring the truck back to life.
The truck was stripped down, with the engine and all body panels removed, including the bed and cab. Then, a complete QA1 front and rear suspension with anti-sway bars was installed. A Boyd Welding aluminum fuel tank was relocated to the rear. Under the hood, a Gen-2 Coyote engine, 6R80 transmission, and Lokar sport shifter were installed. The duo decided to leave the body as-is and added 20-inch US Mags wheels wrapped in Nitto tires. Behind the large-barrel wheels are a set of Wilwood four-piston calipers on all corners. The final result was a truck that the couple can enjoy attending Holley Ford Fest yearly.
Team Last Minute
What happens when you want to bring a few of your vehicles to Holley Ford Fest? Well, you throw a recently rebuilt engine into your F-100 shop truck the night before! Chris Donaldson and his wife spent the weeks prior rebuilding the FE engine and installed it just hours before heading out to Beech Bend Raceway.
The 390 cubic-inch engine is modernized with FiTech fuel injection and a 4R70W transmission. A Crown Vic front end replaces the original setup, and the truck sits nicely on a set of 18-inch wheels all around. Since we know how well Chris can build a truck, we’re excited to see what the new “shop truck” becomes.
There are certain trucks that just shine with elegance. Brent Poole’s 1955 Ford F-100 did just that when the sun hit the truck, and my eyes were drawn closer. The paint, body, and interior were all top-notch. With a flick of a switch, the truck’s one-piece front end lifts forward, and you can see its clean 429 cubic-inch big-block Ford. The engine was stuffed with a Schneider custom grind roller cam and topped with a Weiand tunnel ram setup and custom-made headers that wrap around the frame.
The interior has been completely done in white, with Classic Instruments gauges lined in gold trim to offset the red. The floorboard showcased a Kilduff Lightning Rod shifter. The interior’s pristine white finish made me nervous, fearing I might get it dirty. However, if you like this truck, you’re in luck because it was one of the lucky ones to get a full feature and will be coming soon to Ford Muscle magazine!
There is something about a classic truck that the South continues to love. It might be the versatility of the builds, the individuality, or the fact that you can haul a camper behind it. While the reasons remain uncertain, these trucks are gaining in numbers, and we’re excited to see which trucks we’ll witness racing and showing at next year’s Holley Ford Fest.