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First Hand Account
by: Marty Perkins
Nearly seven years ago I brought home a rusty hulk that had in a former life been a 1949 Ford F1 pickup. It really was a pathetic thing wasting away with a small oak tree growing up right through the bed.
The front clip lay on the ground a few feet away from where it should have been. I had no idea what I was going to end up with, as I'd never built a vehicle modified for the eye before. All my past endeavors had been purely hotrod muscle in nature. All I knew was that I had never undertaken a project this big.
I removed the 1961 390 mill and 3 speed trans that was installed in the beast's midlife crisis years. That, the original '49 rear, and the entire front suspension went to a friend with a similar project. I stripped the frame, sandblasted it, patched myriad holes and ancient torchings, and chopped off the rear four feet.
I fashioned my own rear frame from 2x4 tubing and built a mustang front suspension and crossmember. A friend's deceased '75 mustang donated arms, power rack, spindles, struts, and all the necessary geometry lessons. Since the truck was 3" wider than the mustang.
I used another rack and built inserts to lengthen the rack at the tie rod pivots. Sway bar end bushings and strut rubbers were replaced with ball ends. The frame was finished off with black iso-acrylic enamel.
I chopped a Ford 9" rear end from a '67 Fairlane and added large bearing ends. Then came custom mounts for the AVO coil-overs and the brackets for the uneven four-link suspension from Ron Baker Racecars. Ron was nice enough to let me use his facility and specialty tooling to shorten the rear myself.
The cab was a wreck. A whole new floor was in order and after some 21 fabricated patch panels, it's integrity was restored. I replaced the bottom third of both doors too since they had seen better days.