The Ford F-series is known across the world as a hardworking truck.
That reputation is a big part of why it earned the title of
America's Bestselling Vehicle for 28 consecutive years. Of course,
a lifetime of dedicated service should be rewarded and, for a few
chosen trucks, a leisurely retirement on the show field awaits.
This '53 Ford F-100 is one of those privileged few. Fresh out of an
extensive frame-off restoration, every inch of this truck is ready
for display. Featuring a dressed small block V8, a custom, air
conditioned interior and a mile-long list of body modifications,
this Ford was built for sunny day cruising and trophy collecting.
If you're in the market for a stand out Effie, settle in and take a
closer look at this '53 F-100.
Formerly known as the Ford F-1, 1953 marked the first year of the "F-100" namesake. It also brought a significant change in styling. The second generation of F-Series was a sturdier looking truck, with an imposing front end and a more composed look than previous Effies. The crew at Pope's Hot Rods in Smyrna, Tennessee took those classic Ford lines and sculpted them into an ultra-clean show piece capable of turning heads at the highest levels. The all-steel cab was chopped three inches before rejoining the steel bed and hood. Fiberglass fenders were then added before everything was massaged to perfection and shot with a glossy coat of Viper Red. Walking around the truck, mirror like reflections can be found from nearly every angle. The work is beyond reproach and the sticker on the passenger side of the windshield shows the crew at Goodguys agreed.
From the reversed hood to the suicide doors, there are a lot of classic street-rod tricks at play on the '53, but a closer look shows a host of supporting details that make this truck stand out in the crowd. Starting at the front, the flat stock bumper is gone, replaced by a smooth fiberglass piece that's layered in rock-resistant film. Above that valance, a clean, body-matched grille features dual-mode headlamps. Naturally, the hood has been freed of the stock Ford badge and, from the front view, the absence of windshield wipers emphasizes stylish rearview mirrors. Along the sides, all badges are gone, the door handles are shaved and the unattractive stock gas filler neck at the bottom of the cab has been replaced by a more modern fuel lid. Behind the cab, the bed has been thoroughly reworked. Every panel has been smoothed and filled to perfection while, beneath the tailgate, a roll pan connects the lines between the bottom of the bed and those deep rear fenders. And while this Ford does feature default LEDs in its bed rails, the truck also features lights hidden under its roll pan, emitting a highly visible glow whenever the brake pedal is tapped.
For 1953, F-100 buyers were given the option between a Flathead V8 or a 215 cubic inch straight-six. Both were trustworthy enough options but, with the stronger of the two producing 101 horsepower in stock form, getting anywhere quickly wasn't in the cards. This '53 addressed that issue by opting for a well-dressed GM 350 crate motor. The block wears a smooth coat of red paint while nearly everything else received a healthy dose of chrome. At the top, an open element air cleaner is covered by a finned chrome cover that ties in well with the finned chrome valve covers at either side. In the center, polished Inglese stacks utilize FAST self-tuning control to deliver a precise mixture of atomized fuel. Up front, a chrome RAB Performance serpentine drive spins a fresh AC compressor next to a 120-amp alternator. At the front of those ancillaries, a PRC cross-flow radiator utilizes two fans and a polished shroud to keep the set up cool. Around the engine, cleanliness remained a high priority. The firewall is completely shaved and almost all wiring is tucked neatly out of sight. Turn the key and the small block fires to life immediately, exhaling through polished headers.
Underneath this Effie, show-quality work continues. The floors are as straight as the body and covered in the same show-quality bright red paint. Polished hardware and neatly tucked lines reinforce the attention to detail used throughout the build. In the center, a reliable TH350 automatic transmission makes easy work of extended cruising, channeling power back to a chrome-plated Ford 9-inch rear packed with 3.50 gears. Around the drivetrain, a modernized suspension starts off with a Fat Man Fabrications Mustang II clip with a polished crossmember and polished control arms. Steering is aided by a power-assisted rack-and-pinion. The back end is held in place by a triangulated 4-link supported by a pair of Alden coil-overs. Naturally the 4-link is polished, perfectly complementing the front end set-up as well as a polished fuel tank and polished dual exhaust. At the corners, 4-wheel disc brakes bring the truck to a halt with authority. And everything rolls on polished Billet Specialties wheels, which meet the ground through Falken Ziex radials in sizes 225/50R17 and 275/45R20, respectively.
It's often said that there is elegance in simplicity and the inside of this Effie definitely makes a case for that idea. Wrapped in Dynamat and lined in tan leather, there's enough contrast to keep the cab interesting without breaking the limits of good taste. A pair of bucket seats offer plenty of support and a touch of luxury thanks to tan leather with subtle custom inserts. At either side, custom door panels hang red paint and billet metalwork in front of power-operated windows. Behind those buckets, the rear cab wall wears even more leather, making it appear as though the seats are molded in. An arrow-like design between the seats draws the eye down towards the low-profile center console which has also been sprayed Viper Red. From the driver seat, a leather-wrapped 3-spoke billet steering wheel offers a connection to the front wheels through a polished tilt-column. Above, a steel, body-matched dash has seats clean telemetry above Vintage Air conditioning. In the center, a tall floor shifter extends all the way to dash height, grounded to the console through a tan leather boot. And, for longer cruises, an AM/FM/CD head unit mounted in the base of the passenger seat provides all the necessary entertainment.
With a reliable well-dressed drivetrain, a killer custom interior and clean lines all around, this Ford is dead-set on turning heads everywhere it goes. If you'd like to join it in the spotlight, don't miss your chance to bring this little red Effie home. Well-built customs don't hang around showrooms for long.
The beneficiary of a professional, frame-off restoration
350 cubic inch GM crate engine / Inglese 8-stack fuel injection
Automatic transmission / TH350
Custom leather interior / Modern audio
Modern Air Conditioning
Ford 9-inch rear axle / 3.50 gears
Fat Man Fabrications Mustang II front suspension / Triangulated 4-link rear suspension
Power rack-and-pinion steering
4-wheel disc brakes
Billet Specialties wheels
Pick of the Day is a like-new Ford F100
Purchased from grandfather, vintage pickup finally is heading to a well-deserved retirement
Brothers like to build, and now there’s a dad-and-daughter project in the works, too
Hand-me-down from uncle to nephew is in original and running condition
The yellow-and-maroon paint scheme may not be to everyone’s liking, but the seller of the Pick of the Day, a 1956 Ford F-100, notes that the pickup is a “very original” fat-fender example
My oldest son, Rob, and I purchased an old farm truck that had almost as much rust as it did clean metal.
Let’s say you are buying your dream car, and you really can’t decide between the classic look of an old truck, or a modern muscle car.
So, what do you think is the fastest-growing segment of car collectors? European sports cars? Rare muscle cars? Classics?
An upcoming exhibit tracing the history of Ford F-Series pickup trucks since 1948, announced for January by LeMay seemed like a good jumping-off point for today’s Pick of the Week.