This custom F100 show truck known as the "Bronze Bomber" was built by John Bickford, Jeff Gordon's stepfather. Beneficiary of a complete, frame-off, nut-and-bolt restoration and modified to modern street cruiser specifications. With a Ford 351-cubic-inch V-8, a four-speed automatic, a suspension from a C5 Corvette and all the comfort and convenience equipment of a modern car, this truck still maintains the look of a 1960s-era street rod.
Powered by a 351 Windsor, built by Smith Automotive Machine Shop of Frankfort, Kentucky, which produces a dyno-tested 403 horsepower. The engine features HYPT pistons, a Comp Cams 477/.493-lift camshaft, chrome-moly push rods, aluminum roller rockers, Edelbrock Performer RPM aluminum heads, an Edelbrock Victor series aluminum water pump, and a double-roller timing chain. Fuel arrives via a Mr. Gasket fuel pump to a Holley carburetor. An MSD ignition system provides spark through Ford Racing wires. A Streetdrive pulley system manages the accessories and alternator. A custom aluminum radiator keeps the coolant at optimal temperature with an electric fan and aluminum overfill canister. The engine breathes through JBA headers and a Borla Pro XS dual exhaust system. The aluminum valve covers and custom air cleaner housing were painted to match the body and the engine bay, then stenciled the same color as the interior. With 804 miles on the odometer, this truck has been fully sorted.
The engine pairs with a professionally built, column-shifted Ford AOD four-speed automatic transmission. The transmission is equipped with a Hughes 2500 stall-speed torque converter along with a transmission cooler and a TCI transmission pan. A custom driveshaft sends power to a Currie 9-inch Ford rear end with 31-spline axles, 3.78 gears and a Hendrick Motorsports center section directly from the shop. The rear end is painted to match the exterior.
The undercarriage of this truck is just as impressive as the top side, with the frame painted to match the body, as was the stainless steel fuel tank. This F-100 is equipped with power steering that is said to function well. The four-wheel disc brakes feature a Classic Performance Products master cylinder and are assisted by a brake booster. The front suspension was lifted from a C5 Corvette, including polished control arms and coilover shocks. At the rear, the original cart spring suspension gives way to a torsion bar setup with Competition Suspension Inc. shocks.
The truck is finished with a set of Budnik E85 SKO Hallibrand-style 18-inch wheels, polished with Bronze centers. The wheels are wrapped with new 245/45R18 (front) and 275/45R18 (rear) Pirelli P Zeros. The wheel and tire setup alone comes with receipts for more than $6,000. Include with the sale are a set of custom five-spoke aluminum 15-inch wheels. The spare wheels have Optimo ME04 225/70R15s up front, and General Grabber HTS 265/75R15s on the rear.
The cab and doors are original to the truck, according to the seller. He notes that all of the remaining sheet metal including the entire bed was replaced. The seller calls out the even body gaps throughout, and the ease at which the doors and hood open and close. Custom aluminum hinges from No Limit Engineering allow the hood to open and tilt forward. The body was finished in Cherrywood Bronze, a 1961 Pontiac color. The seller deems the paint to be “in excellent condition,” and the truck received a full detail to a show-quality shine.
The glass has all be replaced with new, tinted components, and the vent windows were removed for a cleaner appearance. The windshield has stainless trim and the rear window has black rubber trim. The chrome grille, headlight buckets, chrome wipers, chrome custom dual mirrors, chrome door handles, covered key holes, modern headlights, 1932 Ford taillights, license plate holder and bumpers have either been restored or replaced. The new rear bed was completely painted and dressed with stainless steel bolts throughout. The bed has a new wood floor with chrome rails and chrome tailgate hinges. The custom fuel filler has been relocated to the rear of the wood floor for a stealthy appearance.
The passenger cabin was painted to match the body. The headliner, door panels and bench seat are upholstered in brown and tan leather, and equipped with matching brown safety belts. The floor was covered with custom carpeting that draws colors from the rest of the interior and exterior. The truck is equipped with Vintage Air air conditioning, and custom vents were added to the dash for air flow. The controls are hidden in the glovebox. The interior features an Ididit tilt steering column with a brushed mounting bracket and billet levers, Budnik Shotgun steering wheel with a Bronze center that matches the wheels, Specialty power windows, drilled window cranks, drilled door handles and billet pedals. A custom panel under the bench seat includes a power outlet, the wiper motor knob, the headlight knob, a Kenwood stereo and two Dayton Audio speakers. The fuses are located behind the bench seat and covered with a custom carpeted cover.
The basis of the build is a rust-free California truck which was hauled east to North Carolina. After spending “a day or so” getting the old motor in it running, a two-and-a-half year build project began, which involved a full tear down and complete build up to the truck listed here.
This vehicle has a NC state assigned VIN, as the original VIN number was not legible, and is titled as a 56 Ford truck.
This is a stunningly beautiful 1956 Ford F-100 restomod that evokes the classic custom pickups of the 1950s and 1960s, but is also equipped with all of the modern conveniences to make it a pleasure to drive on today’s streets. Private party sale; no taxes.