1954 Ford F-100

Story by Doc  Find him here 

Last year, my brother in law bought himself a nice little project truck, a 1954 Ford F-100, and asked me if I’d build the engine for him. It came with a 351 Cleveland that someone had dropped into it, and I was all for building that, as I’ve always found it to be a great engine.                                               Unfortunately, the affordable options for the 351 are                                                                             limited, and since I wanted more than the stock                                                                                     compression, we finally settled on a 35  engine.

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I couldn’t convince him to go with a standard transmission, so we picked up a THM400 GM transmission and I started the build on the power train, while the truck was being totally stripped down to the chassis.   She was intact, for the most part, and surprisingly, not too badly rusted. But she hadn’t rolled in over 20 years, so I knew we had our work cut out for us to get her ready to show.

We picked up a very low mileage 350 cid engine and the transmission out of a GM motor picture9home and I stripped the engine down for inspection. She was in great shape, and only needed a .015” shaving on the cylinders. The mains and heads were in great shape.

New pistons and shaved heads promised a considerably higher compression ratio than the stock 350, and I stopped just short of needing to upgrade the valves. That gave me plenty to do while the body shop started working on the chassis and body.

The chassis work included new motor mounts and transmission cross-member, as well as a swap-out to a new Mustang II front end conversion. A hood conversion seemed to be a nice touch, too. We decided that power steering would be a good addition. Besides the standard dent removal, priming and preparation, we went through a number of color matching exercises, to find the right paint. We finally settled on a two-tone scheme – black over metallic copper.

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Lapping the valves

Eventually, I got around to the fuel/air system, and settled on a Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold with a manual Edelbrock 650 four barrel carb. The other end of the mill will be handled by some Hooker headers and Thrush glass-packs.

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never enough checking
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Main bearing clearances

Meanwhile, I was busy on my end, and as happy as a pig in the mud! Plenty to do. And by the way, the color chosen for the block and heads was not my idea, and has since been changed to a hi-temp copper.

Eventually, I got around to the fuel/air system, and settled on a Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold with a manual Edelbrock 650 four barrel carb. The other end of the mill will be handled by some Hooker headers and Thrush glass-packs.

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That means a lot of tiny details to work out still. The project has already been a year in the making, but several months of that was waiting to get the truck back from the paint & body shop. We’ll be ordering the wheels and rubber this week, so little by little, she’s coming along. Here’s a basic idea of what our project will look like when she’s done.

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