Resto-Rodding my 1950 Ford F-1
This web page is about restoring/resto-rodding a 1950 Ford F-1 pickup, and is
one of a series of articles documenting the project. I am providing this in the
hope that it is helpful to fellow Ford truck owners, but beware that there are
many ways to accomplish the same goals... I have only shown one way.
Also, keep in mind, that my comments are specific to this year, make and model,
and should not be generalized.
Feel free to drop me a line if you see mistakes or need more information, but
please understand if it takes me a while to respond. To go back to the
main project page click here.
BackgroundMy great-grandfather ("Clemmie") bought this truck sometime in the 1950's. He handed it down to one of his sons, who subsequently gave it to his son, and then in 1991 it was given to me (Thanks, Uncle Bill!). It was in driving shape when I received it, and I drove it regularly when I was home from college for several years. After graduating from college and taking a job out of state, I left the truck with my parents, and since I can't go home as often now, it slowly got to the point that it didn't run very well. So my dad and I decided to "Resto-Rod" it.
Here's a movie of my Great-Grandfather driving the truck! [3 MB]
The above movie is snippet taken from my Great-Uncle Bob's original 8mm footage; I think it was filmed at Easter in 1956-57, based on other parts of the film (not shown) that show a 1956 Chevy in the background, and the age of other family members.
The GoalWe wanted to restore and update the truck, staying true to the original, while improving reliability and maintainability at the same time. We intend to keep the exterior appearance pretty close to stock (e.g. we're not chopping or lowering it). The powertrain receives the most updating, but even so, it remains a flathead.
January 2011: All major work is complete.
May 2011: Changed layout of web site, drop me a note if you find broken links or missing pictures.
The rebuild is documented in sections. Click a link to visit the section. I intend to update this site as we progress through the rebuild, so check back from time to time.
Short Movie of the Project from start to finish! [5 mins, 6 MB, no audio]
Links and Resources
Here are some good links for Flatheads and Ford Trucks:
There are a lot of suppliers these days for vintage Ford replacement and hot rod parts. I have done business with each of these suppliers, and recommend them; I've tried to highlight what the supplier's specialties are.
Primary Suppliers - recommend getting catalogs from these suppliers
- Patrick's Antique Cars and Trucks - Specializing in Flathead engine parts and 12V conversions, superb customer service and technical source, highly recommended for Flathead parts and advice. Very basic web site, get a catalog and call them.
- Speedway Motors - Nebraska - lots of parts for Flathead engines, rod parts, brake & tranny conversions, often have their own version of some part that's high quality and good price, fast & reliable shipping, good tech support
- Mac's Antique Auto Parts - New York - original and reproduction parts only, comprehensive selection for cars & trucks, not the fastest shipping but good customer service
- C&G Early Ford - California - original and reproduction parts, comprehensive, sometimes pricey
- Sacramento Vintage Ford - California - original and reproduction parts
- Mac Van Pelt - early ford transmissions and rebuilt T-5's
- Wilcap - transmission adapters and accessories
- John's F-Fun Hundreds - California - this was a recent find for me, but they seem to have a good selection and they had some parts that were chronically backordered at other suppliers. Exclusively deals in 1948-1979 Ford Trucks! I really like their web site - everything is broken down by category, and then exploded views are used to identify all parts. Really slick, wish everyone did this, check it out! Not much feedback after the order, like shipping notifications.
Local and Secondary Suppliers
ReferencesIf you're going to rebuild a flathead, here are some great books. Most of these can be ordered online from Barnes & Noble. We relied heavily on references 1, 2 & 4 for the engine, and reference 7 for the transmission. References 3 & 6 are really aimed at extreme engine performance, and reference 5 is very basic, but it has some decent history and good tips.
- Frank Oddo, Ford Flathead V-8 Builder's Handbook 1932-1953, California Bill's Automotive Handbooks, ©2002, ISBN 1-931128-11-1
- George McNicholl, How to Build a Ford Flathead V-8, Motorbooks Workshop Series, ©2003, ISBN 0760314934
- George McNicholl, How to Build Ford Flathead V-8 Horsepower, Motorbooks Workshop Series, ©2005, ISBN 0760322902
- Ron Ceridono, Tex Smith's The Complete Ford Flathead V8 Engine Manual, CarTech Incorporated, ©1995, ISBN 1884089119
- Ron Bishop, Rebuilding the Famous Ford Flathead, TAB Books, ©1981, ISBN 0-8306-2066-4
- Mike Davidson, Flathead Tuning Manual, Graffiti Publications Ltd, ©2004, ISBN 0-949398-03-9
- Mac Van Pelt, The Ins and Outs of Early Ford Transmissions, Glenn Van Pelt (dba), ©2006, www.flatheadv8.com.
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