When this truck wasn't old yet, there was a trend where a custom or performance shop would have a truck they used to run errands, haul parts and components to and from the parts store, machine shop, bone yard, lunch runs or what ever needed to be done. Sometimes that truck was used to pull a show car or a race car to an event like a car show or to the race track on a trailer. If a race car needed to be push started, the truck, often outfitted with some type of front push-bar, board bumper and the like to easier achieve this task. The shop name and maybe a logo would often be painted or otherwise signed on the rig somewhere. Sometimes that truck, that began as a blank canvas, was modified to demonstrate what the shop could do... kind of a rolling billboard.
That's where I'm going with this. Kind of a one toe over the line version of form follows function. This is not a show car and is not intended to be. It's a cool looking work horse. It'll cruise on the streets and interstates with no problem. It'll haul engines, transmissions, body parts and pull a trailer on long or short trip. It'll push a car to the starting line, and get it back to the pits when it's all over. And look good doing it.
Seeing as how the truck is being used on a regular basis, the first step is to get it to a safe and reliable state.
This truck was never plated or registered, it was a farm truck in Mississippi. The suspension, front and rear was beat up and augmented with coil springs welded between the frame and axles. The tie rod was bowed and the brakes were little more than present. The drive home was an adventure to say the least. When I removed the coils, the truck was automatically lowered about 4 inches. The tie rod was replaced and the brakes were rebuilt. I put different wheels and tires on; 255/70-15's in front, &amp; 285/70-15's in back. BIG difference.
A tune up allowed it to run strong, but it smoked pretty bad and the valve covers leaked... a lot! As is typical with Ford's Y-blocks, The oil galleys under the valve covers were plugged with sludge and the valve covers were filling up with oil. After clearing the passageways, I added a quart of good ol' Marvel Mystery Oil, a fresh dose of 10 w 30 and ran it for a week or so, about 150 miles. Changing the oil and filter again yielded a drain pan full of BLACK almost chunky oil. This was repeated a couple more times, and the smoking continuously decreased, while the leaking stopped. Eventually the engine quit smoking all together!
I installed new front leaf springs, rebuilt the king pins, installed a 2 inch dropped axle and replaced the shocks. NOW we're getting somewhere!
A new exhaust system was next... I removed the front crossover pipe and blocked the crossover port on the passenger side manifold. I then fabricated a 3 inch dual exhaust system with 40 series Flowmaster mufflers. That ol' Y- Block sounded really good!
It sits better, it runs better, it sounds better and it drives pretty good. I do not like the camber I'm given with that dropped axle, though...
The Shop truck was cool, but I wanted more. I wanted it to handle much better than it did. Bumpsteer is a bummer! And I'd like it a little lower. My son was parting out an 80 Z-28, and wasn't keeping the sub-frame, making it available for $o.oo. Right in my price range! I decided to use that sub-frame to make it handle and drop the truck on the ground. First I reversed the rear axle's spring pads to above the axle, C'd the frame and lowered the rear considerably. Then I yanked the engine and trans... all of which I promptly sold. I removed the front clip. Then out came the sawzall and off came the front section of the frame. I fitted and tacked the Z-28 subframe onto the '59 Ford frame. After some tweeking, I got the front clip and the box back on to see how it looked. The good news is it looks awesome! The bad news is that now I want to chop it too!
The top is cut 3 inches because in my mind, that's where it looks like it needs to be. The top has to be widened... It's like chopping a pyramid. I need another top to make this as uneventful as possible. So it's junkyard crawl time. I also want a different grille and headlight configuration. I've always liked canted quad headlights, and it fits the era I'm working for. I found what I want for headlights on an old Orion bus, retired from C.T.A. (Chicago transit Authority). I made some cardboard templates in the shape of the headlights to aid in placement. As for the grille, well I left a message and I'm waiting for a return call from my Muse...
The roof lines up pretty well front to back, but not from side to side. It needs to be one inch wider to be workable. There are nothing but compound curves and complicated bends, channels, contours and such, making it more work than it's worth to try and duplicate. I scored another top from a bone yard that I plan on cutting to remedy the situation. But when winter rears it's ugly head, the project is put on hold...