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1953 F100 With Flathead for Daily Driver?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by LittleBritishCar, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. LittleBritishCar
    Joined: Apr 22, 2012
    Posts: 90

    LittleBritishCar
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Please forgive my ignorance since this is new to me but how reliable are Ford flathead V8 engines? I am looking at a 1953 F100 pickup with a newly rebuilt flathead V8 and an original rebuilt automatic transmission. I am absolutely in love with this truck and in order to afford it I will have to sell my super reliable daily driver (don't ask) and make the truck a daily driver. Would I be better off finding a truck with a modern engine & suspension transplant? I would like to add an air conditioning system but would otherwise leave it pretty stock besides lowering it a little. Thanks!
     
  2. How far do you drive? Flatheads are no less or more reliable than a "modern" engine. The only thing Flatheads really lack is horsepower. You can always run the flathead now and upgrade your engine/suspension/whatever. It's a 60 year old truck. Don't over-think-it
     
  3. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,255

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    I always drive old cars, have done so all my life. Don't like to have less than 2 on the road and licensed at a time because it is too easy to have a breakdown. When that happens if you don't have another vehicle you have to pay thru the nose for repairs or turn into a pedestrian.

    It may be ok to have only one vehicle if it is a late model (less than 5 years old) or you can get along without it, for example live in a city and can take the bus to work if you have to.
     
  4. LittleBritishCar
    Joined: Apr 22, 2012
    Posts: 90

    LittleBritishCar
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Thanks for the replies. I guess I am just looking for rationalization to do it! :D I used to commute but my office is only three miles away now so I think I should just pull the trigger and get the F100. I have a couple old scooters in case I need to get around. And a bicycle, which I should be riding to work anyway!
     
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  5. Just for a little perspective, I bought my F-1 in 2007 from the nephew of the original owner. The truck has over 100K on it. I'm not sure how many miles are on the truck's motor, but I'm inclined to believe it's original.
    Either way, the truck was on the road full time, every day from 1948 to 1991. In the glove box there was bridge and toll passes from all over the state. The truck was used hard, the motor is tired and smokey, but damn if it doesn't fire up and run every time. It's still on 6 volt, and all I've ever done is rewired it, and dropped in a distributor from GMC Bubba.
    Of course, the truck isn't my daily driver, but I've put on at least 2000 trouble free miles on my own time, and that's with the truck sitting for extended periods of time. These babies were built for a day's work, and if I had the opportunity to work 3 miles from my home, I'd drive it every day.
     
  6. Ice man
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 968

    Ice man
    Member

    I worked for a drilling company in Pgh Pa. We had an old ford truck that had several truck mounted rigs on it over the years, and never failed to do its job. When it was retired it was then set up with a home made crane and winch to use around the yard to lift pumps and what ever. Never had the engine worked on, and many yrs later she was still the most reliable truck in the shop. She would start no mater how hot or cold it got and she never saw a roof over her. ONE TOUGH TRUCK. Iceman
     
  7. Ice man
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 968

    Ice man
    Member

    I forgot to say she was a 47 Ford 2 ton with a flatty that could only be heard because of the fan and belts at idle, and well over 100,000 miles.
     
  8. mickeyc
    Joined: Jul 8, 2008
    Posts: 1,063

    mickeyc
    Member

    When it was new it was somebodies daily driver. If you ever get a chance read Andy Granatelli's autobiography. His accounts of pulling 40ft. living quarters trailers for G.I.s from the Chicago Area to California is amazing!
    His brother and he would carry a G.I. and pull these trailers with hopped up 40 fords. Depending on condition, understand the limitations and enjoy the ride.
     
  9. TV
    Joined: Aug 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,451

    TV
    Member

    First thing i would do is forget about an automatic. It will be hard to find one anyway, you can find a strong truck with a three speed and drive it every day if its good, and thats what I would do if I wanted an F100.
     
  10. LittleBritishCar
    Joined: Apr 22, 2012
    Posts: 90

    LittleBritishCar
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Automatic is a deal breaker for me. The truck I am looking at has the factory auto which was just rebuilt. From what I have read 1953 was the first year of the automatic gearbox and the last year of the flathead V8.
     
  11. Gary Addcox
    Joined: Aug 28, 2009
    Posts: 2,350

    Gary Addcox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you live where it gets hot (weather), I would forget about A/C on a flathead mill. Here in South Texas, you won't find a single flathead-powered machine with A/C. Remember, those engine bays on F-1 and F-100 trucks are cavernous. They will hold ANYTHING. Just an observation. Most all flatmotors end up with 4,5, or even 6 speed transmissions behind them. Gas mileage should be considered.
     
  12. steveo3002
    Joined: Apr 4, 2009
    Posts: 227

    steveo3002
    Member
    from england

    3 miles to work ..sounds like as good time as any to be getting it
     
  13. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,907

    40FordGuy
    Member

    1951 was the first year Ford offered an automatic....... I'd buy it, drive it and enjoy the hell out of it !!!!

    4TTRUK
     
  14. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 696

    snaptwo
    Member

    Buy it ,drive it. In 1958 I was running parts in a '52 f100 . It took all the abuse an 18 yr. old kid could throw at it and never missed a beat.
     
  15. 302aod
    Joined: Dec 19, 2011
    Posts: 275

    302aod
    Member
    from Pelham,Tn.

    I had a 53 f100 Flathead with 3 sp. as a daily driver in the early 70s. Bought a new Ford truck in 79. It was low miles, but never rebuilt.
     
  16. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,867

    arkiehotrods
    Member

    I owned a '53 F-100 for 13 years (albeit with 327 Chevy, Turbo 400 and 12 volts).

    I wish I still had it

    Ryan could tell you about reliability of daily driver flathead.

    do it! automatic or not, get it!
     
  17. SOCAL PETE
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,205

    SOCAL PETE
    Member
    from Ramona CA

    hoodless.jpg I drove my 53 (with a flat head and 3speed) daily. The hills from San Diego to Ramona were a little rough on it. Drove it daily for 6 months and then upgraded to a 292 y block with 3 dueces. Adding a close ratio top loader with a T-176 top shift set up.
     
  18. LittleBritishCar
    Joined: Apr 22, 2012
    Posts: 90

    LittleBritishCar
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    I sure wish I could drive a stick but I have sciatica issues with my leg and using a clutch constantly is a challenge, which is why my MG has been sitting for years. I have been looking at a few F1 and F100s with modern V8 engine and transmissions so I am leaning that way
     
  19. Blake84
    Joined: Feb 4, 2012
    Posts: 738

    Blake84
    Member

    I drive my flathead everyday. I bought it knowing nothing about it and not rebuilt. I had few break downs fixed everything and it runs like a champ I use it everyday. I switched to electronic ignition to rule out the stupid issues like points and condenser and also ran a flame thrower coil so I could eliminate the reducer which is a piece of crap and goes out

    Just my 2 cents
     

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