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Projects Axcell's 1955 f100 clone build

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by sfeldma, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    Here goes. I'm building a clone of Richard Axcell's 1955 f100 featured in June 1958 Car Craft. I'd like to share my progress on the HAMB, so here's the first post to my build thread. Here's the inspirational picture:

    [​IMG]

    Here's more details about the original truck:

    http://www.kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Richard_Axcell%27s_1955_Ford

    And here's what I'm starting with. My friend Tony sold me this red 1/2-ton truck and the blue 3/4 truck as a package deal. You'll notice they're both 53's, so right off the bat I'm deviating from the original 1955 truck. But, with the grill upgrade and the debadging, no one can tell the difference.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now there is one super special bonus (to me) to using a 53:

    [​IMG]

    I love these old flatheads. Reminds me of my old F1 from high school with flathead.
     
  2. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    I've been collecting parts for the build over the last 6 months. Got most of the parts from HAMB members, but some on ebay. Here's the parts collection so far:

    1955 Buick hubcaps:

    [​IMG]

    These things are in really great shape. I'll need to figure out how to fabricate flippers to replace the Buick center cap.

    [​IMG]

    1955 Ford car grill:

    [​IMG]

    Chrysler taillights:

    [​IMG]

    1955 Olds headlight trim rings:

    [​IMG]

    And I even picked up an original copy of June 1958 Car Craft. Notice Kopper Kart shared the cover.

    [​IMG]

    Wouldn't it be cool to see those two trucks together? Maybe someone can build the third truck on the cover and we'll have a June 1958 reunion :)
     
    tomkelly88 likes this.
  3. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    I'm still missing two parts: 1955 Buick portholes to use for routing the exhaust through the rear bumper. Anyone have a lead on these? Just need two portholes.
     
  4. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    The red truck was not running when I got it, and the body is far from perfect, so I've got my work cut out just getting it sorted out and back on the road. My plans is to mechanically restore the truck while keeping it whole, and then address the body issues, again while whole. There is a temptation to explode the truck and build from the ground up, but I'm resisting that temptation and trying to keep the truck whole and running as I go thru the mods.

    Sometime someone had done an OK restoration job on the truck, but then the truck lived in Tillamook Oregon on the Oregon coast, and the weather really took a toll on the body. Multiple panel replacements in the works.

    No brakes. Still 6volt and no idea if motor works. Clutch doesn't appear to work. Next chapter: sorting out mechanical issues.
     
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  5. ParkerFya
    Joined: Jul 29, 2008
    Posts: 26

    ParkerFya
    Member

    Sweet truck, Cant wait to see it done at some local car shows

    Whats the plan with the 3/4 ton
     
  6. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    The truck was originally a ford-o-matic, but someone down the road had converted it to a 3-speed on the column w/ an overdrive unit. The clutch wasn't working because the clutch pivot attachement on the transmission was broken. Removed the tranny and I see this was a car tranny someone welded on a homemade pivot. But the weld broke. Hmmm...open the tranny up and first and reverse gears are missing half their teeth. My tranny guy says $800 for just the gears, so now I'm look for plan B.

    Plan B was to put a T-5 behind the flathead. I really want to keep the flathead. Did some research and bought a T-5 adapter kit for the later flathead and started putting it together. Ohoh, ran into spacing issues, which I talked about in this thread:

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?p=7169710#post7169710

    Ok, need a plan C.

    Plan C is to adapt a C4 behind the flathead. Still holding onto the flathead idea. Bought another adapter kit for the C4 and this is now working.

    The flathead by the way appears to be running good once I replaced all the usual external wear items. Here's a proof video of it running after cold start:

    http://youtu.be/oaERNY_y0_Q

    Was still a little cold in the video and many holes in the exhaust, but I'm happy it runs and I can drive down the road.

    Next chapter: motor mounts.
     
  7. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    The 3/4 ton is project #4, behind a '54 chevy panel and a '54 chevy 1/2 ton. I might move it up in priority because I'm really liking working on the f100. Little things like captured nuts make the Ford more of a pleasure to work on. Sorry, not trying to start a Ford/Chevy war.

    Plan for 3/4 ton is restore mechanically but otherwise leave just like it is. It also has the flathead but only runs on 5 cylinders at the moment, so something is wrong inside. It's an Idaho truck so the body is nearly rust free. One hole on cab between driver door and front fender. Someday I'm going to polish it up and sweep out the bed and just stare at it. I seem to do a lot of staring at my trucks. Something my Dad taught me. Speaking of my Dad, he's my partner in crime on all these trucks. It's so cool to learn from guys that are contemporary with these vehicles. These trucks are new by HAMB standards, but still 11 years older than myself.
     
  8. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    Motor mounts: the 53 f100 flathead has one mount in the front and two mounts of the truck bellhousing, and the tranny hangs from the bellhousing. When I switched to C4, I lost the two rear mounts, but added a new crossmember for the tranny that gives one mount in the rear.

    So now I have one mount in front, one mount in rear. My dad and I came up with a solution. We extended the front mount about 1 foot in each direction and put in some new donut mounts on each end. Here's a picture of our modified front mount sitting on the crossmember:

    [​IMG]

    The weight of the motor is still in the center and the wings on the extended mount take the rotational torque load. It's stouter than it looks in the picture. When the truck gets exploded for final phase of build, we'll re-fabricate a new mount that bolts directly to motor and rests only on the two donut mounts. It'll be easier to make the final mount with the doghouse removed.
     
  9. Jonnie King
    Joined: Aug 12, 2007
    Posts: 2,077

    Jonnie King
    Member
    from St. Louis

    Cool idea, neat truck. I still have my original copy of that issue, and the only thing I ever thought should be changed was the color of the interior. I would have opted for one that matched the exterior better.

    BUT it was/is still a great truck, and I'm looking forward to your build !

    Jonnie King www.legends.thewwbc.net
     
  10. Looks like it's going to make a neat build . I also have a '53, will be watching with interest .


    .
     
  11. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    The article says the interior is pink, but after looking at my copy of the magazine, it looks more red than pink. I'm imagining a pinkish red, if that makes sense. The rims are the same color, as near as I can tell. Matching all the colors from the magazine is going to be a challenge.
     
  12. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,780

    Rikster
    Member

    Very interesting project.. I will be following this built for sure.

    The colors will be tricky for sure... especially knowing the old magazine cover color photos are not exactly accurate.
    One thing I notice is the California license plate on the Cover color photo. It almost looks red, while we all know it should be a dark yellow. So what does this say about all the other colors we can see.

    I cannot remember seeing another color photo of this car in any other publication.. but I will keep an eye out for more...
     
  13. James66g
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 552

    James66g
    Member

    Man I am really diggen the show truck scene and the amount of guys builden pretty haulers now! really lookin forward to your progress.

    ps

    I also share the concern for the interior vs exterior color but look forward to your take
     
  14. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    Kopper Kart has redish tones, so it helps that it's on the same cover, for comparison. Not sure why that license plate is redish.

    I'd love to have more info on this truck. Is Richard Axcell around here?
     
  15. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,780

    Rikster
    Member

    I have done a bit of color corrections on the cover scan (I don't have this issue so I had to use the scan you posted)
    I removed the yellow haze from the photo to make the colors (most likely) a bit more accurate.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  16. Great project, will also be watching intently! :)

    Good Luck.
     
  17. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 2,025

    SuperFleye
    Alliance Vendor

    Great idea sfeldma!

    I love this truck, and would have loved to own a clone of it myself!! I look forward to follow yours as it comes alive :)
     
  18. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    Nice job! Looks like there is a little silver to the base blue color. I really like it. Thanks Rikster.
     
  19. fryguy
    Joined: Nov 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,233

    fryguy
    Member

    Nice project. I am watching this one closely as well. I want to do a late 50's early 60's mild show truck as well with my 55. I have been fretting over wheel choice's for the past few weeks. Stock with caps, chrome reverse stock wheels or Astro Supremes with pinner whites


    -Fryguy
     
  20. I hope you forgive my tampering - Rik, but I wanted to see the licence even more "golden" yellow, so I took some more red out of your image. :eek:

    Of course the result is an even more "pinkish" interior. :(

    I love the idea of this project sfeldma! You've chosen an excellent example of these pick-ups to emulate! Gonna be fine!

    [​IMG]

    -Dave
     
  21. A question comes to my mind after looking at the adjusted images. The grill is beginning to appear as though it may be chrome rather than blue..? It does look very much like it is reflecting blue rather than being blue - much like the running boards show. Is there a mention of the grill in the article?

    I guess I'm stirring the pot. Apologies. ;)

    -Dave
     
  22. captainjunk#2
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,337

    captainjunk#2
    Member

    wow this is a cool build / recreation , i cant wait to see it in paint , the flathead would look awesome with some dress up goodies on it ,
     
  23. fryguy
    Joined: Nov 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,233

    fryguy
    Member

    I'm with you on this and I think the grill is chrome.


     
  24. Cshabang
    Joined: Mar 30, 2004
    Posts: 2,458

    Cshabang
    Member

    This is gonna be GOOD!!!!
     
  25. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    The article just says 55 ford car grill. My interpretation of the pictures is the grill is chrome, as well as the bumpers and the running boards. Can't wait for the chrome bill :(
     
  26. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    Merry early Christmas to me! Red's headers and Porter mufflers, and 20 circuit wiring harness. Weekend is booked!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  27. fryguy
    Joined: Nov 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,233

    fryguy
    Member

    Spinners look to be from the 1959 Buick hubcaps.

    Have any pictures of the rear treatment? I'd be curious to see how those Chrysler tailights are used.





     
  28. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    [​IMG]
     
  29. sfeldma
    Joined: Jan 31, 2011
    Posts: 146

    sfeldma
    Member

    Magazine article was June 1958, so is it possible? I'd like to find something like that with 4 bars that I could adapt to my 55 buick hubcaps (wheel covers).
     
  30. I always thought the grill, headlight trim rings, and turn signal housings looked chrome. And that the headlight buckets looked body color - like they were from a white grill that had been painted.
     

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