I pulled up to the stoplight.
Third gear was still a mystery to me, but I was working on it. I’ll figure this truck out sooner rather than later, but I was still stuck in the getting to know you phase of our relationship. The brakes were stiff, but I knew that already. Regardless, they worked and the nose of the truck wasn’t 3 feet farther into the intersection than it should be.
The idle was a bit high, but I could fix that now. Besides it was at 1,200 at the moment and not 2,200… I could hear myself think. I could also feel the eyeballs of the car next to me. The lady, who was in her later stages of life, was driving a third generation Ford Explorer. My windows were already rolled down, and she brought hers to the same level.
“What year is it?”
A ’65 I answered back.
“It’s wonderful, are you going to restore it?”
I replied that I was planning on it leaving it pretty much as it looked, and explained as much as one could over the course of a traffic light.
“Well good… because it’s gorgeous as it is.”
My smile lasted four more days…
This is the oldest vehicle I’ve ever owned. This is the first carbureted vehicle I’ve ever owned. This is the first vehicle I’ve ever owned without power steering or power brakes. This is the second truck I’ve owned, and the both were Fords. I’m not partial to the brand or anything, but if I trace my own car history backwards I do find that the Blue Oval brand makes more than a few appearances.
My dad had an old Ranger when he was still in the Navy. My brother and I used to ride in the bed, which had been fitted with a camper shell and a carpeted bed space. It was great as a child of the late 80’s. It would be considered criminal today. After that, Dad had a Ford Explorer Sport and then two matching Ford Escort wagons… it was a dark time car wise for the Gluckers.
My dad drives a fourth generation Explorer now, and he’s been happy with it but he’s also ready to move on. He knows it’s aging, and that doesn’t bode well for that particular machine. That doesn’t mean that all old Fords age poorly. Our own EIC Tim Odell had a 1967 Ford Country Sedan, which I drove up the coast after he moved to the Bay Area. He ditched that poor longroof (you bastard!) and made a 1964 Ford Falcon his daily driver.
Maybe this was meant to be?
Either way, this post isn’t some winding prose-filled narrative about the merits of old Ford product. This is actually the official introduction to our newest Redusernab Project Vehicle. That last post was more of a teaser, as today we’re diving into the deep end and getting to know what we’re dealing with.
This is a 1965 Ford F-100. It’s a rear-wheel-drive pickup truck with great lines, shitty tires, a mixed-bag interior, and a wonderfully upgraded engine. In 1965, the largest available engine was the 352. My truck is fitted with a 390 V8, and it’s paired with a four-speed manual gearbox. Additionally, the previous owner was clearly working on turning this into some sort of muscle truck. It’s not anywhere close to that yet, but it was starting to waltz down that path.
This 390 is already wearing the requisite four-barrel carburetor courtesy of Edelbrock, some mediocre valve covers, and a not totally boring air cleaner. There’s a new(ish) looking fan attached to the radiator, and a few changes to the under-hood space that imply someone had a goal in mind.
I’m going to need to clean up this “goal” because it’s not exactly wonderful down there. It’s pretty damn good but it’s not exactly where I’d be going. Those valve covers are being swapped out, the headers are going to change, and that rest nest of plug wires is going to be cleaned up. Nothing major, but it should give the bay a quick but efficient makeover.
I’ll clearly also need to address that battery “tie down”. That’s some bullshit there, but… honestly… that battery hasn’t moved once since I’ve been driving this thing. Regardless, it’s a quick (and necessary) fix. After that I can focus on an actual area that needs attention. There’s smoke popping out of the driver side exhaust, and it’s clear that we’re blowing a bit of oil. It’s time for me to learn how to change valve seals… and I do mean me. I’m going to learn how to do the work this time around.
Minus the driveshaft vibration… there’s literally no way I can fix that myself. Get this truck up above 30 miles per hour and there’s a pretty damn solid vibration. It continues until the exact moment the speedometer crosses the mark showing 40MPH. After that it’s basically Lexus smooth. Once I sort our the driveshaft (taking it to a local shop) and the valve seals, there’s just appearance adjustments and minor upgrades.
I’ve picked out a pretty damn great drivable project here.
Driving this truck is an entirely different experience than what I’m used to. No, I’m not always getting my ass coddled by the latest supercar. That only happens two… maybe three times per month. Here I’m dealing with a forearm workout when I have to park, and a serious leg workout when I have to hit the brakes. Still, when this thing is rolling the steering works better than I would’ve expected, and as long as you actually step on the brakes hard the damn things haul all of that “speed” in.
This truck isn’t fast, mind you. It’s got great power, and I usually never have to go into the lowest gear. Second is the go-to when pulling away from a stop.
On the outside, we’ve got a fairly straight body with a bit of damage here and there. All in all, it’s extremely minor considering we’re dealing with a truck that was born four years before we put people on the moon. There’s a good dent in the right-front fender and a lesser dent in the left-rear panel near where the bumper should be. Oh, there’s no rear bumper. I’m considering just bolting up a roll pan there or even leaving it as is.
Inside, we’ve got no door panels and I don’t miss them. The truck looks great with naked doors, and I may pull off the trim that’s on there surrounding where the material should be. The headliner is gone and I don’t miss that either. The mostly metal cabin space fits the truck rather well, and I’m fairly certain at this point that I don’t need to fix that. I will fix the stupid ass speaker the previous owner mounted into the space formerly held by a glovebox. While it’s nice to have a speaker (there’s another one in the cabin), I prefer to keep basic shit in the glovebox. It’s a cheap replacement part through LMC Trucks, and I’ll be making a sizable order fairly soon.
After all of that is said and done, my plans for this truck are always evolving. I’m definitely going to get some new wheels and tires. I believe I’m leaning towards the Cragar Soft 8s at the moment, finished in black. For rubber, I’ll probably go with something sport from BFGoodrich or Michelin because, well, those are the best tires on the planet. From there I’d like to look into the idea of power steering, front discs, and a very minor suspension kit that lowers the truck. I could take or leave any of those three ideas though.
My main goal is to enjoy the shit out of this truck until the Wombat is ready. I’m going to leave the paint alone, but I am already thinking about adding a custom “shop” logo to the doors. There’s a custom plate on order too. Oh, and and an exhaust company might be interested in working with us on this adventure.
Either way, we’ve got a good amount of time until the Benz wagon is ready… so get ready for the summer of HoonTruck.
I like to think about things musically, and a random song came on my iTunes while writing this. Paul Simon’s Father and Daughter (which was the song my lovely wife danced with her father to during our wedding*). It reminded me of the truck, oddly enough… because trucks are stoic, tough, and always up to tackle the job at hand. Now it’s my turn to give this truck the good life it worked so hard for.
Stand guard like a post card of a golden retriever…
Gonna watch you shine, gonna watch your grow…
This should be fun.
[Images copyright 2015 Redusernab/Jeff Glucker]
*Sam’s a Dodge man… but I think he’ll appreciate this truck.