Way before the best-selling Ford F-150 pickup truck, there was the now classic F-1. The postwar pickup was in production from 1948 to 1952 and sported an egg-shaped cab with a toothy grille, plus a short but functional bed. In 1951, FoMoCo gave it a refresh: The gearshift was relocated from the floor to the steering column and the single-bar grille now featured three bigger teeth.
It already looks pretty mean to us, but that’s where Dave Kindig’s vision for the truck starts on the “Thank You for Your Service” episode of Bitchin’ Rides. Our goateed designer and host plans to offset the front grille 3 inches, stretch and shave the cramped cab, and add an hourglass bed.
Kindig wants to make every last line look like it’s going fast for the clients, Mark and Brandon Curtis, who have finally decided to pull the trigger for the big finish. The father-and-son team have owned the vintage Ford truck since the 1980s, and Brandon is active in the National Guard. He’s about to depart for overseas duty and hopes to see the finished project when he returns from his deployment.
After the crew tears it all down and blasts it in their state-of-the-art chop shop, they remove a ton of bolts and plenty of Bondo filler and resin. Along the way, we learn that tearing down an old truck never goes as planned and the crew has new admiration for what it means to be built Ford tough.
We also learn how to build it better—the original 1951 Ford packed a standard 226-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine that was good for 95 horsepower or a 239-cubic-inch V-8 that is good for 100 horses. Either mill put down 180 lb-ft of torque back in the day.
Naturally, the team drops in a fancy new LS engine, make new doors and trim, add new hinges to the hood, and drop in a sculpted teardrop bed that looks more organic. The fabricators also manage to salvage what’s left of the original fenders with aftermarket bits and pieces. The final touch is several coats of Bad Blood Red Pearl/Candy paint that Kindig predicts will be a candy without regret.
Does the Bitchin’ Rides crew knock it out of the park? Tune in to witness the transformation and see if it’s a true dream machine that’s ready for an American homecoming.