Story and article by Stefan Daniël Kotzé
Built by Kobus van der merwe and sons classic cars
When boss man Joe put me in contact with Kobus & Sons Classic Cars it was to shoot a recent project of theirs, an awesome 1967 Pontiac, but the car was still in need of a few finishing touches and so that shoot was postponed, but when I arrived the guys had a replacement for me to shoot. Sometimes when this happens it’s a bit of a let down as the substitute car is never normally as good as the original one, but in this case things were different. I was presented with a stunning example of a 1955 Ford F100 with every aspect of it sorted out just right. I was actually lost for words when I arrived, the premises were great, the parking bays used to work on the cars look like they’ve time warped from the 60s complete with old Americana and retro bits and pieces strewn everywhere. That scene along with the gloss black truck made me all warm and fuzzy inside.
It’s hard to believe that the truck was a rust bucket a mere 18 months ago when it was found on a farm in Tarlton. It was in one of those states when any normal person would simply walk on by, but Jaco Smit saw a project that needed to be started and so the giant paperweight was purchased and taken to the East Rand-based workshop for restoration. Of course the build process also gave the guys an opportunity to upgrade and improve things along the way, to make a cool old car even better. Almost unbelievably, from the time they actually started work on the car to what you see here, it took just 6 months.
A much newer, but still old, 80s model F100 was bought as a donor car. The body was chucked but the better chassis was kept along with the standard disc brakes and a coveted Ford 9-inch diff. The cabin was painstakingly repaired, the rust was removed and some spots were sorted out old-school style with sheet metal formed to suit. Some body parts weren’t available and so they had to be imported for the project, but that’s normal for most big builds like this, especially on a car from 1955. While things were kept looking stock, the rear fenders were widened by 2-inches, a modification that’s not immediately noticeable but was necessary when you realize that 10-inch wide, black The Official Chip Foose wheels needed to sit snugly under them. With all the right chrome in all the right places and a wooden decked load bin, not to mention the nice and low ride height, the looks of the 55 are pretty much perfect.
Keeping the Ford as a Ford, Kobus & Sons fitted a nicely worked 351 Cleveland V8 into the large engine bay. The sub-assembly was fully built with all new parts that may have raised the compression just a wee bit. Up top it’s been fitted with 4V heads with roller rockers, a stage 2 camshaft and a large, new 4-barrel Edelbrock Performance 750 carburetor. All in all we’re looking at a thumping V8 that kicks out around 400hp with 400Nm that sounds pretty damn wicked and revs almost too easily. This truck hauls!
For the interior it was decided to use seats and a centre console from a Jeep Cherokee, but some genuine cowhide was first used to cover them. They’re modern but they suit the theme of the ’55 – badass! There’s also a Hurst shifter and a wooden 3-piece imported steering wheel finishing things off. There’s no sound system, Jaco much prefers the soundtrack of the V8 to anything the airwaves can offer up.
Jaco’s Ford truck is a head turner of note, it sits right, sounds right and has been put together just right. The crew at Kobus & Sons Classic Cars did a superb job on the rebuild, well done to them. This just goes to show that lawyers can be cool too, Jaco has some great taste!