1948 Ford F100 Pick-up - Big Block Baby!

In the past, Herman’s insane 8 second Nissan Champ bakkie with a 2JZ motor was featured in Speed and Sound Magazine. As impressive as the Champ is, we were interested in another project that Herman has just completed - his 1948 Ford F100 Pick-up. 

Herman says:

“From as far back as I can remember, I have always loved old cars and have always wanted to own what I call a ‘“knop truck’” rather than live on the beach and own a Bugatti Veyron. In the past, I did not have the money to fund my dream project, so I started saving and keeping an eye on Gumtree. The original plan was to buy a ready-built vehicle as the nature of my daily work does not allow a lot of free time. However, things did not quite work out that way. I found my Ford truck on Gumtree and realised that this would be a bit of a project. 

From a layman’s point of view, the truck was in average condition. I did not have a lot of knowledge with regards to what to look out for. I would definitely advise that if you want to start a project like this it is a good idea to take someone along with you who has a decent knowledge with regards to old trucks and what to look out for when purchasing a vehicle as a project, that will be utilised as a project build.

After I got the truck home, the paint started cracking. The pick-up also started showing other problems with regards to the motor.  Fanie Fourie, the owner of Fanie’s Bakwerke, recommended that we strip the vehicle and take it down to bare metal. That way we could remove any filler and sort out the rust. 
I purchased a 100 litres of paint remover and the body was sanded down to bare metal.

There was a great deal of rust on the back of the cab, the back of the 4 mudguards, the back corners of the cab and the stake pockets on the front and rear.  I imported the back and front mudguards, back corners of the cab and the stake pockets from the US. With the body work in progress it was time to sort out the rest.

The truck was a coffin on wheels - the steering was all over the place and keeping it on the road was a nightmare. With the help of my two very capable friends, Richard and Antonie we started to sort out the suspension issues. The Pick-up still had its original chassis and with the intended power upgrade, the chassis would need to be strengthened. So the chassis was stripped down to nothing and was then boxed to add more strength.

The Ford already had a Jag suspension installed, however, there was a few problems with it. The suspension was refurbished with new bushes and bearings and then reinstalled correctly. 

The Ford came with a Ford 302 V8 that was tired and had to be replaced. My initial idea with regards to the motor was to install a 408 Cleveland Stroker. However, my friend Riaan van Rensburg (from Dolphin Motors) said we should go big or go home. 

He recommended that we use a 460 that was stroked to a 545 Big Block taking it up to almost a 10 litre motor. Ralph from Motown In in Cape Town imported a long list of groceries that included a seasoned 460 engine block, 545ci Scat Stroker Kit, Eldelbrock RPM heads, Edelbrock RPM intake, CVF pulley package and a Compcam thumper hydraulic roller cam system. All of this built the motor up to almost 450 Hp and a 930 NM torque. 

We ran the motor with a Holley 870 CFM Street Avenger carb, however, the fuelling was all over the place. We then decided to change to the Holley EFI Sniper system. Best move ever, the self-setting system sorted out all the fuelling issues. The motor was producing more power and the delivery of this power was a lot smoother. Last on the list was a 76 Stainless steel exhaust. 

The Ford E40D 4-speed auto gearbox with US Shift controller was also imported from the US via Ralph at Motown Autoparts. 
The only problem now is that the Jag rear cannot handle the power and this issue is twisting the arms so an upgrade to a 9 inch Diff is probably on the cards soon.

With the Running gear sorted, the body went back on the chassis. Fanie’s Bakwerke did all of the bodywork as well as the spray painting and I have to congratulate them on doing an awesome job! I opted for a Pearl white colour. Rodders would know that it is not easy putting down a proper Pearl paint job.

Edwin Pienaar from Mossel Bay supplied the Iroko wood for the load bin and this is definitely a part of the vehicle that really stands out. 

Next on the list was the interior. The old seats where sent  in to be re-covered in leather by J.A Auto Leather, Mossel Bay. To upgrade the interior, a new Tilting steering column and gauges were also imported by All American Auto. An aircon unit was also installed for the hot Oudtshoorn days. To finish it off, Bay Track Mossel Bay installed a state-of-the-art Kickers sound system.

The Ford came with the wheels, and I liked them so I decided to wrap them in a nice set of Cooper Cobras.

Herman is a perfectionist and is renowned for his attention to detaills and it shows in the way this car is put together. From the engine bay to underneath the car, everything had to be completed perfectly. Herman explained that he polished all of the stainless steel parts on the car by hand himself. Everything always has to be in its place. 

Special thanks to:

Richard Marks
Antonie Badenhorst
Fanie Fourie (Fanie’s Bakwerke)
Riaan Van Rensburg (Dolphin Motors)
Francois Gousard (Bay Track Mossel Bay)
Brandon (All American Auto)
Ralph (Motown Auto)