Joe Greeves
January 8, 2010

If you've spent any time with the mem-bers of the F-100 community, you know that these Blue Oval fans hold their trucks in high regard. Often, drivers will have owned several of Ford's iconic pickup with each one better than the last. The most popular approach seems to be modifying as many details on the truck as possible, without obscuring the truck's classic style. There also seems to be a consensus that the '56, with its distinctive wraparound windshield is the sought-after ride. George Nicholson fits the F-100 owner profile perfectly. Among many other Fords, he's owned three F-100s and currently has a pair of '56s in the driveway, one painted flat black and the other, this beautiful black and silver version he calls his "Silver Bullet."

Retired from the U.S. Coast Guard, George is active in the oil field service business. An auto enthusiast since birth, this lifelong Ford fan was happy to discover his latest F-100 not far from his home in Ocala, Florida. Abandoned in a forest with a tree growing through the bed, the '56 wasn't in the best condition but George collected parts to rebuild the truck over a two-year period. During that time, he met Jim Wallace, of Wallace Transmotive Service in Belleview, Florida. The connection was immediate, thanks to Jim's '34 Ford parked out front. The quality of the street rod was obvious and convinced George that Jim had the talent necessary to rejuvenate his F-100.

The customizing goal was to create a subtle, street rod-style '56 with every inch massaged in some way, while still remaining true to the original design. When Jim received the truck, his initial impression was that the body was fairly good but the entire frontend had been badly modified in an attempt to install a larger Lincoln motor. The first step was to remove the damaged frame sections and create a new front clip. With a dolly full of 2X4 rectangular steel tubing and George's second '56 F-100 as a model, Jim constructed a new front clip, incorporating a Fatman Fabrications crossmember along with a Mustang II frontend, tubular A-arms, and Thunderbird rack-and-pinion power steering. Standard springs and Monroe Sensa-Trac shocks, paired with 11-inch Cougar disc brakes, completed the frontend. Moving to the rear, Jim notched the framerails for additional axle clearance and installed a Ford 9-inch, held in place with monoleaf springs that allowed a slightly lower ride height.

George is the best kind of Ford fanatic, believing that Fords should be powered by Fords. The 5.0L engine, AOD transmission, and engine electronics powering the truck were sourced from a wrecked '89 Mustang GT. Already quick, the 0.030 over engine gets a little extra punch from a Ford Racing Performance Parts E303 hydraulic cam, ported and matched heads, a BBK cold air kit, and Speedway Motors block hugger headers that dump into a pair of Flowmasters. A billet power steering pump and A/C compressor, an Arizona heavy-duty radiator with polished brass top, and a SPAL electric fan round out the 21st century upgrades. Polished stainless steel inner fender panels add some sparkle to the engine room.

Lots of subtle body mods were added to the Effie, beginning with the '56 Ford Fairlane parking lights integrated into the original grille and painted to match. The tilt-forward hood mechanism is from No Limit and created the perfect canvas to display some of Jim's custom paint techniques. In order to allow the bumper to be mounted closer to the body, the front frame horns were shortened, then the bumper bolts were smoothed, and the ends of the bumpers filled in. The cab is stock height but the door handles were shaved, corners rounded, and one-piece door glass replaced the originals. The traditional wraparound windshield that makes the '56 F-100 so distinctive was complemented by the new Big Back Window kit from Mike Chesser, with Jim carefully welding it in place. The cowl was also filled in and a retractable power antenna now resides where the gas filler cap used to be.