It’s hard to say why we choose to bring certain vehicles into our lives, showering them with money, time, and attention until they finally match the image in our minds. Many vehicles are chosen based on fleeting impressions that stand the test of time. Recalling events from the long distant past, we think about the family cars we grew up with, those cars we longed for as teenagers in high school, or even exotic transportation we’ve seen in the movies. Years later, when time and fortune allows, it’s natural to make some of those dreams come true.
Frank Meininger’s dream began many years ago when he was in the Air Force, stationed in Germany. Thoroughly unexpected, the bright red F-100 rolling by was quick, loud, and an American classic, tooling along, a long way from home. It took just a moment, but the impression was a lasting one. Now retired from the Air Force and working as a financial advisor in Orange Park, Florida, Frank came across a truck similar to the one he’d seen in Germany almost two decades before. The old F-100 already had a few additions like a 460 big-block, stroked to 514 ci. It ran, but the steering and brakes needed lots of attention and rust had taken its toll on much of the body. Frank brought the truck home and began a 3-1/2-year makeover.
With all the power that the big 514 V-8 could produce, one of the first steps was strengthening the rearend. A new, narrowed Ford 9-inch rear with a Detroit Locker and nodular pumpkin was locked in place with a triangulated three-link, a Panhard bar, and QA1 coilovers. Major changes occurred to the original Ford solid front axle, thanks to Rick Smith of JR’s Muffler and Welding in Jacksonville. He fabricated new shock towers using SVO Mustang perches to hold the UPR caster and camber plates along with adjustable Tokico coilovers. Rack-and-pinion power steering ensured rapid response in the turns and Power Stop disc brakes guaranteed safe stops, thanks to their cross-drilled and slotted rotors, 11 inches up front and 10.25-inch versions in the rear. Ford SVO calipers provide the grip. Frank added hydraulic assist to the brakes with a Hydroboost system from a Ford van.
The 460 engine in the truck had been bored to 514 ci and was upgraded with an Eagle crank and rods, along with Mahle Motorsports pistons. An Iskenderian cam activates 2.190 intake and 1.760 exhaust valves in the Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads. The engine was originally equipped with a single four-barrel carburetor, but a friend made Frank an offer he couldn’t refuse. The dual-quad Holley 750s and the 8-71 BDS blower now pressurize the air/fuel mix with a conservative 5 pounds of boost. A Mallory Unilite ignition explodes the mix and Sanderson 1.75-inch headers scavenge spent gases using a 2.5-inch exhaust system and a 3-inch X-pipe. Dynomax mufflers tame the beast down to a mellow roar, but electric cutouts send open exhaust through the side tips for some NASCAR-level motor music.
The truck uses a C6 automatic with a TCI kit and B&M shifter to transmit power to the Ford 9-inch rear equipped with 3.50 gears. The package produces 500 rwhp and 520 lb-ft of torque, with the potential for considerably more should Frank bump up the boost at the track. Twin Zirgo 4,000-cfm fans keep temps in the green and the new Painless wiring harness simplifies all the new additions.