'63 F-100 Short-Bed - Contemporary Cruiser
Modern Four-Cam Power motivates this Integral-Cab F-100
From the May, 2009 issue of Modified Mustangs & Fords
Photography by Joe Greeves
The classic lines of the F-100...
The classic lines of the F-100 show through, thanks to mods such as shaved door handles, a later-model grille with Harley turn signals, Cragar mags, and a monochromatic paint scheme.
The tailgate was shaved, a...
The tailgate was shaved, a gas-filler cap was hidden behind the license plate, and a flush-fitting fiberglass tonneau cover was added to protect the custom bed floor. The big back window helps showcase the custom interior.
The aggressive-looking, 32-valve...
The aggressive-looking, 32-valve Lincoln 4.6L mod motor was chosen for its combination of decent factory horsepower and striking appearance. Wiring was hidden, subtle chrome accents were added, and both firewall and inner fender panels were painted to match the exterior.
Subtle shades of charcoal...
Subtle shades of charcoal leather, gray carpeting, and Rio Red paint blend together in this comfortable cab. Plush bucket seats from a Chrysler...
...are separated by a folding...
...are separated by a folding center console from a Taurus. Air conditioning and a stereo make this a great long-distance cruiser.
After the bed was painted...
After the bed was painted to match, Jerry added a polished pecan floor, separated with stainless steel strips. Rear wheelhousings, 4 inches wider than stock, give plenty of rear-wheel clearance, while the Checkmate fiberglass tonneau cover keeps everything dry.
Jerry Boles from Port St. John, Florida, has enjoyed the automotive hobby almost all of his life. Shortly after learning to walk, he was rolling in the coolest customized wagons on the block, and the four-wheeled fun hasn't stopped yet.
Jerry built several trucks over the years and owned a great collection of high-performance cars. All had one thing in common: None were trailer queens. His previous custom pickup transported him and his wife, Jean, to Pigeon Forge five years in a row, with the drive becoming a big part of the fun.
When it came time for a new project, Jerry had a few essentials on his wish list. Style was important, along with a leather interior, air conditioning, a stereo, and a distinctive engine. The new truck would also follow in the footsteps of his past trucks and be a solid, dependable driver that could handle long distances in comfort.
He found this '63 F-100 Styleside pickup with the "integral cab" (Unibody) about 2-1/2 years ago at a show in Knoxville, Tennessee. It had the sought-after big back window and short bed that he was looking for. The chassis was fairly stock except for a C-notch in the rear and a Volare front clip with disc brakes that the previous owner had installed. The rear uses leaf springs, air shocks, and a strong 9-inch Ford with 3.70 gears, although Jerry has plans to install a new independent rearend in the future.
Body mods began with shaving the door handles, adding a new rear pan, smoothing the tailgate, and hiding the gas-filler cap behind the license plate. Jerry added a fiberglass scoop to the metal hood and fitted the '63 with a rechromed '65 Ford grille, chosen so he could eliminate the parking lights. Subtle Harley units replace the originals. Classic lines flow from the Unibody rear fenders and wrap inside the doors, accented with a pair of Escort side mirrors that blend in perfectly. The unique bed floor, covered in polished pecan wood with stainless steel strips, is protected by a Checkmate fiberglass tonneau cover. Chrome Cragar wheels--15x8 all around with P275/60R15 Firestone Firehawk Indy 500s--give the truck a classic look. For extra tire clearance, Jerry added 4-inch tubs to the rear.
That big back window on the Ford was one of the reasons Jerry bought the truck, as it gives spectators a clear view of the custom interior. Chrysler seats and an unusual folding center console from a Taurus work together to create a comfortable, stylish environment inside. All the pieces were upholstered to match in Charcoal leather. With a little help from his friend, Rob Simpson, Jerry installed the '77 Ford adjustable steering column, topped with a Grant wheel. To keep track of all the underhood activity, Jerry uses a set of VDO gauges housed in an engine-turned panel on the dash. Power door locks, power windows, the Sony stereo, and the Southern Air A/C unit were the perfect options for long distance cruising.
With most of the elements checked off on Jerry's list, the powerplant was next, but not just any engine would do. Keeping with the Blue Oval lineage, Jerry bought a totaled '94 Lincoln Mark VIII. The 4.6 DOHC V-8, fitted with an Overdrive four-speed auto trans, was just the right combination of horsepower and aggressive good looks. In addition to easily powering the truck down the road, the 281ci/290hp motor had a distinctive appearance that creates lots of attention when the hood is open (car-show attendees think it's a Hemi).
Jerry is a self-taught welder and began the installation by fabricating new motor mounts and transmission supports. He smiles when he says putting the motor in was fairly easy. "The biggest hassle was getting the engine to run and connecting all the high-tech Lincoln computers," he says. "With help from Dave Smart, we took out each wire, figured out what it did, marked it, and then routed it so it was out of sight. I learned my lesson. Next time it will be an aftermarket wiring harness."
All the tedious work, however, was worth the effort. A visual delight occurs when you pop the hood. The huge 4.6 DOHC V-8 spans the width of the engine bay, giving you the first hint of the power in this motor. The firewall and fenders were smoothed, with many subtle changes added to the motor. The coil packs were moved to the rear of the engine, and the intake manifold was polished to a mirror-like shine. Cam covers were chromed, as was the radiator degas tank. Ford Racing Performance Parts headers were ceramic-coated to minimize heat in the engine room, and the pair of rumbling Turbo mufflers creates an unmistakable performance sound. To ensure free breathing, Jerry custom-built the side-mounted air intake, topping it with a high-flow K&N filter. The truck is air-conditioned, but the low-mounted compressor is hidden from view. Ensuring the engine keeps its cool, the stock Lincoln radiator and electric fan were retained. Once the engine and transmission were in place, Jerry trimmed the Lincoln aluminum driveshaft to fit.
As part of the final phase, Jerry put his three-car garage to good use, hanging plastic curtains when it was time to spray the truck. Self-taught, he handled the spray gun himself, shooting his favorite Ford shade of Rio Red. His friend Randy Johnson accomplished the detail work, buffing the finished paint job to a mirror-like shine.
Jerry says the completed truck was worth every minute of the 2-1/2-year build time, and it has already proven itself a winner in its first two outings, capturing Gold at the Palm Bay Ford show and Best Ford at the NPD/Silver Springs Mustang & Ford Roundup, both in 2007. Naturally, Jerry and Jean are eager to take their first long trip in their latest family ride.
'63 F-100 Short-Bed Integral-Cab Pickup
Owner: Jerry and Jean Boles, Port St. John, FL
Engine Lincoln Mark VIII 4.6L DOHC 32-valve (281ci) K&N air filter Lincoln radiator and electric fan
Transmission 4R70W four-speed automatic overdrive (from Mark VIII)
Rearend 9-inch 3.70 gears 28-spline axles
Exhaust 2-1/2-inch dual exhaust Turbo mufflers Ford Racing Performance Parts ceramic-coated headers
Suspension Front: Volare subframe, Monroe shocks Rear: Frame C-notched with stock springs, Monroe air shocks
Brakes Front: 10-inch disc Rear: 10-inch drum
Wheels Front: Chrome Cragar composite, 8x15-inch, custom offset Rear: Chrome Cragar composite, 8x15-inch, custom offset
Tires Front: Firestone Firehawk Indy 500, P235/60R15 Rear: Firestone Firehawk Indy 500, P235/60R15
Interior Southern Air air conditioning, Grant steering wheel, charcoal leather Chrysler seats, Taurus center console, gray carpet, headliner, door panels, and kick panels, VDO gauges, power windows, power door locks, Sony stereo, power antenna
Exterior DuPont basecoat/clearcoat paint, Ford Rio Red, rechromed '65 Ford grille, Harley parking lights, shaved door handles, fiberglass hoodscoop, Escort side mirrors, custom rear pan, fuel filler concealed behind license plate, pecan wood in the pickup bed separated by stainless steel strips, fiberglass tonneau cover from Checkmate