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Red Rhino: Big, Bad, and iron Clad

 Classic 1970 Ford F-100 (Mike Self)
StreetTrucks Magazine
Every so often, a truck comes along that redefines the game and makes you second-guess your own ideas of what the ultimate truck looks like. For some of us, this may be that truck!
FEB 19, YYYY

Built for Pete Perry of St. Louis by Classic Car Studio, this 1970 Ford F-100 started out as many old truck projects do: unloved and in dire need of help. Luckily, Pete knew that dropping his truck off at Noah Alexander’s CCS would result in having his own dream of owning the ultimate truck fulfilled.

Being a Marine veteran and spending more than 20 years as a firefighter and Air National Guard reservist, Pete has a constant struggle with PTSD and definitely needed something to help him relax and unwind while nearing the end of his selfless career.
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Pete, like most of us, wanted a comfortable cruiser, but he also wanted something that could dominate on the track. Being a Marine veteran and spending more than 20 years as a firefighter and Air National Guard reservist, Pete has a constant struggle with PTSD and definitely needed something to help him relax and unwind while nearing the end of his selfless career. What better way to keep himself busy than a rad truck?

To get the project rolling, the truck was completely blown apart to separate every single panel, nut, and bolt. While the majority of the factory sheet metal would remain, the original I-beam equipped chassis would have required way too much work to get the stance and performance Pete was after, so Noah and crew ordered up a fresh “SPEC” chassis with all the handling goodies from The Roadster Shop.


 Classic 1970 Ford F-100 (Mike Shelf)
 Classic 1970 Ford F-100 (Mike Shelf)
 Classic 1970 Ford F-100 (Mike Shelf)

This combo netted Pete an independent front Penske coilover suspension with rack-and-pinion steering, as well as a beefy adjustable rear 4-link with another pair of Penske coilovers on either side of the massive frame step-up. Extra large 16-inch Wilwood brakes were also bolted on, and serve up just as much function as they do style. 

Once the chassis was done getting set up and detailed, the next stage of the build got underway — the drivetrain. Originally a 289 Windsor block truck, the truck now sports a Jon Kaase-built replica Boss Nine big block that measures out at 521 cubic inches with stack injection and hearkens back to Ford’s ’60s-era racing heyday. With 730 horsepower and 700 ft-lbs of torque, the truck will never be a slouch! A Tremec TKO-600 5-speed manual transmission was chosen in combination with a built 9-inch rear end, which houses 3.50 gears. With all that torque, Pete would have no problem getting up to speed in a hurry!

 Classic 1970 Ford F-100 (Mike Shelf)
 Classic 1970 Ford F-100 (Mike Shelf)
 Classic 1970 Ford F-100 (Mike Shelf)

Noah’s crew also fabricated a custom exhaust system including the headers, with stainless piping leading all the way back to the oval tips, which were placed in the bed sides for maximum clearance and good looks. And even with the truck making gobs of power, the guys at Classic Car studio still wanted to lighten it up as much as they could, so a custom bed floor and inner sides were created from aluminum panels, with a matching treatment in the engine bay. As always, dimple die holes make everything look awesome, so plenty of those were thrown in as well! Keeping things extra trick are hinged aluminum access panels throughout.

Pete’s F100 did already wear some pretty awesome patina, which would have fit right in with today’s popular “as-found” styling, but he opted to go full-tilt and give the body some new life. Every panel was painstakingly worked back to perfection, and after many hours was finally ready for a custom-mixed semi-flat red, with black and gunmetal accents to break things up a bit where needed. The hood was also cut out and a scoop added to help feed the throttle bodies as much air as possible. With the exterior now executed to perfection, it was time to turn the bland interior into more of a cockpit.

There were already a ton of ideas swimming around in Pete’s head about how he wanted the interior to look, but he finally narrowed things down to replicating the look of one of his favorite supercars, the Ford GT. And even though this is a truck magazine, we have to agree that the GT’s looks are hard to beat inside and out! CCS did an amazing job of bringing the GT’s influence to life in Pete’s own Ford. From the seats to the inline array of gauges and custom shifter, the interior screams performance!

Now all the truck needed was a driver, and Pete was ready for the challenge! After some final tuning and setup, Noah handed the keys over to Pete after a year of shop time, and he has been ripping through the gears on and off the track ever since! Who would have thought that the best way to take things easy from an adrenaline-fueled life was to add even more adrenaline?

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