Bernard Ashley knows what it’s like to drive a pickup – he drives a modern one everyday. But after many miles, he’s found it’s not quite the same as his restored and customized 1953 Ford F100.
“After a while, my daily driver just became another car. But with something like this, it’s really amazing. You feel like you’ve gone into another dimension. It’s something from the 1950’s and you actually feel like you’re there.”
Bernard’s hunt for a classic hauler began four years ago. He had recently completed a kit-car 1927 Ford roadster and found it wasn’t roomy enough and it ‘just wasn’t him’.
That’s when he found this classic hauler in Redding, California, where it had been sitting in a barn for nearly 35 years.
“ It was in rough shape when I had it shipped back to Illinois. When I got it, it looked like, well, it had been sitting in a barn for 35 years.”
He stripped everything to the frame, sandblasted all the components and began reassembly. One change is he did opt to go with modern running gear. In place of the factory bestowed 215ci inline six cylinder, Bernard bolted in a 302ci V8 mated to a C6 automatic trans. That power is transferred to the wheels through a Ford 9-inch rear end while four-wheel disc brakes bring the overhauled truck to a halt.
An early 2000’s Chrysler ‘Torch Red’ paint was sprayed on and an overhead consoled was installed in the cabin to make room for an up-t0-date sound system.
“I tried to keep the ’53 look and think I’ve done alright overall with it. I didn’t want to go overboard changing things drastically.”
Bernard completed most of the restoration work himself and found that to be the ultimate satisfaction in the project.
“You look back and know all the time you have into it and you say, ‘I did that.’ And then you get in and drive it – nothing compares to that sensation.”
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