The F100 project page contains a complete BIO of our projects and how they have evolved from original Ford cars and trucks!

    
 08/18/09 Latest Entry
How it all started: Racing season was over. Another year of struggling to keep up with the money pit that was engulfing all that we owned and did. The rules, the rules and the rules changes were sucking the bank account dry. Every time we stepped up to the plate we struck out because we just could not afford to play the game anymore. Our sponsors were not willing to increase their input and we could not do what we liked best without them...so we ended a 9 year romp around dirt ovals.

One of Gary's friends came over one day and gave him an ad that he had found for a 1953 F100 project. The truck was rough and the work completed was less than professional, but I gave Gary the green light to make a decision. He inspected the truck closely and decided to purchase the project. We towed the truck home early September of 2006. The race car was put up for sale and Gary started his first hot rod truck project.

The truck was far from perfect and the parts included were not very valuable. The hood, fenders and running boards were fiberglass. That was not what Gary wanted so he started looking for steel components all the while he went to work on the chassis. In order for Gary to use a 351 Cobra Jet, the frame would need some serious repair. New shackles, new springs and of course, the frame must be boxed to add strength.


April - 2008
A year of sweat and hard work has gone into the project and it is coming along great, there has been a few bumps along the way however. First bump was Gary changed his job. He finally began to put his schooling to work for him and became a full time machinist. He works long and hard hours, some times 7 days a week and he generally retires each evening around 9:00 PM to get ready for the 6:00 AM start.

The latest addition Gary made back in mid August of 2007 was the 1952 F2 that Gary purchased for the 8BA Flathead engine with Mercury heads. This was going to be a donor truck, but it turned out to be far more that that. Everything, including the brakes, were in great shape. The engine ran and has no problems that we can relate to. Only the radiator was questionable, but there was anti-freeze in it and the block was holding water and oil just fine. There is a lot of work to do on the old mare, but for sure it will make a real nice ride as soon as we get the time to pull the 8BA out and replace it with a ready-to-run 262 CID in-line six cylinder. That will make this a perfect truck for running around the community.

That brings us to bump number 2. The 34 Model "B" cab and tub. This will be project number three and it will be the long time project that Gary has always dreamed of. A 1934 Ford B Model Pick Up with a Flathead engine and a 4 speed tied to an 9 inch locker. The front end will be a dropped axle and we will adapt a 4 link to the rear. Believe it or not, the cab is actually in decent shape and after some early sheet metal work, we managed to clean up the doors and prepare a new floor (all steel). The next big investment will be a chassis for this one. We plan on building most of it ourselves, with only the rails, front x-member and rear member in place before we start. Our chassis jig is limited so we must start with a square box first. Gary's background with racecar chassis makes this a "piece of cake" and certainly he will incorporate some ideas that he has used in his race cars. He already boxed and "x" braced the 1953 F100 chassis. That turned out rather nice and will be put to the test with the high torque Cleveland when we finish it up some time in May.

So with all this in mind, we come to the final glitch. Gary gets married this May. His wife-to-be (I hate French) is a car nut too and she insists that the '53 make it to the Church on time. Well good luck with that, but I will certainly try to accommodate them on their wedding day in Late May. If I get my behind in gear, I might just get the F2 running also. So let me get back to work.

The wedding was a great time for all. All my kids and grandkids were there. That was one of only a few times I enjoyed a beer with Sean, Raun and Dawn together. They are good kids, great fathers, mothers and their families are truly beautiful. Gary is lucky in many ways; his wife is lovely and she is devoted to him and his love for hot rods. Amanda is an animal lover and their dog Arial is a riot. I have again been blessed with another family and new friends from the circle of Amanda's relatives. Manda's mother, father and brother are hard working individuals. Her father is a fire fighter and full time paramedic. His job, saving lives and property, makes him wise, family dedicated and a humble man. Glenn is one of those folks you really respect and look up to. God has truly blessed the Churchfield and Kopec families...

Well it is July 2008 and it is about time I update the project. The 52 and 34 are on hold while we concentrate on the 53 F100. The engine machine work was completed by Pittsburgh Machine Service and returned in May. Gary and I started to build the engine just two weeks before his wedding. We completed the build, but installing the engine would have to wait till the "newly weds" got back into the daily routine or work and play. Bu June, we had the engine sitting in the truck. The transmission was installed and the drive-line completed, except for the rear end gear change. The clutch was hooked up first, tested and considered ready...however it took a long week to get the brakes to operate properly. I had to add reinforcement to the pedals and the firewall. Wiring has begun on the interior and a set of cheap gauges will be installed till we find a clean OEM instrument cluster. The headers were completed in June and we added "cherry bomb" mufflers and straight tailpipes (just like the ones I had on my 1955 T-Bird back in 1963). We finished the parking lamps and now we must modify the core support for the 4 core radiator. We will use a 4 blade fan, because there were no ELECTRIC COOLING fans available back when I was building hot rods.

 Keep coming back and don't forget the Shop Cam is always on when we are in there...


 

IN THE BEGINNING...

    You may or may not know by now that this project, and all that you see on this website is done on a budget. That does not mean they will be done like a "rat rod" or some "junker" that reeks of "bondo". The real form of a period Hot Rod is building the vehicle from parts that were available during "that period" which the vehicle was actually driven. No one really drives a 1953 F100 as a daily ride, you can be certain there is something else in the driveway that runs the owner back and forth to work.
    On that same thought, "period custom" vehicles were made of fiberglass formed parts and multiple coats of lacquer, each one polished before the next, to build the paint to a high gloss shine. We did not have "clear coat" over base coat paints back in the days. We did not have "fiberglass" stock parts. It we wanted a fiberglass fender, we made it from custom built wood forms, we covered the forms with "glass sheets" and brushed on gallons of glass hardener. It took hundreds of hours to prepare those parts for use.
    Today we can buy re-man (remanufactured) steel fenders, cabs, bodies, doors and just about all the parts you will ever need, but that is not building a true "period" hot rod. Many of the builders in the 60's used stock parts from cars found in bone yards. We would pay 5.00 for a running board, 15.00 for a hood and 25.00 for an old engine to put in "our" car or truck. For that reason alone, it was common to find a 1954 car grill in a 1950 truck. It was out of parts availability that many custom cars were built. We would add "Caddy" tail lights to our vehicles because they were "neat" and they were cheap at the local "you pull". On $1.25 per hour at Isaly's Dairy, who could afford a new set of tail lights from a Caddy dealer? If you could afford "new parts" for that '32 Coupe, you were one of those "stuck up" little "rich kids" that we all tried hard to beat on the street and at the strip.
    Many Hot Rod builders were members of our armed services, they fought for our freedom in Europe and Asia. When they returned to the states, they wanted to have some fun. They turned to building Hot Rods. These young men had been thrown into war while they were still teenagers. They were home know and they wanted those good times back again. After all, they fought for this countries freedom and they had a right to be free too. So they took the old "tin lizzy" out of the barn, took off the fenders, put in a "flathead" and went fast! But thank God it did not stop there. Many of those kids had to improvise. They took parts off of Dad's family sedan to make their rides work. They borrowed parts from the neighbor's car and yes, they combed junk yards all over the planet for that perfect piece of art that made their Hot Rod different from the next.
    In the 50's Hot Rods were common place. Times were good, cause we had an "auto shop" in our school. It was a place for us to become greasers. We had car clubs in the area that was based out of a local garage. Many of the garage owners had teenager mechanics working part time changing tires, doing oil changes and "lube jobs". Me, I was a "ham radio operator" and when it came to electrical problems, the guys who did not understand electricity, called on me to fix the lights, starters, generators and radios for their rides. I had a small shop in the corner of the garage and our driveway was the place where many a car was repaired. My father was a salesman and he was "out-of-town" a lot, so I had free run of the place, but I did not have the resources to build a street rod until I went to work for a Ford Dealer. I worked at Ford (mostly dealers) for about ten years while I went to school for electronics. I left the automobile business in '70 to become a Color TV technician. May be the biggest mistake of my life. I really lost touch with my Hot Rod roots and never really recovered until I divorced and married again. It was my second wife that gave me a son who was truly a "chip off the block" so to speak. I have three other children, from my first wife and from them, several lovely grand children that I love very much. But Gary is the son I bonded with. I was given the chance to teach him all about being a good man with a strong commitment to life and his country. My wife Maureen, is a beautiful woman who allowed me to be a father. I missed that with my first kids; I was "asked to leave" at a time when my first three kids were becoming closer to me.
    Now I channel my Hot Rod days through Gary. I am teaching him tradition and the sense of building from what you can afford or what is lying around in the shop. Gary raced dirt late models for a few years. he learned all about building race engines, designing, preparing and repairing a racecar chassis, building car bodies and playing with stock suspensions to make the car "turn". But after a few bad wrecks and the expense of repairs, he grew tired of going no where, even if it was fast. He had no interest in bracket racing, so he turned to Hot Rod building. He bought a project truck from a newspaper ad, and began to start from scratch to build it "his way".
    So Gary and I have to do what is necessary to build these vehicles. We use the Internet today like we used the local clubs, back alley garages and scrap yards in those early days. Problem seems to be that E-Bay has raised the bar to extinction. Parts that are covered in rust pits, bent and missing hulks of days gone by and plain old "pieces of shit" are going for hundreds of dollars to the highest bidder; while the seller is bidding against the buyer. We use HAMB and CraigsList to find most of our parts. We have brought home more donor cars and trucks than our neighbors want to speak about (to our faces). They drive by and watch these 30 and 40 year old hulks slowly disappear, while our parts are stored in the shop or in the back yard shed. In these articles you will see "how we did that" to save money and make it all safe to drive. This is the real heart of "hot rodding", or at least, as I know it.

 

FROM TERRY CHURCHFIELD...an on going editorial.
  
  Don't send me any emails. I don't need to hear from some yuppie that has more money than brains. You know the type, their hands are so clean they squeak. They stand by their plastic trailer queen with a 350 SBC and talk about how much time they have in their rides, that they never really ride. The sign "please do not touch" located on the windshield really means "I don't touch it either". The vehicle sits in a carpeted stall near the pantry, next to the wife's Lexus. Well folks, your turn is coming soon. This country is going to become "green" all for the sake of the "global warming" gang and other moon-bats who don't believe in the internal combustion engine. In the future, Hot Rods will become an underground society where yuppie political hacks will not be welcome. The "political correctness" of the 90's will turn into a social society where you will share your wealth with your neighbor. Thank God my neighbor does not want my old parts for his common good. I will use them, and I will make them work till the day I die. I hope you "green weenies" enjoy the future of your so-called Hot Rod hobby, but when there is no more gas to guzzle, there will be no more So-Cal speed shops to sell you those $300.00 wheels you brag about that makes your roto-rod look so good under that hot-pink, multi-coat clear plastic body. It will be that time when my son's flat black all steel '34 bucket will be king shit on the highway and it will blow off your cute little "french poodle" style "green weenie", no matter how good you feel about hugging another tree or building another "plastic model car kit"...only bigger!

Ok I continue my observations. It is August of 2008 and I have visited enough reunions and nostalgia shows that I can consider myself an expert. Actually it only requires 140 days on the job to be worthy of President of the United States, so with my "cruise" experience, you can't call me anything less...But I digress, and this is Pittsburgh Pa. the "steel town" where steel was king before the "green weenies" chased it out of town. So why have we turned this place into "Kittsburg" ?? Is that a spin from KITtanning ?? (KIT - TANNING where you TAN in your folding chair sitting beside your KIT car.) Sorry, but I had to do that.
If you have ever visited the Starlight Cruise on Route 19 in Wexford PA, about 45 minutes from Kittanning, you will be amazed by the car counts and the number of visitors. However, all I see are "rotos" and "kitters". If 600 cars are there on a Friday night, I bet less than 10% are real all steel classic cars. Yes there are a few of those home grown all steel period hot rods, but most are 70's factory hot-rods that have been purchased so many times that the sales taxes alone have paid the sticker two or three times over. If I see one more 40 year old "yuppie" in khaki Bermuda's with a green polo shirt, I will scream... Real hot rods are not classics !! But they are a part of the classic car scene that was the 50's and 60's. Yes, a 1954 Mainline Sedan is a classic, not a hot rod, but it can still find it's "all steel" place among the best. Same goes with that beautiful 1940 Ford sedan that is original in all it's showroom glory. These classics remain part of the custom hot rod scene and sit well together in the same place at the same time. Dad drove his 60 Ford wagon, I drove my 37 Packard 120...simple as that !! I guess the word "cruise" was adapted some time ago to cover all venues mainly because drawing a thousand flies with just one slice of water mellon is damn near impossible. Besides, using the word "cruise" allows anyone who will pay the 10.00 entrance fee to park on the concourse (elegance). Oh wow, I can't wait to see those "classic" 50 year old Honda Civics and Subaru Outbacks.

Now I have seen it all. Cash for Clunkers...A political program that reeks of SCAM and a way too damn big government meddling into my affairs. To all of you who took advantage...where do you think all this data the government (not your dealer) took from you at application ?? Right !! Now do you think that was necessary ?? Right again !! But that is just the start of things to come. You see redistribution of the wealth means taking from RICH and giving to POOR. The "Robin Hood" syndrome, only this is more like SOCIALISM IN THE HOOD than "fiction in the wood". What this program actually did was raise our debt level. Not just for those who bought a new car, but for those of us who are going to eventually have to pay it. You see, no one gets 4500 dollars for nothing. No one but thieves, robbers and the politicians. That is right...what in the name of God has any politician ever done for anybody ?? We know that thieves and robbers are one and the same, exception, thieves use guns...robbers use Clark Bars inside their jacket pocket. So what I am saying here is...CASH for CLUNKERS is nothing but "Belt-Way" robbery. You get a car on my dime and I get screwed...that is considered fair !!
People love it or hate it...if you hate it like me you are an extremist like me waving swastikas in my front yard. Did you ever see me waving swastikas ?? No, but Nancy Pelosi did while she was driving by the house the other day...I am sorry but "Fantasia" is still Mickey Mouse on a mountain top !!
Now the reality of C4C's...it is dangerous to play these games. How many of you purchased a car one week prior to the 4500 smacker giveaway ?? Did you get yours ?? Do you feel cheated ?? Amazing if you answered "NO" the the third question. What about all of those who missed a great chance on a low mileage used car ?? are you happy ?? Are the charities happy ?? Are the scrap yards happy ?? (YES) Are the scrap dealers happy ?? (NO) Are the salvage yards happy ?? Are the engine rebuilders happy ?? Is anyone really happy outside of those who bought a new car ??
Now we are into 3 BILLION and frankly I believe we will have more coming soon. Maybe not for automobiles, but big screen TV's or major appliances. Can anyone say "new windows" here ?? I might take advantage of that one because it will do more for to lower my "Cap and Trade" taxes that are coming this Winter.
No I am not headed that direction...I am going to continue building my hot rods and classic old cars because I just can't see anything coming from Detroit that will ever last 55 years let alone 75 for our '34 Ford Pickup. Could you see me trading in a 34 "B" and taking 4500 as the offer ??

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REAL HOT RODS HAVE A SOLID FRONT AXLE.
  REAL HOT RODS SMOKE THE
REAR TIRES.
     REAL HOT RODS ARE AMERICAN
STEEL.
         REAL HOT RODS WERE
AUTOMOBILES MADE BY AMERICANS.