COAL: 1965 Ford F-100 Custom Cab – Restoration, Part 1

This is a picture of my almost finished F-100 in 2018 except for one minor detail. It didn’t start out like this when I bought it in 2006 to haul lumber but after helping with that job the truck earned the right to be freshened up so follow along.

Here is what the truck looked like when I bought it. The truck was for sale in Fremont about 38 miles from where I lived. I drove down to see the truck and hear from the seller. I learned it was his father-in-law’s truck. It had been repainted. The 352 engine was blown up by the son-in-law in the 80’s and replaced with a 1972 360 FE. It ran rough. It was hard to keep running and you needed to feather the pedal at a stop to keep it from dying. Rust in the cab floor was extremely minor but had pine needles all over. In short it was perfect and I paid $1250 for it.

In order to get it I had to drive back home and then the following Saturday took BART down to Fremont and got a taxi over where I picked up the truck. Heading back up 680 I expected light traffic northbound at noon. Was I ever wrong about that. For some reason it was bumper to bumper from Fremont to Pleasanton where it cleared. I’m lucky I made it in one piece what with the iffy idle and manual brakes along the Sunol Grade. Reason being that one week later, after picking up some lumber, my brakes went out 1 1/2 miles from home. I drove home carefully aided by the fact that the rest of the way had a slight uphill grade to my driveway. With that the truck went up on jack stands.

The cause was not obvious since there was no visible fluid leak. However, the rear passenger side drum brake had no internal springs at all. Ok, let’s go through the brakes front to back. Trick was locating drums but had the help of my local part’s guy who was willing to explore for me. At the same time the rear axles were removed to replace bearings and seals. The drive line was removed and brought to a local shop for a new carrier bearing and balance. The engine had the Autolite 2150 dumped for one of my rebuilt 2100’s, along with a Pertronix I ignition, new wires and new plugs. Now I could drive the truck reliably. The job of moving old lumber away and new lumber in to build 100 feet of new fence was now able to be handled in 2007. Once that task was completed the F100 earned the right to be restored.

I had been collecting parts off of eBay when they showed up. The early years of eBay were great for old car parts which weren’t expensive at all. I am talking NOS parts. However, by the mid-teens sellers got wish and those parts weren’t cheap anymore. So the first step was to break down the cab since I was going to do the truck in two parts.

With all the exterior sheet metal off you can see what was done behind. Radiator support cleaned and painted along with frame and horns. The oil cooler was added for the transmission earlier. The fenders, have you ever seen a Slick, without a dented fender at the front top? I never have and wasn’t immune.

The process in some photos.  Three coats, of Holly Green, as I knew I would do a little color sanding for debris removal, hardly any, and to moderate orange peel. I could easily make the surface mirror smooth using my Air Advantage and papers from 1000-5000 but that would be wrong for a circa 1965 Ford truck. My goal is to leave a little orange peel that would have been seen when new. Both sides were fully painted in color. Next, onto the hood.

Pretty clean? Well I had the hood, fenders, and doors soda blasted in my side yard. I no longer recommend doing that around neighbors. The white cloud hanging over the block was quite something. The only positive was that the alkali nature was excellent against the growth of weeds in the area.

The hood had a small crease from a garage door coming down on it. That is another thing I have always seen on out trucks. My spare hood also has a slight crease. Once that crease was dealt with the epoxy primer and Wimbledon White goes on. Now someone in Washington State, a member of my Ford Truck forum, sent me photos of how Ford did the junctions where the two colors met. That way I could duplicate what Ford did. The green line down the side went through the middle of the mounting holes for the spear trim. Under the front lip Ford actually taped off that small section with small pieces of tape and so did I. From their a little color sanding and the hood id finished. By the way I am using PPG Concept Single Stage Urethane. Unlike BC/CC which gives a wet look the SS gives a rich, creamy look. You need to see it in person. Next up are the doors.

First, take pictures of the doors so paint borders can be duplicated as the doors are almost split in half unlike the fenders and hood.

Now both doors had those Western mirrors installed on both sides. Granted the view is way better than Ford’s original mirrors but I am going original. That means I have to weld up 14 holes, grind them flat, and then coat with a little filler.

Doors now finished so onto the cab.

Correcting myself part of the cab was painted before the doors came off which is the section behind the fender. Almost at the bottom is a little drain hole under the lip to let water drain from the cowl. That is till it gets blocked by leaves or pine needles and it doesn’t take much. I was good down here and on the inside I cleaned it out and painted the metal with cold galvanizing paint.

First issue was dealing with the big hole from a CB antenna. Needed to cut out a patch of steel, weld it in, grind it down, and coat with some filler. Next was to remove all the old shriveled caulk along the drip rail. After painting it got self-leveling caulk. Fortunately I had zero rust in this area.

Pictures show before and after in the same locations that needed duplication. The entire cab was painted in one session. Both inside and outside. Jambs, dash, floor, overhead. All that was left were some of the attaching parts.

Those parts are the front bumper, the valence panel, and the Barden rear bumper. With that I can now reassemble the front clip.

I will leave things at this with the cab done. The bed will be part 2 since this could go on and on. Some notes. The windshield, which was de-laminating was replace. The rear window and side windows were fine. All weatherstrips were replaced. The seat was done in the correct fabric from SMS along with the correct embossed logo on the back. Forrest Steele, is my interior guy just 3 miles up the street. His father was Navy and so I have given Forrest ship tags from the old and gone Suisun Reserve Fleet. He also did my Polara. Door pockets I located on eBay. Two sets actually with one white and one green. The instrument panel is 1966 style with the extra two gauges unlike the 65. Now this was finished in 2008 and there was a lull until 2012 when I was able to attack the bed. Not that I didn’t do anything as I would get under and clean the under carriage and paint it in sections. The bed require the right location given it’s size.