Resto-Moded: 1951 Ford F1

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Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

It is often easy to fantasize about having a modern drivetrain or amenities in your vintage automobile, but it’s not always easy to make that fantasy a reality. This Ford F1 is a reality. Sitting on a 2004 explorer chassis, having an aluminum block 4.6 V8 and having an all-wheel drive stick shift drivetrain this Ford must be fun to drive. With awesome looks and a great modern chassis and drive train, this Ford is absolutely cool. Reaching $9,600 on the ebay chopping block with the reserve unmet. Find it here on ebay out of Zionsville, Pennsylvania.

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The aluminum 4.6 liter V8 fits nicely under the F1’s bonnet. This F1 has many features that it originally would not have been equipped with such as, power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, all-wheel drive, and a 5 speed manual transmission. We are giddy at the idea of banging gears in this resto-moded F1.

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We never thought we would come to admire the dash of a 2004 Ford Explorer, but somehow it happened. The dash was trimmed to fit the interior of the F1 but we think it looks great. The console and seats are also from a ’04 Explorer. There are many interior luxuries that this F1 would have never seen, such as heated seats, dual zone climate, power windows, tilt steering column, cruise control, speed controlled delay wipers and many other features. This F1 would be very easy to live with on a day to day basis, and likely extremely fun. The exterior is a natural patina that looks great and manageable. The F1 cab has an explorer floor, allowing for the explorer drivetrain and accessories. The cab is solid, and the really there are only a few problems with the body. First off the passenger front fender is missing a broken off piece of the fender. Secondly the passenger rear fender has a rough repair spot on its inner edge against the bed wall. Thirdly the tailgate has some cracking and needs repair. Currently the tail gate is bolted shut, but the seller is including a set of hinges to aid in repair of the tailgate. Overall condition of the body is pretty solid with only some minor denting in a few areas on the body. There is no severe denting or rust on the body.

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With a nice patina and an excellent execution of a resto-mod this Ford F1 is hard to ignore. What we wouldn’t give to have this as a daily driver or regular fun toy. What do you think of this resto-mod Ford F1? What do you think will be the final hammer price for this Ford sleeper?

 

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Comments

  1. 68 custom

    nice looking F-1 should be a joy to drive. I love it! looks well executed.

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  2. Todd Zuercher

    Looks very well done.

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  3. Jay M

    Excellent blend of old and New.

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  4. grant

    The tailgate has more than some cracking, it’s creased and may be rusty. Still a cool truck.

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  5. Bobsmyuncle

    Fantastic! I’m shocked this hasn’t brought out the haters in droves.

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  6. Mark S

    All that effort and money and the seller leaves it looking like a rust bucket. If I were the buyer I’d finish the job fix the body and give it a decent paint job. Again patina is nothing more then the tin worm on attack. This era of truck used single stage paint that is easy to apply. And the metal work looks straight forward and family easy to do.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Might as well accept that time moves on and so do trends.

      What you propose would simply result in another truck that looks like all the rest.

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      • Mark S

        I’d rather have it look like just another shiney truck than just another rust bucket.

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  7. JW

    I like this modified F-1 very much, just wonder what that reserve is. 12K maybe.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      I messaged the seller a couple hours ago, I’ll report back. I’m sorta thinking this might fit my needs.

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  8. tstout68

    Well first of all I love the concept, from the pictures it looks to be very well put together, the rat rod look with the dependability of a 04 Explorer AWD drivetrain , then all the creature comforts on the inside.. Who would want anything any better to use to haul parts ect in.. If my wife wouldn’t kill me I’d by it in a heartbeat.. I think it’s put together as so the basic concept can be improved upon , say a Ford Performance Coyote motor supercharged…. I personally think the seller done a great job on the build as well as his description of the truck… Good luck with the auction!!!

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    • al8apex

      did you just say “dependability” and “AWD” in the same sentence?

      Maybe you meant to say RWD … AWD is anything but dependable …

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      • Noel

        My wife’s last 2 SUVs were both Jeep GC with AWD. More than a decade later, and a few 100k miles, the AWDs have never been an issue.

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      • tstout68

        My wife drives an AWD Explorer it has 212,xxx miles on it, we have never had a problem with the AWD….. So yes I meant to say AWD…

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      • Bobsmyuncle

        There are countless makes and models with AWD, there are no generally accepted faults in AWD. Are you specifically referring to the Explorer’s system? If so do you have a link to more info on the proposed problem?

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  9. miatadon

    I inherited a ’50 F-1, and it was a very pleasant driving truck with a V8 and floor shift 3-speed. I would rather have a stock old Ford pickup with a flathead V8 than one that has been restomodded, but I am probably in the minority.

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    • Eric Hare

      I would take either one, the question is for what purpose? For a cool weekend cruiser I’d want original, for a cool daily driver I’d have to go with this one. By the time that the body was fixed the original paint and patina would be ruined and would need a full body restoration. Add in the fact that I live in Minnesota and every thing rusts here it would need good paint.

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  10. Howard A Member

    Sure is a cool truck, no doubt. Personally, I don’t care for modern plastic dashboards, and the stock ’51 dash was a good looking dash. This interior just looks like it should be in a,,well, in an Explorer, and not a ’51 Ford pickup. Motor a little much for me. Nothing wrong with the flathead V-8 and O/D. I also agree with the patina thing. If you are going this route, finish it off with a nice paint job. If you left it original, then this appearance is fine.

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  11. racer99

    Love this like it is although the 4.6L 4wd drivetrain wouldn’t be my first choice. Looks nicely done with a/c and power steering and you probably couldn’t replicate it for the current bid ($10K).

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  12. geomechs

    Although I’m a purist restoration guy, the builder of this did a good job. The original flathead–warmed over–would have powered this truck just fine–for the likes of me. But he should have finished it; this patina thing has long since run its course; time to get back to basics.

    A word of caution to anyone considering buying this: Check with your DMV to make sure you can register it. There are people putting an old body on a modern chassis that are getting their tags cancelled because the modern chassis is from a write-off; or some law has been changed; or some bureaucrat’s definition of the law has been misread….

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  13. Brad C

    Really, really nice. I’m usually turned off by modern interiors (especially dash consoles) grafted into old cars, but this proves if you take your time and have a good eye… you can meld pretty much anything into an attractive solution. Love this.

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  14. jeff6599

    Certainly not a rat rod; not even close to the definition of a rat rod. How long will it take for folks to know a beater is not a Rat which is a purpose built, inexpensive, artistic endeavor.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Seems everyone posting here thinks a car with rust is a rat rod, drives me bananas but I’ve never been able to gather the energy to address it. Thanks for bringing it up.

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    • Mark S

      I agree Jeff6599 there are a lot of guys that don’t know the difference between a rat rod. A restomod and a hot rod. All they know is that it’s been modified. I see this in the comments all the time. in the end I really don’t think it matters we’re all untitled to our opinion of what we want to call something.

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      • Bobsmyuncle

        We’re all entitled to our opinions, however if we are going to all share thoughts and ideas using the same language, we need to use agreed definitions, and terminology that we all comprehend or the communication is fruitless.

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  15. LaglerAuto

    Hey, my name is Jon, I’m the owner/builder of the F1. I wanted to say thanks to Brian for featuring the truck on Barnfinds. I enjoy seeing the comments, both good and bad. The truck was built to be used, it’s not a show truck and it was never intended to be one. I also did not have an unlimited budget, and I think some people fail to realize how much time/money good bodywork and paint costs.
    The decision to use the Explorer chassis was not taken lightly. It was just the best way to achieve what I wanted from the truck. I did not originally intend to use the Explorer dash, but there were a number reasons for it, including the fact that the 51 dash was rusted out from a leaking cowl vent. I have no regrets for what I did to the truck, I don’t think I’d do anything differently. There’s nothing stopping the next owner from giving it a paint job or a bigger engine, but I like it just the way it is.

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    • JW

      So do I, nice job Jon !!!

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Jon, I’m the guy that contacted you via eBay. Shoot me an email if you don’t mind I’d like to ask you some specifics.

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    • Jay M

      That’s one heck of a sleeper you built Jon! One that can be comfortably driven, too.
      People couldn’t understand why I built my 1938 Chevy pickup with AWD and a supercharged sbc…
      Until they get a boost launch in it from a set of lights.

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    • GRAY WOLF

      Paint and body is expensive! Probably the people that are expressing negativity don’t have a nice ride or their vehicles aren’t up to these standards. This why they make different vehicles, colors and styles. Come on people, enjoy the work this gentleman has done! That’s what hot rodding is all about. Look it over, it may trigger ideas you like!

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    • tstout68

      First of all great job on the truck, if I had the room it would be in Tennessee…. it would make a great shop truck for me.. Good luck on the sale.

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    • tasker

      I think it’s awesome! I like it just the way it is….nice touch with the stick too!

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    • PRA4SNW

      Hi Jon, Thanks for posting here. Your auction ended with the ever popular line:
      “This listing was ended by the seller because there was an error in the listing.”

      Could you explain what this means? It sounds to me (us) that you pulled the ad because you found another buyer and didn’t want to pay the E-Bay fees, or that you weren’t getting the kinds of bids you expected?

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      • brakeservo

        I can’t speak for the seller here, but when I list a car on eBay it’s my goal to sell it, not engage in a game or provide entertainment for armchair quarterbacks. I frequently end my listings early, not because I’m trying to screw eBay out of their fees (although they have no compunction about screwing me out of my listing fees when a dead-beat bidder fails to pay). Rather I frequently end my listings because a prospective buyer gets in touch with me, we agree on a price and simply sell the car. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that – remember eBay is just another advertising tool, not a ‘game’ where you have to be the ‘winning bidder’ to buy the car. If you see a car you think you want, by all means contact the seller – I ALWAYS put my phone number in my listings (same with my Bring-A-Trailer ads) because I think good faith sellers and serious buyers should actually TALK, not just exchange emails! In fact I wish eBay would enable me as a seller to disable email communication with bidders – I only want to deal with people serious enough to actually CALL and SPEAK with me – too many guys with too much free time at work goof off and send meaningless emails during the work day when my listings are live – and I don’t want to waste my time with the nut cases and flakes! Don’t get mad if a listing ends and you’ve never spoken with the seller – there are some guys out there that won’t give me their number when I’m interested in their car – and I’ve learned the hard way – I will never ever again buy a car via eBay if I have not actually talked with the seller. The few times I have are the few times I”ve been really mis-led and ripped off! I have a theory – if I list a car and it sells quickly – I’ve priced it correctly. I sold a $100,000 hot rod on eBay once after the listing had been live only 20 minutes before I got my first call and he was a serious buyer. I sold another Bentley for nearly a hundred grand to an overseas buyer after the listing had been up only an hour. That’s how it should work.

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      • Bobsmyuncle

        Couldn’t agree more ‘Servo.

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      • PRA4SNW

        Thanks for the input. brakeservo. I understand your point of view and I suppose my question is aimed more at the process rather than the seller.
        If EBay were being honest with it’s listings, it would offer an option that says “Listing was ended early because the item was sold via another means”. This “error” stuff makes it sound like the seller had no clue how to post an ad. When I post items, I make quadruple sure that what I put in the ad, the pricing, the shipping, etc, are all correct before that ad is placed.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Still hoping to hear from you. My next purchase needs to happen shortly…

      imjasonDOTbobsmyuncleATgmailDOTcom

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  16. whiskey runner

    nice build, shows a lot of thought and work on your part… i like to say, you build your truck for you.. not to meet someone else’s opinion of how it should be..

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  17. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    This thing pushes buttons I didn’t know I had. Really, really nice job here,

    Jon. The next owner will be a very fortunate person indeed…

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  18. brakeservo

    Upon seeing the modern dash and steering wheel, I have to ask – does it have functional air bags?? I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that air bags are a good idea.

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    • LaglerAuto

      I eliminated the airbags, I didn’t think it was a good idea to use them since the whole system was designed and calibrated for a very different vehicle with crumple zones and such.

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  19. Rustytech

    What a nice resto-mod. Who would have thought to recycle an “Exploder” in such a unique way. I can’t imagine the seller making a profit on this build, so it must have been done for love of the hobby. KUDO’s

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  20. Fogline

    Love the body’s of the F-1 and having the ability to stop and drive reliably ( though my old Fords always seem to fire up even after a significant time sitting) would be a big plus in my book. Add the much more comfortable seats and 5 speed and you have something the is actually ecologically more friendly as well.

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  21. pappy2d

    Great build Jon. I wonder how many of the critics are capable of what you’ve accomplished here? Very well done.

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  22. jeff6599

    Agree, Mark. We are each entitled to our opinions and that is great. We are all teachers too and when we incorrectly identify things be it automotive, political, medical, whatever we are teaching whomever may hear (especially children) things that are wrong, untrue or otherwise misleading but they then take it for truth. I’m far beyond this but as a youngster, one of my grandmothers called that thing in the kitchen counter a ‘zink’ ! So that’s what I called it. When one of my teachers kindly corrected me and explained the difference between ZINC and SINK I was angry that her old country lack of education made me look foolish. So as a result I try to do my part in correctly helping out my car buddies. You should see what some of the so called car magazine journalists call a hiboy these days; They seem to have no idea, then publish their concept for thousands to absorb!

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  23. Craig

    Its got “Blue Dots” its cool ! I like it even if it didn’t !

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  24. Nic Brown

    This is an amazing build. It takes a lot of knowledge to complete something like this. To make it fit and look stock is amazing and worth every penny he gets for it.

    Great Job Jon!!!

    Nic

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  25. Dickie F.

    Really Really Cool !

    But I would have prefered a more original interior …

    I can live with this everyday, does the doors creak when you open them ?

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  26. chad

    Nice job, not sure how far it hadda go to fit in this other ford.
    It’s too far 4 me tho.
    Lost some utility, originality, honesty (esp the ext. paint – that may B Y some think it’s a rat – often they paint on fake rust or do as done here). And traded 4 sompin else…
    Jon’s a craftsman fer sure.
    GLWA.

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  27. Rex Rice

    One of the great things about owning a vintage truck is the fun of no power steering and shifting a non-syncro transmission. What we have here is an Explorer with an old body.

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    • LaglerAuto

      “What we have here is an Explorer with an old body.”
      You are exactly right, in fact that’s how I describe it when someone asks about it. It’s easy to find a better looking F1, but when’s the last time you saw a better looking Explorer than this one.

      I always find it interesting what some people consider fun… Take your flathead and 3 speed and try merging onto a freeway full of modern cars doing 70 mph.Or try driving your straight axle leaf sprung truck on the twistiest road you can find at twice the posted speed limit, I bet that would be fun. This truck does it all effortlessly, if that’s boring then so be it. I can see the fun in driving an old original truck around town, but it quickly becomes inconvenient and annoying if you actually want to use it frequently or do more than a Sunday drive to get ice cream. I’d rather see the classics being used than sitting in a garage because they suck to drive or they’re too nice or too valuable to risk damage. I’m glad there are people willing to restore and preserve them as original, it’s just not my thing.

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      • Mark S

        The work that you have done here Jon is very impressive, and of course leaving it with the rough look is matter of personal taste. When I made my above comment about going the rest of the way that is also a matter of personal taste. You mentioned the cost in finishing this is high. I say anyone with this level of skill as you have displayed could do the remaining work to bring it to a new look at minimal cost. One thing I think is it is not necessary to do a better than new base coat clear coat finish. Remember these were single stage paint jobs back in the day. This only needs to be restored to that level after all this is not a 2016 Mercedes Benz and single stage paint is not that expensive. Anyway Jon you have done a terrific job and it is clear that you know what your doing. Cheers

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  28. Nic Brown

    I work in this crazy auto industry every day all day. We build some of the best super cars in the world today. So to see what Jon has done here is totally amazing and very impressive. This is auto art, it takes an imagination to even start to thing of such a thing….Who would think to take an old Exploder and mate it with an F100 without it looking like it wasn’t suppose to be that way. I don’t know a lot of people that do such a thing and make it work.
    It’s good to see everyone’s idea on what to do or what should have been done. without it we would all be driving the same boring cars. So hats off to everyone that has an idea of how it should be done and even better when you can do it. It’s freedom and expression at its finest!

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  29. racer99

    I think it’s great to respect a build whether or not it’s the way you would have done it. While you can nit-pick the direction of just about any build this one took a bunch of time and talent to build and the finished product is well thought-out and well done. I’ve done a ’66 F100 with fuel injected Mustang GT drive-train, ps, pdb, tilt wheel, power seats, etc., and it took a ton of work and wasn’t anywhere near as nice or complex as this one when I got done. So the fact that I would have done things differently does not lessen my admiration for this project for what it is and the work/thought/skill that went into building it. Kudos.

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  30. Bill Frison

    Jon, How can I get a hold of you as I am in the process of doing the same thing only mine is a 52 F1 and I am going to put it on a 2002 Explorer 4×2 with a 4.0 engine.
    The explorer I purchased from Coparts, a company that handles salvaged automobiles. The engine runs fine, A/C works and the damage on the left front. I elected to not go back with the flat head as the one that is in it has been run with water and the water pump connections are full of rust. Therefore I feel the cylinder wall are must like badly corroded.

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