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To Build Or Not To Build: 1954 Ford F-100

To build, or not to build, that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to buffer, sand and bondo, spending an outrageous fortune. Or to drive this ’54 with all its troubles. And for them to never end: but what a keeper! With all apologies to Mr. Shakespeare, this 1954 F-100 Shorty could be the perfect classic chassis needed for a great top to bottom restoration, or an even better rat rod tribute.

Personally, I would go with the Rat Rod on this one, since it has the marvelous hue of sun fade, rust, and a base layer of classic Ford DUCO Sea Haze Green. Maybe (maybe!) have the bench seat redone, scrub the whole thing down, clear coat to keep it at this age, and be done. Well, almost. Unless it’s going to be an ornamental showpiece, you’re going to have to re-plank the shorty bed. But I’d dig up some old, aged, barn wood to keep the weathered look.

Either way, this is a lot work, but has all the pieces (except the front bumper) to make it a great start. The owner, found here on eBay, notes the truck has been off the road for several years, and lists its completeness as “good”, and notes the bad wood, missing radiator, seat, and missing bumper as the “bad”. They also note that this model has much (about 50%) of the original “Ford-O-Matic” emblem in the hood, but is currently a manual three speed. The automatic version was introduced in March of ’53, so this certainly could have been an original.

We all know the success of the F series for Ford, and this survivor is an early one – from the second generation (first gen was from ’48 to ’52). In fact, 2015 started generation 13 for those keeping score! With over 26 million F series trucks sold, this 1954 classic would be an amazing tribute, would gain in value, and be a great start to a truck collection. But, you still need to look close, and ask yourself – To Keep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub.


  1. slickb

    Nice patina

    • Metoo

      Some clear coat and it’s all set to go.

  2. whmracer99

    I’m not a “patina” fan but all those folks who try and create patina never get it as good as this. As much as I hate to admit it — I fix it mechanically but leave the exterior.

  3. Chris Kennedy

    To Build! 292 Y block, your good to go! Prefer the 56′ but, to each their own!

  4. Madmatt

    Old trucks are really getting popular,the last 10 years or so!
    I would be real tempted to resto rod this,it looks pretty straight,
    and mostly complete.54 still had “cloth” wiring, they went to vinyl
    in 56,so that would be a change I would make.I would also
    get rid of spare cut out in left rear fender,by flipping section over
    re-welding it in,If that would work?,if not then fab some metal for it..Any 50’s truck is cool,but they can all be made cooler!
    Seller seems very honest and straight forward regarding condition of truck,
    this could be a great buy, if it doesn’t go too high.

  5. Gaspumpchas

    Love it….

  6. Dusty Stalz

    I think that’s the first time I’ve seen the term “rat rod tribute”. I’d build this into a 70s style look ie Root beer brown paint and keep those wheels, after going through the whole thing mechanically. Give it that classic look. This trucks too nice to “rat rod”.

  7. Steve R

    Preserving the naturally occurring sun burn doesn’t make it a Rat Rod. Performing tacky modifications with little to no attention to detail, does.

    Steve R

    • moosie Craig M. Bryda

      amen to that crap

  8. the one


  9. Fred w.

    The “patina” could be preserved with a quarterly wax job. This would look great and not look tacky as clearcoating does.

  10. Don

    It’s a keeper as is(+ seat,bumper n wood) clear shot n go……

  11. JW

    I agree to get the bed complete, get it mechanically sound and brakes, new wiring, get a seat and bumper then drive it looking like it does.

  12. rod

    Im into a nice patina (except for clear coating it) most of the time. Then along comes something like this similar 48 Mercury and I realize I’m gonna just get off my butt and do the hard work of getting that body ready to look this good.

  13. Jeff

    I’m in the process of doing a ’53 right now…that started a little worse for wear than this one is…

  14. Bob C.

    You sure that’s a 272? I’m pretty sure they didn’t come out until 1955. My guess would be a 239.

  15. Yoopermike

    This is a ‘Leaveright ‘. Fix what’s major, and just drive. It’ll gain in value, or what someone will pay in several more years.

  16. SMS

    My second car was a ‘55. Color was primer gray. Really suited the truck. To do any engine work I could open the hood, climb in the engine compartment and sit on the fender.

    Question for the group. Where does the paint go? Seen many a roof and hood without paint like this one. Does the paint evaporate?

  17. geomechs geomechs Member

    These trucks were great in stock form. They handled well and were all but indestructible. Maybe a little rough riding because of the leaf springs. The 239 Y-Block might leave something to be desired but the 292 fills the same hole, and it won’t lack any power. I guess you could get one of those IFS conversion kits but if it came my direction I would do a driver restoration and have a good time with it.

  18. PhilJustPhil

    Paint is broken down by UV rays from the sun and weather then washed off in the rain

    • SMS

      Thanks PhilJustPhil. Makes sense.

  19. Matt Jadud

    I wonder about the carburetor? I had a 54 Ford sedan (many years ago) with a 239 Y-block V8; same crossover exhaust.
    It had a weird inverted holley carb on it. Is this the right carburetor on this truck engine?

  20. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Hi gang, I don’t ever recall seeing one of these motors. Can someone explain that crossover exhaust ? Thanks, and if you look at the grill in photo 5 in the Ebay ad there is writing on the grill that says 53 Ford $250.00. Interesting.

    • JW

      leiniedude I would say most likely he picked that grill up at a junkyard and that’s what they wrote on it to keep track of what vehicle it came off of and he just never painted over it or tried to remove the writing. I’ve seen cross over exhaust like that and never figured out why they did it that way instead of going underneath like they did later on. Seems you could burn yourself easy doing a tune up.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Thanks JW. Still kind of confused on the crossover, thank you. Mike. As far as the $250, Is that the going price for a grill?And I have been burned on turn ups.

  21. Craig MacDonald

    Yes please! Do NOT touch the outside. *Maybe* a flat clear coat. Modern drive train with some juice, cleaned up interior, barn wood bed, and you’d have a head turner both for looks and performance.

  22. Rex Rice

    My buddy bought a new bright yellow one of these in ’54. Dropped front axel,duel exhaust stacks and a bed cover made this look very cool for 1954. Three on the tree with overdrive made it very roadable but it still rode like a truck. And it didn’t have that flathead sound.

  23. Ken Carney

    Hi Geomechs! You’re right about these trucks looking great in stovk form.
    Had one in high school. Mine was a 3/4-ton model with a 6-cylinder engine
    mated to a 4-speed tranny. It also had a rare dump bed option where a PTO
    system raised and lowered the bed from inside the cab. We found out about
    this when Dad accidentally dumped a load of lumber out the back of it after
    mistaking the PTO lever for the shift lever! Everyone who saw my truck said
    that I should customize it. But why? It suited me just fine the way it was!
    My classmates were glad of this too when it pulled a float in our homecoming parade in the fall of 1970. It also had a trap door in the tailgate for dumping coal or gravel when the bed was raised. BTW, the only
    “customizing” I did to it was adding a pair of West Coast mirrors to it to
    improve the driver’s vision when backing up. It also got regular maintainance and a seat cover to boot. Sold it year or so later to buy my Mom’s ’66 Cadillac Calais 4-door HT. Seeing this one pictured here
    brings back great memories.

  24. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Winning bid:US $7,900.00
    [ 39 bids ]

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