Off the Rails: Bud Hoffman's 1964 Ford F-100
"Originally, all I wanted was a nice old pickup with a lopey idle and a lowered stance," says Bud Hoffman, mastermind behind this fantastic 1964 Ford F-100. "At some point it just got out of control."
Bud started turning wrenches early. His father and uncles had all been involved in stock car racing, so he grew up helping out in the pits. He turned that passion for wrenching into a career as a locomotive and heavy equipment mechanic, and in his spare time he put together Ford street rods, including a 1954 two-door coupe and a 1938 two-door sedan.
When he saw light of retirement at the end of the tunnel, Bud knew he needed a new full-time activity. He had a project in mind, and the perfect candidate vehicle was close at hand.
"My brother had this rusty old 1964 F-100 that he bought with the intention of fixing it up," Bud recalls. "He never got around to it, and I kept my eye on it. One day, he decided he needed a functional work truck, and I just happened to have one. So, we traded."
Upon closer inspection in his home garage, Bud found that the truck presented two main challenges. First, very few parts of the body were worth salvaging. Second, the stock 6-cylinder would never make the kind of ruckus that Bud wanted to raise.
To tackle the first challenge, Bud opted to use original parts instead of new replacements. He made the rounds at all the swap meets, searching for vintage steel in good condition. "I met a guy who made trips out west looking for parts, and he was a big help," Bud says. "The only parts of the original truck I kept and fixed up were the frame and the driver's side front fender."
The answer to the second challenge was a big 429, yanked out of a 1970 Thunderbird. Bud had his friend Jim at Swift Auto Machine Shop bore the block to .030" over, and treat the stock DOVE heads to a port and polish, plus a 3-angle valve grind. Bud took the block home and did everything else himself, starting with the Lunati Voodoo cam that would give him the lopey idle he wanted. Bud built the rest of the engine to support the cam's performance, including the Weiand Stealth intake, Holley 750 cfm carburetor, MSD 6-AL ignition, and Hooker Super Competition headers.
With the body and engine ready, Bud got to work making the rest of the truck match his vision. To tuck the tires up, he notched the rear frame, and swapped out the straight axle up front in favor of a Fatman Fabrication Low Rider independent front suspension kit. To cheat out some more leg room, he removed the gas tank from behind the seats, deleted the filler neck from the cab, and put in a new fuel cell under the bed. That bed is completely custom, with Amish hand-crafted wood planks finished with clear coat, and banded with stainless steel hardware. To make room for those fat rear tires while sticking with factory steel, Bud joined two sets of original tubs together.
Even though he'd never painted a whole vehicle before, Bud decided to do it himself. After getting a crash course from his friends Francis and Dean at United Sales Automotive Refinishing, he built a spray booth and set to work. "I started with the frame and other parts that people wouldn't see as much, and kind of worked my way out," he says. Bud spent months prepping the body, sanding, painting, and sanding some more until it was just perfect.
"I've always liked two-tone paint jobs," Bud says, "and I'd seen similar schemes at a few car shows, but usually with the lighter color on top. I just flipped it, putting the Sunburst Orange on top and the Champagne on the bottom, all sealed up with clear coat."
With all that extra room in the cab, Bud decided to turn the interior over to the pros at Ed Watson Upholstery and Custom Interiors. They put in the custom-machined aluminum dash panel, and replaced the stock bench with some low-profile seats from Bostrom. Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges, a Hurst shifter, and a JVC stereo with Pioneer speakers topped off the renovation.
After four years of patient and persistent effort, the F-100 was complete. Bud's wife, Pat, was eager to go for a ride, but his leisurely pace was not to her liking. "She told me to step on it, so I did," Bud recalls. After letting an estimated 550 horses out to play, Pat quickly changed her tune. "She started telling me I had to sell it, that it was too crazy to drive!"
Fortunately, Bud not only kept the truck but also started driving it to shows, quickly racking up twelve trophies, including three Best of Show awards.
Having proven himself at show time, Bud has set his sights on some go time. "I want to take it down the drag strip soon, see how fast it'll really go, maybe see what breaks first." Before that happens, we expect to find Bud in a different winner's circle.
Photography By: Jim Maguire
Art Direction By: Barbara Williamson-Dungey
Story By: Derek J. Manke
Frame: Stock steel, rear frame notched for clearance
Front Suspension: Fatman Fabrication Low Rider independent front suspension kit, Monroe shocks, 5" Ford coils; lowered 7"
Rear Suspension: Stock leaf springs and coils, Monroe shocks; lowered 7"
Rear Axle: Moser 31-spline axles, Ford 9" rear end, 3.60 polished NASCAR ring-and-pinion gears
Brakes: GM 11" disc brakes front, stock drum brakes rear
Wheels and Tires: Summit Fast Five wheels (15" x 7" front, 15" x 8" rear), with BFGoodrich T/A Radial tires (P215/70R15 front, P275/60R15 rear)
Engine and Transmission
Engine: Ford 429, .030 overbore
Cylinder Heads: Stock Ford DOVE heads, ported and polished, hardened seats, 3-angle valve grind
Machining by: Swift Auto Machine Shop
Valvetrain: Lunati Voodoo camshaft (.284"/.292" @ .050", .582" intake/.600" exhaust lift), Lunati flat tappet lifters, valve springs, and retainers, aluminum roller rockers (1.73 ratio), Summit pushrods, Ford SVO tall aluminum valve covers
Induction: Weiand Stealth aluminum manifold, Holley 750 cfm carburetor, Spectre air cleaner, Summit mechanical fuel pump
Ignition and Electrical: MSD Billet mechanical advance distributor, MSD 6AL digital ignition controller, MSD Blaster coil, Tuff Stuff 1-wire alternator
Exhaust: Hooker Super Competition headers, Flowmaster Super 44 Series mufflers, 3" tailpipes with stainless steel tips
Other Items: Milodon water pump, Russell stainless steel fuel hose
Transmission: Ford Toploader 4-speed, Centerforce 11" clutch disc and pressure plate
Body: 1964 Ford F-100
Custom Features: Amish-built wood bed with custom stainless steel hardware, restored and polished badges and trim, removed fuel neck, 1962 Ford grille
Paint: US Chemical Pro-Spray paints: Sunburst Orange, Champagne, and clear coat
Body Work and Paint By: Bud Hoffman
Front Seats: Bostrom Lo-Profile seats
Upholstery: Persimmon Brown synthetic leather, tan ostrich hide
Upholstery By: Ed Watson Upholstery and Custom Interiors
Carpet: Tan nylon loop
Dash: Custom aluminum dash panel by Ronnie's Custom Machining
Gauges: Auto Meter Ultra-Lite
Other: JVC stereo with Pioneer speakers
Steve Fowler and Jeff Warstler for their technical support, Francis and Dean at United Sales for the painting help, and my wife Pat.