Early-model trucks were originally purchased with one thing in mind, to be workhorses, whether on a farm, ranch, construction site, or helping out the local handyman. Many lived their productive years on farms doing various chores around the barnyard and out in the fields, which is where many saw their last days. Some never rolled down the interstate. Like all old things, old pickups accumulate a lifetime of experiences both good and bad, during which character and integrity are their only rewards. Many were left abandoned in fields, barns, and garages, where the natural aging process of deterioration begins to bare blistered paint, rust, and rotting wood. Classic custom truck enthusiasts purchase these old, weathered, beaten-down early-model pickups with intentions of transforming them into show-'n'-shine winners.

Pete Dimuzio has been building street rods, customs, race cars, and off-road vehicles for the past 20 years out of his homestead shop. He purchased his latest creation, a '48 Ford F-1 pickup, from a gentleman who had it held captive in his backyard for 15 years. Retracing the old truck's lifetime, Dimuzio discovered the Ford was bought new in '48 by a chicken farmer. The pickup never left the farm (and was never registered) until a gentleman dragged it home and parked it in his backyard. After throwing down five Ben Franklins, Pete hauled his latest treasure home, where it was fully disassembled and constructed in Pete's 2,000-square-foot, three-bay shop, which he had built adjacent to his gorgeous ranch-style house. This shop is a custom truck enthusiast's dream. This flawless masterpiece took 2-1/2-years to complete.

After blasting the original frame, removing years of grease and dirt, Pete welded in motor mounts, a front crossmember, brake and fuel line tabs, and then it was off to the powdercoater. A 9.5-inch Dana rearend was transplanted from a Chrysler Cordova, and stuffed with 2.70:1 ring-and-pinion gears and drum brakes. To achieve the descended rear ride height, E&C Spring in Escondido, California, de-arched the rear springs. The front suspension, which uses stock spindles, springs, and Bilstein shocks, is also from a Cordova. The front disc brakes are plumbed using steel brake lines to a No Limit Ford dual master cylinder, Ford power booster, and Mustang proportioning valve. A Chrysler Cordova power steering box was mated with a '78 Chevy Monte Carlo tilt steering column. BFGoodrich Comp T/A P225/50R16s up front and P275/50R16s out back wrap around Billet Specialties polished aluminum wheels (16x8 inches in front and 16x10 inches in back).

The '01 Chevy 350ci crate engine with a Vortex high-rise intake manifold is matched with an Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor. The engine develops a dependable 330 hp, ideal for a boulevard cruiser. A 100-amp alternator produces plenty of juice to maintain the HEI distributor and ignition system, eliminating any electrical gremlins. A Stewart water pump was installed with an auxiliary electric fan to produce a higher flow rate. Rick's Radiator in Escondido, California, hand-built the radiator. To establish the throaty sound, a pair of HPC-coated 1-5/8-inch-diameter Hooker headers were bolted up to the cylinder heads; 2-1/2-inch-diameter dual exhaust tubing flows into a pair of Hooker Turbo mufflers. A Chevy 350 automatic transmission with a B&M Shift Improver Kit backs up the Bow Tie crate engine.