When a truck gets photographed for publication in Truckin', the owner is asked to fill out what we call a tech sheet: four pages of questions asking just about everything possible about your truck so we can jog our memories when it comes time for us to write the feature article. Near the top of the first page is a simple question that reads "How long to build?" Now, after reading all the time about how vehicles are built in four months, we figure that most people shave a little bit of time off their number, but the average build time we see is somewhere between two and three years. Anything over five or so years without some sort of amusing anecdote tends to raise an eyebrow.
So imagine our surprise when Michael Vandenberg of Missoula, Montana, hands us his tech sheet for his killer '56 Ford F-100 and we read "14 years," with no real explanation. This was something we needed to find out about, so we hit Michael up and he told us he didn't want to rush things and build a truck that was different in any way from the one that he had envisioned all along. If that meant waiting a little longer for a certain part or spending long periods of time to perfect a certain modification, then so be it. And now that Michael and his wife Delores are traveling the country with the Effie, he feels it was all time well spent. And after closer inspection, we'd have to agree.
A 428 Cobra Jet was pulled from a '69 Mustang, built with all the right parts, and topped
Every inch of the F-100 is highly detailed, right down to the frame, which is where Michael began his build. The stock frame was first stripped bare. Then a '74 Plymouth Satellite torsion bar front end complete with disc brakes was grafted on and the rear was fit with de-arched springs and a Ford 9-inch rearend sporting 4:11 gears. The updated chassis was painted gloss black before a set of Les Schwab gas shocks were bolted to each corner. Also bolted to each corner are 18x8- and 18x10-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels fitted with P255/35ZR18 and P295/35ZR18 Toyo Proxes tires.
In the quest for mega horsepower, Michael plucked a 428ci Cobra Jet engine from a '69 Mustang and put together a balanced and blueprinted long-block with ported and polished heads that sports 8:1 compression. As if that weren't enough, a BDS blower was added and topped with a pair of Holley 660 carbs. The ignition features a mix of Mallory, Pertronix, and Taylor products, and ceramic-coated Hooker headers exit to a hand-bent 3-inch dual exhaust by Scott's Muffler. The fire-breathing 428 cracked 700 hp on the dyno before being backed by the beefed-up '74 C6 transmission from Truck Tranny. Adding form to function, everything between the framerails that isn't chromed or polished is painted candy purple.
The part of the build that took Michael the most time was the body mods. Intent on seeing his dream realized, he began reworking the all-steel body with a 5-inch chop. Then came the shaved suicide doors, followed by an all-steel hydraulic-tilt front end with a molded-in roll pan. There's a frenched antenna, the fuel filler neck was shaved after a No Limit cell was located under the bed, and end caps on the bed were welded up and rolled. The rear fenders were widened 2 inches, the tailgate was smoothed over, and a roll pan was welded in and fit with billet taillights. Finish work was completed at Cody's Body Shop in Lewiston, Idaho, where the Effie was sprayed in Violet and White Pearl House of Kolor paint in a unique two-tone pattern with a pair of Lime Green spears to help break up the two colors. John Wolf is credited with the two Tasmanian Devil murals: one of Taz windin' up on the underside of the hood, and the other of Taz smokin' the tires, Rat Fink style, on the tailgate. Final touches to the exterior include a re-chromed '56 grille filled with blue dot tri-bar headlights and a Walnut and polished stainless bed kit.