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Doug LaRue is the Street Rod Coordinator at Wyotech in beautiful Laramie, Wyoming. Being one of the leading schools in the country in automobile repair and customization, Doug thought to get his students involved in a build project to not only show off their newly learned skills but also to create on-the-job training. What they came up with is nothing short of completely sick, and we were honored to put the students' hard work in print.
Beginning with a totally lackluster 1948 Ford F-1 pickup, the crew of unseasoned newbies began by creating a chassis as the base for the project. The stock beam front end was removed in favor of a Camaro stub grafted in place, providing independent suspension, power steering, and disc brakes. In the process of assembling the new clip (instead of traditional coil springs) Air Ride Tech airbags were slipped in with a set of Monroe shocks. Equaling out the adjustable nature of the front 'bags is a GM 10-bolt rear end mounted to an Air Ride Tech four-bar system damped by matching Monroe shocks. Internally, a set of 3.73 gears make life more entertaining behind the overdrive transmission. Wheels consist of American Racing 14x6-inch front and 15x8-inch rear shod in 215/70R14 and 275/60R15 tires, respectively.
A Chevy in a Ford? Oh stop, it happens all the time.
No surprises under the hood, except you'll find more GM parts there. A '76 350ci V-8 fit with flat-top pistons and a Comp Cams .534 lift bumpstick turn a stock crank through a slightly reworked '85 700R4 trans. Wyotech instructor Gary Puls did a bit of valvebody work with a B&M shift kit to snap the shifts a little crisper. The small-block mill is powered by a hidden battery behind a trap door under the bed, sitting right next to the 23-gallon hand-fabricated fuel tank.
To coincide with the drastically altered stance offered by the adjustable pneumatic suspension, the Wyotech students checked their body skills by lopping a few inches here and there. The roof saw a 3 3/4-inch chop out of the midsection and an additional 1 1/2 inches removed from the pie-cut roof skin. Finishing the roof, the driprails found their demise in electric wire. Don't think the students stopped there! With the welder barely warmed up, one inch was pie cut from the hood, the door handles were sewn up, and a roll pan was put in place of the rear bumper. On the tailgate, a flush LED third brake light was inset before the roll pan and tailgate both received punched-out louvers. Completing the transformation of the F-1 visually are suicide doors and hand-fabbed running boards.
Showing off his own abilities, Doug himself painted the Blue Oval. House of Kolor Black was offset with a classic flame fade in Orange Pearl and Candy Red. Blue pinstriping edges the flames, with the finished item screaming out to the world "Hot Rod!" Hagen tri-bar headlights, '36 Ford taillights, and a brushed aluminum grille level out the overall presentation.
Almost pros in the customizing arena already, the Wyotech team still had a stereo and interior to contend with. For the most part, the stereo is in place just to say there is one, as it only consists of a Clarion head unit and Clarion speakers in the cab corners--just enough music to cruise to. More along the lines of the rest of the customizing process, the dash was hammered from aluminum and is shaped in a classic double-hump style and cinched up with a Vintage Air unit (because it gets toasty in Wyoming). Keeping a Ford in a Ford hasn't been a concern thus far, but Ford Probe seats were sourced and covered in red leather, adding a place to sit butts in front of the A/C. Going with the all-metal theme, additional aluminum was formed into a headliner, an overhead console, door panels, and a trick center console. More red leather covered most of it, but portions of the dash, door panels, and center console were coated in a rich black coating and flamed to match the exterior. A billet banjo-style steering wheel tops the killer classic appeal, and satin-finished billet window switches and shifter tie it all together.
Calling this truck a school kid project is true to an extent, but definitely underrated as an adjective. The truck has garnered trophies at almost every show it's attended, even nabbing the attention of the Good Guys and the NSRA. Mr. LaRue tells us the truck represents most of the things the students do at Wyotech Street Rod and he credits the students and instructional staff for all the hard work and competence displayed when given the chance. This truck represents what amateurs can accomplish with a little knowledge and a lot of patience. Proof positive for the pursuit of higher learning.