Custom trucks parked in a row at a show may each stand out as a unique piece of automotive art. But, after you photograph them, then stuff the tech sheet into a yellow folder, they can get lost in the monotonous purgatory of an office filing cabinet--which is what happened here. We shot Joe Henke's `50 Ford F-1, well...uh...a while ago. But once we found it again, during our monthly feature filing cabinet safari, we thought, how did we let this one languish for so long? So, in the interest of "better late than never," let's get to it.
Joe built this with his father under the auspices of Diversified Concepts, which is their part-time custom-truck-building venture in Minster, Ohio. The F-1 is a showcase for the team's talents. Not that these two crank out customs like a full-time shop, because this took just as long as any home build: about six years. Still, the duo did really nice work.
Starting from the bottom, Diversified Concepts boxed the frame and gave the truck a static-drop using Volare spindles. Monroe shocks and torsion bars up front, along with reversed-eye leaf springs in the rear, smooth out the rougher roadways. Volare disc and 10-1/2-inch drum brakes stop the 18- and 20-inch Bonspeed wheels and 235/40R18 and 295/40R20 tires. In case you're the type who can't see the the forest through the trees, then you will be rewarded by the appearance of the silver-pearl-painted chassis. The bed was channeled 2 inches to get the truck closer to the ground.
Under the hood lies a `50, 278ci V-8. The classic Detroit cast-iron has been updated with Offenhauser heads, Chevy 409 water pump, and a custom serpentine belt setup. An Isky 404 cam, Mallory electronic unilite distributor, and a Mallory Taylor 8mm wires, to help the engine run its best. A 2.79 Ford ring-and-pinion, Transgo Ford/73 transmission with Flatomatic adaptor, custom-length driveshaft, and 9-inch Ford rearend make sure the engine gets up and goes. Red's headers, a fabricated 2-1/4-inch exhaust with Smithy's muffler, a relocated battery, and silver-pearl paint, are some of the multiple mods that were made to this powertrain. So, how fast does this thing get up and go? We don't know, but it does have 180 hp, which isn't bad for an old-time pickup.