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.
Now that we're done getting our hands all greasy by poking around the guts of this vehicle, let's take a look at the exterior. Quite a bit of work was done to get the truck to how you see it right now. Those fenders are fiberglass, framing the factory grille and the Mercedes-Benz HID headlights. A Dennis Carpenter stainless steel bumper hangs from the front, while a `53-'56 F-100 chromed bumper just from the rear beneath the Arlen Ness motorcycle (yeah, motorcycle) taillights. The running boards were smoothed, and the tailgate, wood bedliner, inner fenders, and pan shroud were all custom. The cowl vent, door locks, emblems, fuel filler, and drip rails were all shaved and the bed rails were tear-dropped. Like the paint? We do. It's a Blue Cloisonne color from Valspar.
The cab's interior looks nice and clean with light-tan ultra leather on the Ford Ranger seats, light-tan Mercedes-Benz square-weave wool carpeting, and RodDoors headliner with painted accents. The dash, fiberglass center console, fiberglassed door-panel arm rests, steering column, and amplifier rack behind the seats were painted with body color blue, and the dash was brightened up with a custom cluster and billet inserts.
Vintage Air cools the environs, while L&J Auto Trim in Ft. Recovery, Ohio, did the upholstery work. The audio upgrades are pretty straightforward. A Clarion headunit sources the signals for a pair of 300-watt Clarion Pro Audio amplifiers and a pair of subwoofers all located behind the seats, plus there's speakers in the kickpanels. All in all, the interior has a very tidy presentation that is amplified by the classy blue color.
This is a very nice truck that we hope is still making the show circuit. Even better would be the prospect of another Diversified Concepts custom. We will keep our eyes peeled.