Written by on July 8, 2016Contributors: Peter Linney
For many of the classic truck enthusiasts attending the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in 2015, one of the more notable displays was TMI Products’ recent entry into the custom classic truck market. TMI has been making seats for hot rods for a while but had only started offering products for our segment of the hot rod hobby for a year. CLASSIC TRUCKS magazine showed you four of the trucks from the TMI booth in our online show coverage at www.HotRod.com. One of those four was this 1970 Ford F-100 owned by TMI Marketing Director Larry Ashley. What we didn’t know at the time was how Larry came to own the truck or how much work it took to finish it in time for SEMA.
Larry’s interest in custom vehicles extends to just about anything cool with wheels. The path that led him to this F-100 shortbed proves that pretty well. Larry had traded his 1987 Honda XL600 dirt bike for a 1969 Cougar, which was then built into a show-quality street machine. At the SEMA Show in 2014, Larry’s attention was captured—several times—by a red mid-’70s F-100. One year later, Larry was back at SEMA with an F-100 of his own.
Getting this truck meant searching on Craigslist for the right raw material. Eventually, he found what he was looking for only 10 miles from his Southern California home. Larry told the seller that he wanted to make a straight-across trade—the truck for his Cougar. From the look in the other guy’s eyes and the big smile on his face, it was clear that the truck owner knew he was getting the better end of that swap. When Larry told his wife, Lola, about the deal, she laughed and asked, “Are you crazy?!”
In the months that followed, the F-100 made the transition from rough to extraordinary. Larry contacted Ron Palmer and Gabe Bell at RnG Customs, Classics and Fabrication, in Hesperia, California, for help with the build. He also talked to DJM Suspensions in Gardena, California.
After almost half a century of service, the truck’s chassis components were in desperate need of some cleaning up—with some new parts installed to provide the right lowered position. DJM provided parts to let Larry lower and upgrade the suspension without cutting up the chassis and while keeping many of the stock pieces. DJM Dream Beams replace the stock twin I-beam in front and work with the factory spindles. The Currie 9-inch rearend runs 3.50:1 gears and limited slip. Spring hangers and shackles bring the F-100 lower to the ground, and Calmax SuperShocks contribute to the smooth ride. And because the trucks needs to stop reliably the factory brakes were retired in favor of a four-wheel disc conversion package from Master Power Brakes (MP), including 11-inch rotors at all corners plumbed to an MP master cylinder and booster.
The truck moves under Ford power, with a 1990 5.0L engine drawing fuel and air via a Holley 600-cfm carburetor mounted between the Edelbock manifold and the finned air cleaner cover. Exhaust travels through Doug Thorley headers, Flowmaster mufflers, and 2 1/2-inch pipes before exiting just forward of the rear wheels. A Hurst-shifted Tremec T5 with a Centerforce clutch backs up the 5.0 and an Inland Empire driveshaft delivers torque to the Currie rearend.
The classic lines of the 1970 shortbed body and cab were kept the way Ford made them, enhanced by the removal of badging and brightwork. The gas filler was relocated to the truck and the stock opening and bed stake pockets were filled. RnG Customs took care of the bodywork and Johnny’s Auto Color and Body Werx in Riverside, California, gave the sheetmetal its custom finish. Larry chose Eastwood’s Metal Blackening System for the bumpers, door handles, and mirrors. It’s a cool alternative to chrome and a better match for the satin brown metallic paint and the gold-colored finish on the wheels. Those 18-inch American Racing VF49910-spokes roll on Continental radials measuring 255/45ZR18 and 285/40ZR18.
As an employee, Larry got an early look at TMI’s new line of truck seats, consoles, door panels, dashpads, headliners, and other classic trucks interior products. As you’d expect, the inside of the cab is equipped with a complete collection of TMI components. The gauges in the stock dash are from Dakota Digital. The early-appearing radio is a new piece from RetroSound that has the looks of a stock unit with modern technology.
Larry’s 1970 F-100 was finished fast—and just in time for the SEMA Show. Maybe his wife, Lola, had it right. Maybe he was crazy to swap a built-up Cougar for a weary F-100. But seeing the truck in the TMI booth surrounded by a crowd of impressed enthusiasts, makes us think that crazy is OK. And if the guy who got the Cougar was there, we bet he was impressed too.
1970 Ford F-100 | Larry Ashley
Rearend / Ratio: Currie Enterprises 9-inch with limited slip / 3.50:1
Rear suspension: DJM Calmax SuperShocks with DJM 4-inch drop hangers and lowering shackles kit, Currie Enterprise axles
Rear brakes: Master Power Rallye Series 11-inch discs
Front suspension: DJM Suspension Dream Beams lowering beams, DJM Calmax SuperShocks
Front brakes: Master Power Rallye Series 11-inch discs, Master Power 1 1/8-inch-bore master cylinder and 8-inch dual diaphragm booster
Front wheels: American Racing VF499 two-piece forged 18×8 with brushed gold finish
Rear wheels: American Racing VF499 two-piece forged 18×10 with brushed gold finish
Front tires: Continental Extreme Contact DW 255/45ZR18
Rear tires: Continental Extreme Contact DW 285/40ZR18
Gas tank: Tanks Incorporated relocated tank
Engine: 1990 Ford 5.0L
Intake manifold: Edelbrock Performer
Carburetor: Holley 4V 600 cfm
Valve covers: finned
Air cleaner: finned
Radiator: Champion aluminum with dual electric fans
Headers: Doug Thorley
Exhaust / Mufflers: side exit 2 1/2-inch pipes / Flowmaster 44 series
Transmission: Tremec T5
Clutch: Centerforce clutch, flywheel, and disc
Driveshaft: Inland Empire Drive Line Service
Modifications: filled gas cap, shaved emblems, Eastwood Metal Blackening System on stock mirrors, bumpers, and door handles
Bed: stock with Bullet Liner bed liner, filled stake pockets
Headlights: HID Projectors JW Speaker LED
Taillights: LMC Truck LED
Glass: LMC windshield and rear glass
Bodywork: RnG Customs, Hesperia, CA
Paint: Johnny’s Auto Color and Body Werx, Riverside, CA
Paint type / Color: Eastwood / custom satin brown metallic
Dashboard: stock, with TMI Products dashpad
Gauges: Dakota Digital
Steering wheel: TMI Sport R billet
Seats: TMI VXR Classic buckets
Material / color: vinyl and suede / white and charcoal
Door panels / color: TMI Sport R / salt and pepper
Carpet / color: German weave / salt and pepper
Seatbelts: LMC Truck
Console: custom TMI Waterfall console
Stereo: RetroSound Retro Classic Radio head unit, Quad4 Amplifier, and R-TB8 speakers
Wiring: Painless Performance Products