Sometimes life’s most simple accomplishments are the ones that make the most impact, regardless of how old you are. For Bob Sproul of Norton, Kansas, he recalls that moment like it was yesterday. Growing up on a farm in a small community he was destined to follow in the family footsteps, which meant tending to daily chores and learning a basic understanding of mechanical operations. It was at age 7 that he was given his first chance to drive one of the family tractors, which immediately inspired him to learn as much as he could about them.
As the years moved on through the late ’50s his regular ride to high school became a 1949 Ford pickup with a straight-six for power. With school being 15 miles away he would often race his friends on the back roads, always trying to beat the kid with a Flathead V-8, till one day he threw a rod through the block on the pickup while trying. Other cars soon followed, as he’d live life through his cars when not studying and tending to his farm assignments. Bob became a devoted Ford owner, having earned keys to a number of them, including a 1958 Ford, 1964 Galaxie 500, and 1969 Mustang (both powered by 390ci V-8s). Weekend cruising and racing became a regular occurrence as well as watching dirt track racing at Elmwood Park Speedway and helping crew for a friend’s race team.
As the years passed he met his lovely wife, Shirley, who also shared his passion for vintage Fords. While he continued farming wheat and corn, he also kept busy working on a number of projects in his collection, including Fords from the ’20s-’60s. While deciding on what project to take on next, he thought it would be cool if he could locate a 1949 Ford to celebrate the year Shirley was born. He always remembered the fun he had with his first pickup truck racing to and from school and thought this model would be perfect for Shirley. He began his search, wanting something turnkey so she could enjoy it right away. After scouring a number of national ads, he located a nice, running 1949 Ford F-100 and decided to make a deal on it. Shirley was thrilled with the hauler, but the more they studied it proved it was time to make changes to bring it to another level. Having frequented national events for years they were very familiar with the custom trucks rolling out of Dynamic Rides in Kearney, Nebraska. The pair met with shop owner Randy Lofquist who shared many of their ideas on what it would take to make the truck truly bitchin’. This would entail a complete teardown, multiple upgrades, and a complete color change. Before long the truck was delivered and the team got busy.
The original chassis was disassembled, blasted clean, and treated to custom crossmembers, for starters. Out back a rock-solid Ford 9-inch rear was packed with Moser Engineering 31-spline axles linked to 3.55:1 gears to transfer the power to the pavement. It was suspended in place by a pair of stock leaf springs with three leaves removed per side accented by NAPA gas-charged tube shocks. To set a wicked stance and add plenty of great handling up front a 1972 Camaro IFS was grafted in place, featuring stock upper and lower control arms deftly matched to cut-down coils and NAPA gas-charged tube shocks. When the need to cut speed comes, a Corvette-style dual power master pushes juice through steel lines to Ford drums out back and GM 11-inch vented discs wearing two-piston calipers up front. Nothing sets the cool factor better than a set of 17-inch front and 18-inch rear Budnik Muroc II wheels capped with Toyo Proxes rubber to nail it all down.
Remembering back to his high school days where cubic inches ruled the back streets, nothing spoke louder than a Ford V-8. To bring the truck to life a 1971 Ford 429ci big-block was refreshed with a stock crank and rods linked to a set of hypereutectic pistons and given a heavy thump from a COMP cam. Up top a set of massaged factory heads breathe deep through an Edelbrock Performer RPM dual plane intake topped with a matching Edelbrock 600-cfm carb. There’s plenty of dazzling details on the engine, including a set of highly polished Ford Performance valve covers with matching air cleaner, Billet Specialties Tru-Trac serpentine system, and lots of attention to detail. An MSD Pro-Billet distributor adds spark while stock exhaust manifolds move spent gases through a custom 2-1/2-inch steel exhaust accented by Flowmaster mufflers. The goods all move rearward through a modified Ford C6 trans from Heartland Transmission of Kearney to a custom steel driveshaft.
After stripping the vintage steel clean it was a perfect time to address any areas in need of repair to make it all factory-fresh. The team at Dynamic Rides, including Randy, Dustin Maxson, and Sean Kerby, then got busy adding a number of custom updates, which included filling the front fenders, shaving the doors, smooth running boards, adding a one-piece windshield, Hagan fuel door, rear rollpan with flush Hagan taillights, and recessed license plate area. A fresh Dan Carpenter’s Specialties bed and tailgate completed the sheetmetal along with a classic oak bed floor. To give the truck its signature vibrance, Bob and Shirley had Randy blend up a custom Axalta blue pearl. Randy then loaded his spray gun and laid down a mile-deep vibe to bring it all to life.
To give the truck plenty of allure to match the exterior, the dash was filled, painted, and treated to a billet panel filled with VDO instruments to monitor the vitals. Vintage Air fills the cabin with cool breezes while a Billet Specialties steering wheel navigates the road and gears move through a column shifter. The team then installed an American Autowire harness to link everything together. For plenty of comfort Winchester Trim Shop of Kearney worked their magic on a modified Ford Ranger bench covering it with gray Ultraleather along with accenting modified Rod Doors side panels and console. They wrapped it all up with complementing Mercedes square-weave charcoal gray carpeting. This is one truck that isn’t gathering any dust as Bob and Shirley have been putting down the miles ever since being handed the keys!
Facts & Figures
Frame: Stock with custom crossmembers
Rearend / Ratio: Ford 9-inch / 3.55:1
Rear Suspension: Leaf springs, Napa gas shocks
Rear Brakes: Ford drum
Front Suspension: 1972 Camaro IFS with lowered coil springs, NAPA gas shocks
Front Brakes: GM 11-inch vented disc with two-piston calipers
Steering Box: GM power steering
Front Wheels: Budnik Muroc II 17×8
Rear Wheels: Budnik Muroc II 18×9
Front Tires: Toyo Proxes P235/60R17
Rear Tires: Toyo Proxes P255/60R18
Gas Tank: Stock
Engine: Ford 429ci V-8
Heads: Stock, massaged
Valve Covers: Ford Performance
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock Performer RPM dual plane / Edelbrock 600 cfm
Ignition: MSD Pro-Billet
Exhaust / Mufflers: 2 1/2-inch steel / Flowmaster
Transmission: Ford C6 by Heartland Transmission, Kearney, NE
Style: Pickup truck
Modifications: Filled front fenders, two-wider rear fenders, smooth running boards, one-piece windshield, shaved doors, rear roll pan with recessed license plate and custom taillights, Hagan fuel door
Fenders Front / Rear: Stock / Stock, widened 2 inches
Grille; Stock, chrome
Bodywork and Paint by: Dynamic Rides, Kearney, NE
Paint Type / Color: Axalta Custom Blue Pearl
Headlights / Taillights: Halogen / Hagan flush-mount
Outside Mirrors: Peep style
Bumpers: Stock chrome front / rear roll pan
Dashboard: Stock, filled
Air Conditioning: Vintage Air
Stereo: Kenwood / Sony
Steering Wheel: Billet Specialties
Steering Column: GM tilt
Seats: Modified Ford Ranger
Upholstery by: Winchester Trim Shop, Kearney, NE
Material / Color: Ultraleather / Gray
Carpet: Charcoal square-weave