• Last modified 810 days ago (Jan. 27, 2022)


Pickup is automotive equivalent of bionic man

Staff writer

When Ed Svitak’s 1955 Ford pickup truck is ready to roll again, it may not look pretty on the outside, but it will have all new interiors.

The exterior has been reduced to mainly its base coat.

“I’m not going to paint the outside,” Svitak said. “I’ll just leave it the way I got it. It’s not a stock car, by no means, although it may have a stock look. I plan to drive it.”

The Pilsen man got the truck five years ago from a neighbor, Jimmy Rudolph, in exchange for labor.

The frame had many cracks, so he had to find a different one. Darrell Spencer of Marion is doing the makeover.

The 500 horsepower, 428-cubic-inch engine came from a 1968 car. Spencer obtained the engine from the late Willard Hett, who used it to run an irrigation pump.

Most of the parts are from Edelbrock, including the carburetor, cylinder heads, and intake manifold, as well as a new aluminum radiator.

The truck has modern LED headlights with color rings that can be programmed to change as desired.

The truck will have air conditioning, power steering, and power breaks and is equipped with a high-performance camshaft. It has a Mustang II front suspension.

The Ford rear end is “top of the line.” It has a nine-inch differential and a four-link rear suspension. Four-wheel disc brakes have been installed.

The interior of the cab is still in the gutted stage. A new gray bench seat has been built for it, and new windows have been installed. It includes new dashboard hardware, a tilt steering wheel column, and an automatic C6 transmission.

The cab is insulated with a sound deadener on the floor and all around. It is painted a “tantalizing turquoise,” as are the cylinder covers under the hood.

The truck has wide rear tires, and all the rims are a style that was popular in the mid-60s.

A side-step box bed will be installed when the renovation is incomplete. The vehicle will travel at speeds of 65 to 70 mph. As Spencer put it, the truck has several “go-fast goodies.”

Svitak plans to drive it regularly and take it to car shows. “I won’t be hauling it on a trailer,” he said. “I’ll be driving it. I built it to drive.”

Last modified Jan. 27, 2022