Classic Lines, Cummins Power

’52 Ford Up Top—’97 Dodge Underneath

When your first vehicle is a ’50 Ford with a flathead V8, you tend to retain your affinity for classic Blue Ovals. Now fast-forward a few decades, factoring in a few life experiences that include the discovery of the power, durability and simplicity that is the 5.9L Cummins, and you start to see why Tim Galas’s ’52 Ford project turned out the way it did. “I always wanted another Bonus-Built,” he told us, “and the Cummins is so simple to work on, not to mention it’s good for a million miles.” It just made too much sense.

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Building the “Fodge”

With a complete ’97 Dodge 3500 at his disposal—along with an end goal of towing with the finished product—the 1-ton frame, axles and suspension were used as the perfect foundation. The steering system consists of the second-gen box and a modified steering column out of an old International. For engine cooling, the radiator and fan clutch were retained from the ’97, while a first-gen intercooler is used due to the Ford’s tight engine bay quarters. For interior comfort, Galas’s friend, Jason Fox, installed the Vintage Air system that keeps the cab cool on hot Florida days.

P-Pump Tweaks & 5x12s

Seeing no reason to disrupt an engine he believed was just getting broken in, Galas opted to leave the 200,000-mile Cummins alone internally. However, the same couldn’t be said for the injection system. With horsepower being all too easy to add to a late 12-valve engine, the 215hp P-pump was pulled and sent to nearby Accurate Diesel Injection for a few tweaks. Among its enhancements would be a considerable bump in timing, the popular #0 fuel plate, larger delivery valves and 3,200rpm governor springs. A set of 5×12 injectors from Diesel Speed Shop brought another 100 hp into the equation without requiring Galas to ditch the factory HX35 turbo.

Optimized HX35

Thanks to the hard-to-kill nature of the Holset HX35, Galas stuck with it. However, in preparation for the added horsepower from the pump work and injectors, he had the factory charger rebuilt at Accurate Diesel Injection. While under Accurate’s care, exhaust flow was opened up via a 14cm2 turbine housing and a boost elbow was installed and adjusted to keep pressure below 40 psi. The 3-inch turbo-back exhaust system was built by a local shop, Carranco & Sons Tire and Muffler, with its tailpipe section integrated into the center, lower portion of the truck’s flatbed.

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Under the hood of Tim Galas’s Ford you’ll find an untouched ’97 model year 12-valve Cummins. Aside from a set of larger injectors—and even though he semi-disassembled the 5.9L in order to powdercoat everything a Dark Cherry hue—no internal upgrades have been made to the 200,000-mile B-Series.

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After a quick trip over to Accurate Diesel Injection in Orlando, the 215hp P-pump was fitted with 3,200rpm governor springs, a #0 fuel plate, larger delivery valves, and its timing was advanced. The modded P7100 sends fuel to a set of 5×12 (100hp) injectors from Diesel Speed Shop.

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Accurate Diesel Injection tweaked the factory Holset HX35 in the form of a larger 14cm2 exhaust housing and also added an adjustable boost elbow. Incoming air is filtered courtesy of a BHAF and the 3-inch turbo-back exhaust system was built at nearby Carranco & Sons Tire and Muffler.

Steel & Woodwork

Since he is a welder and fabricator by trade, it’s no surprise that Galas crafted the truck’s flatbed himself. Overbuilt in nearly every way, it’s constructed of 3/8-inch-wall steel and mounts to the frame via 2×2-inch, 0.25-inch-wall square tubing. Galas also worked his magic on the diamond plate front bumper, hand-crafted the rear bumper, fabricated his own tube steps and even built the toolbox. Breaking away from all the steel work, the flatbed’s wooden side panels help remind everyone that this Cummins-powered beast was born in the Baby Boomer era.

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Galas’s good friend and electronics guru Ed Barnett helped integrate the donor 48RE transmission behind the 12-valve. The four-speed slushbox is equipped with a shift kit in the valve body, a Derale Performance extra capacity transmission pan and an NV271 transfer case.

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To ensure that the 48RE stays cool, Galas turned to an auxiliary cooler he sourced from a twin-engine Cessna and combined it with an electric fan he found sitting in the corner of his shop. Thanks to the heavy-duty heat exchanger, transmission temp never crests 130 degrees—even with his 28-foot camper in tow.

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A ’97 Dodge Dana 60 resides up front, along with the factory coil spring suspension that came off of Galas’s second-gen dually donor. The differential is open and houses a 4.10 ring and pinion.

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Classis Work Truck

Two years in the making, Tim Galas’s ’52 Ford is an eye-catching piece of machinery. From the hand-built flatbed and bumpers to the tilt hood to the unique touches in the interior, it’s a one-off, blue-collar-built rig that could easily win the show n’ shine. But make no mistake—he didn’t power his first-generation Ford with a 5.9L so it could be a showpiece. Even with newer trucks at his disposal, Galas tasks the ’52 with half of his towing duties, along with driving it four days a week. “It’s not a trailer queen—I run it around town, haul my mud truck and swamp buggy with it, and also use it to tow my gooseneck camper,” he confirms. “I use it as a work truck, which explains why it’s not as pretty as it should be.”

Can you imagine how cool this thing looks toting a swamp buggy into the mud park? So can we!

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Years ago, when the ’52 body was still bolted to a ’73 F-350 frame, Galas built a hinge system and put his own tilt hood design to use. Now it serves as an easy way to access the 12-valve Cummins.

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The flatbed is solid-mounted to the frame via some pretty heavy-duty reinforcement. The primary means of attaching it is 2×2-inch, 0.25-inch-wall steel tubing, and each 2×2 is also gusseted.

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As a welder and fabricator by trade, Galas didn’t skimp on the structural integrity of the flatbed he built. Made from 3/8-inch-wall tubing, it’s not exactly light, either. In fact, its installation called for the use of a skid steer. The wooden bed sides were chosen for their era-appropriate look

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Out back, the factory Dana 80 was left in place, although a Detroit Truetrac was thrown in for good measure. Extended-length Pro Comp shocks account for the lift blocks to clear 38-inch tread and also help aid the truck’s ride quality.

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Meaty 38×12.50×16.5 Super Swampers mounted on 16.5×8-inch wheels reside up front, while two pairs of 325/85R16 Michelin XMLs do the digging in the rear. The military tires sit on 16×9-inch wheels and require 4-inch spacers to keep them from rubbing.

The flatbed’s wooden side panels help remind everyone that this Cummins-powered beast was born in the baby boomer era.

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Along with discovering a B&M automatic shifter with a T-handle on the floorboard, you’ll also find four outboard motor connecting rods serving as the door handles and window cranks in Galas’s Ford. Along the dash, Cockpit Royale series gauges from VDO allow him to keep an eye on mph, rpm, voltage, oil pressure, water temp and fuel level.

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Specifications

1952 Ford body, 1997 Dodge Ram 3500 chassis

Owner: Tim Galas
Hometown: Sebring, Florida
Engine: 5.9L Cummins 12-valve
Fuel: 215hp P7100 with 3,200rpm governor spring kit, #0 fuel plate, enlarged delivery valves, advanced timing, 100hp Diesel Speed Shop injectors with 5×12 nozzles
Air: Holset HX35 with 14cm2 turbine housing and adjustable boost elbow, BHAF
Exhaust: Custom 3-inch turbo-back with exit through the flatbed
Transmission: 48RE automatic with a shift kit, Derale Performance deep pan, B&M automatic shifter and T-handle, NV271 transfer case
Horsepower: 425-450 hp (est.)
Torque: 900 lb-ft (est.)
Tires: Interco Super Swamper TSL, 38×12.50×16.5 (front); Michelin XML, 325/85R16 (rear)
Wheels: 16.5×8-inch front, 16×9-inch rear with 4-inch spacers
Axles/Suspension/Steering: Dana 60 (front), Dana 80 w/Detroit Truetrac locker (rear), 4.10 ring and pinion, factory front and rear ’97 Dodge 3500 suspension with Pro Comp shocks (rear)