CLEAN SHEET - Diesel World

A One-of-a-Kind Classic Ford with Cummins Power

“Originally the Ford came from Texas to Michigan for a transmission swap,” jokes truck builder Gerry Hilder. “It got the nickname ‘The Texas Snowball’ for what happened next.” You see, when the classic pickup made the trip North, the build team noticed a little rust. Then, they ran across a good deal on a P-pump to replace the VE pump that was on the truck. As they say, one thing led to another, and before owner Jason Boatwright and good buddy Gerry knew it, the body was off, and the frame was getting sand blasted.

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The red, black, and chrome 5.9L Cummins engine that powers Jason Boatwright’s ‘76 Ford sits low in the Ford’s cavernous engine bay, making this body style a good swap candidate. The engine makes approximately 650 hp and 1,350 lb-ft to the wheels, thanks to a host of performance upgrades.

Starting new from the ground-up meant that Gerry and Jason could add the numerous custom touches that grace virtually every part of the Ford. Starting with the actual transmission swap, the early non-lockup Dodge transmission was replaced with a fully-built 47RH Dodge four-speed from BHP Diesel. There’s not much factory left in the transmission, as the torque converter was replaced with a triple-disc from Goerend Transmission, all three shafts were upgraded, and the flexplate was changed to a stronger aftermarket unit. BHP also built the valvebody for the transmission, which shifts seamlessly as the Cummins engine comes up on power.

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A 12mm P7100 P-Pump from Farrell Diesel Services supplies the fuel to the engine, which is injected through 5 by 0.018-inch dual-feed injectors from Infinite Diesel.

Speaking of powerplants, that went under the knife too. The engine is still a 5.9L 12-valve, but it was rebuilt by Gerry, with an o-ringed head, 60-pound valvesprings, and ARP head and 14mm main studs. Gerry also took the time to install a few choice trick modifications that would keep the engine reliable while towing, like billet freeze plugs, and a coolant bypass kit. Jason meant to have the truck available as a tow rig in addition to hot street duty, so a lot of the parts selection centered around the old Ford’s usage.

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Twin Optima Red Top batteries are mounted in a custom tray and supply the cranking power to the Cummins engine.

The Ford went under the knife as a 300-hp cruiser, but when all was said and done it would leave the shop with more than twice that amount of steam, thanks to a comprehensive plan to make power. After Gerry fortified the engine itself, it was time to add the performance goodies. He selected a compound turbo kit from Stainless Diesel thanks to its versatility, and the fact that it would make more than 70 psi of boost! The 63mm and 76mm turbochargers blow through an intercooler salvaged from a medium-duty truck, and exhaust gases through a custom-built 5-inch downpipe. The fueling was also upgraded, with a 12mm P7100 injection pump from Farrell Diesel Service, along with 5×0.018-inch injectors from Infinite Diesel Performance. The injection system is supported by a FASS lift pump, which flows 165 gph.

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A FASS 165-gph lift pump was installed to keep the engine happy, and draws fuel from a custom tank.

Making some serious horsepower was part of the piece of the puzzle for sure, but it wasn’t the whole of it. Jason wanted an absolute show stopper of a truck, which meant that while the powertrain was being built, the rest of the truck was getting totally revamped in the paint and body department. When it came to restoring the truck, the lion’s share of the work was performed by Jim D’s Body Shop in Dowagiac, Michigan. The revival started with the replacement of the rusty parts using OEM sheetmetal. Once the body was arrow straight, a paint scheme was developed using a beautiful two-toned pinstriped setup. Colors include red, black, charcoal grey and ford silver, and a whopping six layers of clearcoat.

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The ‘76 Ford’s stock suspension didn’t look like this! A Dana 60 front end was hung with a custom front 4-link with ADS remote reservoir coil-over shocks.

We’re fans of virtually every component on Jason’s classic Fummins, but what really sets it apart is the interior built by Bill Mcfadden of Sweet Street Custom Interiors. Inside, the Ford is a mix of classic lines, street rod style, and new vehicle comforts. What makes it even more impressive is that it’s all seamlessly integrated to where everything just blends in together. The new starts with 10-way power adjustable seats from a ‘13 Ford Raptor, and continues with a full compliment of gauges from Dakota Digital (but within the factory dash). There’s also a Nostalgic A/C aftermarket heat and a/c, Pioneer touch-screen gps, ‘08 Super duty center console, and Kenwood amp and sub. The door panels are even custom, and everything is slathered in dark black leather with red stitching.

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The transmission is a 47RH built by BHP Diesel. It has a Goerend Transmissions flexplate and converter, billet input, intermediate and output shafts, Alto Red Eagle clutches, valvebody by BHP, a Mag-Hytec transmission pan, and is connected to a 241DLD transfer case.

Without hyperbole, we can honestly say that Jason’s ‘76 Fummins is one of the cleanest we’ve ever seen. The fact that the engine is stout and it actually makes some power is just icing on the cake. It’s not just a showpiece of course, Jason plans on driving (and even towing) with the truck all over creation now that it’s finished. If you see him on the highway somewhere, make sure you give a “thumbs up” to this awesome one-of-a-kind Ford.

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Out back, the big Dana 80 rear end has a 1-pc aluminum driveshaft, and a 4-inch soft ride Skyjacker leaf spring, Bilstein 5100 shocks, and Gerry Hilder-built traction bars. There’s Mag-Hytec differential covers on both the front and rear, which house 4.10 gears.

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The inside of the Ford is truly a sight to behold, and is just as trick as the exterior of the truck.

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The gauges from Dakota Digital are beyond cool, and look right at home in the classic lines of the ‘76 dash.

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Custom leather seats from a Ford Raptor provide the front passengers a ride, and were stitched with the truck’s Brand, a unique Texas/Michigan logo.

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No, it’s not a new Super Duty, but a console from an ‘08 Ford was cleverly integrated into the truck to give the occupants some storage space and cup holders.

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When the sun hits everything just right, you can see the awesome blending of the grey on grey paint. Painted by Jim D’s Body Shop in Dowagiac, MI, it uses charcoal grey, ford silver, and has a bottom of red and black pinstripes. There’s also a whopping six coats of clear and black accents.

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The wheel and tire combination on the ‘76 fills out the fenders, but doesn’t go overboard. It starts with 37×13.50R20 Nitto Ridge Grapplers that are mounted on 20×10-inch Grid Offroad wheels.