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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.