1960 Ford F-100 Truck Restoration





Introduction: 1960 Ford F-100 Truck Restoration

I just recently completed the full restoration of my 1960 f-100 truck. It took me just over three years to complete ( partially because I'm still attending high school, so time and funds are tight) and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I learned a lot as I went, and did all of the mechanical work on the truck myself. To anyone that is considering a big project like this one, I will say that I got into a lot more than I ever expected. The truck blew through the initial budget in no time, and multiple setbacks extended the timeline by months at a time, but I would gladly do it all again.

Step 1: Find a Vechile

I knew that I wanted a truck, and I knew that I wanted it to be old, but that was all that I had to go on when I went searching for my first vehicle. I looked at a few trucks on the side of the road and a few others online, but the best leads were by word of mouth. As far as 60s-70s trucks go, Chevy parts are cheaper and more readily available, but I found a deal on a good looking ford that I couldn't pass up. When buying something that I plan to work on, I try to avoid half finished projects. When someone else has disassembled or started to work on your vehicle, you can't be sure of what you're taking on or the quality of the work that was done. Surface rust was fine, but I wanted to stay away from serious rusting in the floor pan, frame, etc. The truck that I settled on was driven from 1960-1992, It was then parked in a field and sat for over 20 years. I purchased it for $800, and began my restoration.

Step 2: Assess Your Vehicle

When I got my truck into my garage, instead of rushing into disassembly, I tried to see what I was working with. The truck was rough and overall beaten up, but it had not been touched, and was complete. After looking at the essentials, I didn't see a reason why it shouldn't be able to to run. Here is a short list of what I did to get it ready to run for the first time in over 20 years.
- rebuilt the carburetor
- oil change and filter
- new spark plugs/ ignition coil/ points/ distributor cap
-fill radiator fluid

To get it to start I had to pour gas directly into the top of the carburetor (something I strongly advise against due to safety concerns). I also had to wire up a starter switch to use until I could re-wire the whole truck. I got the truck to run for a few moments at a time, which was enough to do some assessments. I realized that there was a serious issue with the engine when I started finding coolant in the engine oil (an indicator that there is a crack in the engine in the water jacket that surrounds the cylinder, usually caused by freezing water.) The brakes and clutch were inoperable, the wiring harness had been mostly chewed through, and the transmission had broken gears. The initial diagnosis revealed major problems, but got me well on my way.

Step 3: Sand Blasting

To start with a blank slate and keep the truck from rusting further, I had the truck sand blasted and acid washed. I prepped for this by removing the drive train from the engine through the drive shaft, and covering or removing any other parts that I didn't want harmed by the sand and acid. Because I didn't have the money to have the truck painted right away, I had it primed to keep it from re-rusting.

Step 4: Power Train Brakes and Suspension

While the truck was being sand blasted, I began to work on rebuilding the engine and transmission. I bought an engine block from another truck, and bought a rebuild kit for the 223 inline 6 engine. I decided to go with the inline 6 motor to keep the truck as original as possible. I disassembled the motor that I purchased and took it to the machine shop to be bored and cleaned. Because of the extreme wear on the cylinder walls, the engine had to be bored .0060 of an inch larger than the original. To compensate, I installed larger pistons. With the right parts and tools, reassembly of the engine went relatively smoothly. I put a new glass bowl 1904 Holley carburetor on it, because the one that I rebuilt had small interior cracks that prevented proper fuel flow. The transmission is a "three on the tree" three speed manual transmission. I was able to clean and rebuild it in a few days. When I bought the truck, all four leaf springs were in tact, but the shocks were shot. I put factory air shocks in the rear and hydraulic/ spring shocks in the front. The brakes on the truck are hydraulic drum brakes on all four wheels. The brake lines were all rusted through, cracked wheel cylinders, worn drums and shoes, I had to replace all parts of the brake system. The most time consuming part of that being bleeding the system of air. There are a lot of smaller jobs that were involved as well: installing a new gas tank, making new motor mounts, new radiator, etc.

Step 5: Bodywork and Paint

Painting and bodywork are arts that I have not yet mastered, nor do I trust myself to get the quality results that I want to see on my restoration. I removed the protective primer by sanding it back off by hand, and then separated the body of the truck from the frame to allow the paint and bodywork to be done. The frame was powder coated, and the body spent the next three months being smoothed out and painted.

Step 6: Reassembly

Once the painting was done, I reassembled the truck: installed the engine, transmission, drive shaft, a complete wiring harness from front to back, including a new gauge cluster, a new flowmaster exhaust system, lights, glass, new wheels and tires. I had the seat re-upholstered professionally in two tone leather, along with the carpet and headliner. I finished up with new chrome, hood emblems, interior touches, etc.

Step 7: Wood Bed

I decided after driving around for a few weeks that I wanted to ad something to the truck to give it that extra 60's truck feel, so I installed a wooden bed on a budget. Instead of buying the kits with the stained oak boards, I went to the hardware store and bought deck boards and 2x4's. The wood is not physically attached to the bed of the truck, it just rest inside, but it doesn't move because it is snug against the fenders and the walls of the bed.



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    23 Discussions

    Im just beginning to get my 60 F100 back on the road,however it looks similar to yours when you first got it.

    In 1959 I was 9 or 10 and I went to the ford dealership in northern california with my father and we picked this one out brand new. In 1961 my father took us with a shell camper and a little 1950s crown camp trailer to WDC,NY etc. We took 2 month vacatios every year all over the states except michigan and florida.areas.

    it was used on the farm by about 1964 for a while then when I turned 18 or so I took it as my 2nd car to head to the mtms ,desert etc. I havent driven it since 1970 or so and it has deteriorated some.

    me and a few guys took it to the arctic Circle( above Fairbanks) in 1967 after I graduated HS then drove down into mexico City and around.

    Someone did steal my radiator and the bracket for it,so thats all its missing.Ill have to find an original one to replace it.That is where I will begin. I would like to locate a 4x4 to put under it,but that may be a tough one. Dunno if any other years will fit or how easy. Its a 3 on the column and 6 cyl with about 60k original on chassis/engine.

    Ill try and get some pics and post.

    I have done trainload of resto's and customs and, wow...seriously nice work, beautiful job! I wonder how many of the 118,000+ stylesides that were built for 1960 are left, let alone restored like this? That old J code 223 sure has some loooong rods and pistons. I have an old 1968 F250 4x4 Mercury pickup (Canada only) that I someday want to restore...but it's in even worse shape than your '60..a lotta holes, buckles & dents...

    What a gorgeous truck. Congrats on a wonderful restoration. I can't believe you're young enough to be in high school and was able to finish this truck to such a fine level of detail! I'm looking for a truck for my son's first project. he's 14 so I've got some time!

    Well done!

    And $25K is not bad, considering a fair amount of the body work you had to farm out. Any engine rebuild will have machine shop costs. And kudos on doing the transmission work yourself.

    We had a 1959 F-100 when I was growing up. Learned to drive on it. Good memories - thanks!

    You must really be proud of this truck! It looks fabulous. Well done! I am a Chevy truck guy, but I still have to give you credit for a beautiful restoration. Enjoy that truck, Dude!!


    2 years ago

    I did consider doing the drum to disc conversion because there are kits that allow you to essentially cut off the front end of the frame and bolt in a new one that is equipped with disc brakes, coil springs, and set up for power steering. I decided against it only because of the cost involved (about $2000) , but it is definitely and upgrade that I plan on investing in in the future.

    I suggest that you consider fitting a "tonneau" cover for the load bin. This will keep most of the rain/dirt out, and still be original. Pity you didn't fit disc brakes while you were doing the brakes.

    Congratulations to the re-builder. I have just completed a 1966 Jaguar S Type, but it took me a lot longer than this. Looks well done too. Rob.


    2 years ago

    this is exactly what I want to do for my first (driving) vehicle. I have my model t and love it, but this is what I want for my second project. gorgeous truck and great restoration.

    Great work! I would have been tempted to keep the patina and just build up everything underneath. Rat rods are not for everyone though, the work it takes to do this kind of transformation is to be respected.


    2 years ago

    Start to finish it cost me about 25k. That was larger than my original estimates, but it is still much cheaper than this kind of project would usually cost if someone else did the work.

    1 reply

    Just a note, any kind of "floating" bed liner could promote rust underneath because of the myriad of ways water can get under. We made that mistake with a new '92 Dodge, installed a plastic liner to protect the bed and it's well rusted now.
    Gotta love classic trucks. We have a '50 GMC 3/4 ton that's pretty much original, I can almost fix any thing on it with a screwdriver and a wrench - and I'm a woman!

    Awesome! Do you know about how much the entire project cost?


    2 years ago

    Thank you! And yes, The bed is not complete in that picture.

    wow,great job , got my vote ,,, the one thing that i see is the wooden box bed is still incomplete right , if not ,it needs to be weather proofed ,those cracks I see cant be or rust will occur underneath it