Two Family Favorites Inspired this Latest Addition!
Lots of folks can claim an early start to their automotive enthusiast hobby, but few folks can top Mike Jacox. Thanks to a family absolutely in love with cars, he smiles when he says he attended his first show while he was in his mother’s womb! Sometime later, the situation progressed, and he enjoyed riding in the car seat in dad’s chopped F-100. Now, fully grown, Mike makes his way to shows on his own! A welder and fabricator from Jupiter, Florida, he credits his lifelong automotive enthusiasm to his family, thanks to dad who was a body man and painter along with an uncle who was a mechanic. Between them, they could do anything automotive, and they passed their skills on to young Mike who was always eager to learn. At the ripe old age of 13, Mike became the proud owner of his first car, a ’59 Anglia that he still has. There has been a succession of cool rides ever since with such diverse choices as a chopped 1949 Hudson, 1955 F-100, 1965 Econoline, 1957 Ford Wagon, 1927 Model T and a 1923 T-Bucket. Probably the most special, however, is his current 1956 Big Back Window F-100. Embodying a sense of nostalgia, the truck combines elements from his father’s ’55 and his uncle’s flame-painted ’56, making a dynamite combination when all of the family’s Blue Ovals are parked in the driveway.
When he first found the truck, Mike’s plan was simple. He was going to leave it alone and just drive it. Of course, being a true enthusiast, that plan lasted about a month. The truck was soon lowered and rolling on new mags with black wall tires. Once the truck was somewhat more presentable, Mike drove it to Louisville for one of his favorite shows, the 50th NSRA Nationals, discovering an interesting issue on the way. The old V-8 used four quarts of oil on the way up and five on the way back. That experience marked the official end to “I’m going to leave it alone and just drive it!”
Embodying a sense of nostalgia, the truck combines elements from his father’s ’55 and his uncle’s flame-painted ’56, making a dynamite combination when all of the family’s Blue Ovals are parked in the driveway.
Changes can happen quickly in the new millennium thanks to limitless internet options. When it was time to spread some high-performance love, the replacement 355 ci motor from Blue Print Engines in Kearney, Nebraska, got the job done in a hurry. Free breathing for the crate V-8 was established with their custom heads and an Edelbrock 600 CFM carb protected by a chrome K&N filter. Pertronics electronic ignition and coil light the fuel/air mix while stainless steel 2.25-inch headers dump into a pair of 40-Series Flowmasters. Rowing through traffic on the shifter is fun for some, but Mike felt a 4-speed 700R4 automatic was a better choice, smoothly directing approximately 400 hp to the 3.70 rear end. Colorful highlights include a copper and brass radiator with a stainless fan, finned aluminum valve covers with Moon breathers and a bright blast of Chevrolet orange on the block.
Before installing the new power train, Mike took the opportunity to work on the engine room, smoothing the firewall and inner fenders, then re-routing wires out of sight. Wanting to incorporate a bit of ’70s nostalgia, he used photos from an F-100 magazine feature back in 1976 as inspiration for the fine line striping on the firewall.
“I always liked the way it looked, and nobody is doing stuff like that anymore,” he says. “I wanted the truck to have that hot rod look from the ’70s.”
Further defining the truck’s image, Mike realized that some subtle suspension upgrades were also in order. When he first purchased the truck, it already had a Chevelle front clip, power steering and disc brakes. The addition of Posies 3-inch drop springs in the rear created a level stance while Monroe shocks on all four corners kept the vintage ride flat in the turns. The truck rolls on US MAGS rims, 15×6 up front and 15×8 in the rear, all wrapped in 65- and 70-Series BF Goodrich rubber. Almost ready for show, the interior was next.
When Mike bought the truck, the mid-’60s Lincoln bench seat sported a combination of blue velour and black vinyl, a period-correct match for his nostalgia theme. And, just like in the ’50s, air conditioning happens with the windows down and the cowl vent open! Personal touches began with a Grant 3-spoke wheel on a Southern Rods tilt column. He augmented the factory gauge package with additional oil pressure and water temp gauges along with a vintage Sun Super Tach off to the side, just like the one in dad’s old truck. Of course, no nostalgic ride is complete without a set of Keep on Truckin’ floor mats and a tiny Rat Fink hanging from the mirror! With one concession to modern technology, Mike’s iPhone and Bluetooth speaker replaces the old AM radio, keeping the dash clean and filling the cab with golden oldies.
Moving outside, Mike was careful to retain the iconic lines of the F-100 with just a few enhancements. Emblems were removed from the hood and blue dots added to traditional Ford taillights. The louvered license plate holder in the rear and the Keep on Truckin’ front plate borrowed from his uncle’s truck reinforced the family connection. Traditional wood planks with stainless steel strips were a natural choice for the bed. Probably the most attention-getting feature on the truck is the unique flame paint job, inspired by a similar pattern on his uncle’s truck. Mike carefully laid out the flames so that they followed the rounded contours of the F-100 hood and fenders. Using multiple shades of PPG and House of Kolor paint, the orange-hued flames were carefully outlined in white, contrasting with the deep blue on the rest of the body.
Although the truck is delightfully complete, it will probably remain a work in progress for life, with upgrades and custom touches suggesting themselves on a regular basis. (You don’t have a choice when it’s in the genes!)
1956 Ford F-100
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
- 355 Chevrolet V-8
- Edelbrock 600 CFM carb
- Pertronics electronic ignition
- Custom headers
- 40-Series Flowmasters
- 700R4 4-speed automatic
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
- Chevelle front clip
- Disc brakes
- Power steering
- Posies 3-inch drop springs
- 70 rear end
- Drum brakes
- Monroe shocks
WHEELS & TIRES
- US Mags 15×6, 215/65/15 BFGoodrich
- US Mags 15×8, 255/70/15 BFGoodrich
EXTERIOR & PAINT
- Hood shaved
- Blue dot taillights
- Louvered license plate holder
- Traditional wood bed with stainless steel strips
- Flame paint over factory blue using PPG and House of Kolor shades pinstriped in white
- Lincoln bench in blue velour and black vinyl
- Grant 3-spoke wheel
- Southern Rods tilt column.
- Sun Tach
- iPhone and Bluetooth stereo
MISCELLANEOUS CUSTOM TRICKS
- Keep on Truckin’ floor mats and license plate
- Rat Fink ’50s Mascot