TRENDS DEFINITELY COME AND GO, especially in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of custom classic trucks. One thing is for certain: The annual SEMA show in Las Vegas will always tell you both where the market has been and where it is heading. We put together some of the trends we noticed particular to the classic Ford truck markets and compiled them here in our special SEMA coverage issue.
Over the last few years the aftermarket support for the Ford F-100s has most certainly exploded. Manufacturers are seeing the need and demand for more and more Ford truck parts, which of course we can all rejoice in, and we are excited to see where this demand leads well into the next decade and beyond!
One of our favorite parts of the SEMA trucks that we saw from this year’s show was most of the owners said they built their trucks to drive. In years past, a lot of the trucks were usually super custom and, in a way, almost “too nice” and unusable for regular driving/cruising duties. Many of the truck builds this year seemed to have a Pro-Touring muscle-truck vibe but were still useful. We sure hope that this is one of those trends that stick around so we can see more people out their driving their custom and classic builds.
Suspension & Chassis
BOLT-IN suspension systems and full chassis setups have come a long way over the last few years (see our chassis buyer’s guide on page 106). QA1 is one of the premier suspension companies leading the way in this arena, and we knew when the QA1 released its Ford product line that it was only a matter of time before it blew up (take a look at us installing the QA1 front setup on Oscar the Bump on page 100). In the past we have seen many companies coming out with Crown Vic and other frontend swap kits to help with installing a boltin assembly, but now more and more highend companies are offering complete IFS solutions. The benefit of these modern boltin kits is not only the ease of installation and updating the old outdated front ends, but also the performance and handling. They are a drastic change that can make a huge difference in your build.
Engine & Performance
WE’RE starting to see more diesel motor swaps in classic Fords. The SEMA show this year had quite a few diesel motor swaps. They were mostly in the Chevys, but we did see a few Fords out there getting some love. A lot of the trucks we saw swapped were old motor pullouts from a donor truck, but Cummins has now developed a complete crate motor called the R2.8. Cummins Repower put together a package that provides you everything you need to start your engine, with the exception of a battery, cooling package and, of course, diesel fuel to get your new Cummins running as quickly as possible. The kit comes complete with the R2.8 Turbo Diesel engine assembly, front-end accessory drive (alternator, power steering pump, fan hub, serpentine belt), cam-driven vacuum pump, remote fuel filter/water separator, remote oil filter, mass airflow sensor and housing, engine wiring harness and ECM, starter, flywheel, universal wiring harness (not including starter wiring), throttle pedal and the J1939 CAN dash display. We also came across a few companies that are making parts to work with this new Cummins crate motor. Axis Industries is making adapters to bolt up just about any transmission, along with motor mounts, cooling systems and more. We really think that in 2020 and beyond we will be seeing even more diesel motor swaps.
Keep It Cool
COMFORT in the cabin—A/C and heat. Now this might not exactly be a new trend, but we are now seeing large aftermarket companies making full bolt-in kits for our beloved F-100s and showing more and more Ford love. Vintage Air has a sure-fit kit for just about every year of F-100. We also saw Restomod Air with its TruMOD kits for these F-100s and all of the extremely badass modern tech that the Restomod crew has been putting out the last few years. And definitely let’s not forget the guys at Old Air Products making some great kits for us classic Ford lovers. Creature comforts in our classic trucks have certainly come a long way!
Round and Round
WHEELS are the one thing that keeps us rolling (well and tires of course). And although wheels are one of the easiest modifications to any truck, they can truly make or break a build. When you add the right set of rollers it changes the whole look and can be the perfect finishing touch. Now, in years past, you’d almost for sure have to go with a set of expensive billet or custom-made wheels to really set your build apart, but take a closer look at these examples and you might not have even noticed—that’s right, they are cast wheels! For years us Ford guys struggled with all of the nice wheels out that are usually the wrong bolt pattern. On F-100s, 5×5½ is mostly used and the aftermarket mostly made 5×5 Chevy bolt patterns in the more popular and nice cast wheel options. But we are now seeing a lot of companies coming out with some great looking cast wheels that can bolt right up, including US Mags, American Racing, Rocket Wheels and more. Definitely excited to see more and more wheel options that won’t break the bank.