Something Different and HUGE
Take a look at this gigantic 1956 F-600 Crew Cab, sitting idle on a custom chassis and widened by 6 inches. What is the first thing that comes to mind? Mel Gibson speeding through the Australian desert? Rat Fink’s hand reaching for a suicide shifter? Well, it’s probably not a Baby Blue F-100 from the same year. Yet that’s what Derrick and Riley Hodson see behind this custom behemoth. The father-son duo took on this monstrous crew cab project as a means to pay homage to Ray Hodson, their father and grandfather, respectively. The Baby Blue ’56 F-100 was a family figure of Derrick’s childhood. Its memories were carried into this project and infused with the new ones the family made. It’s arguably the most meaningful aspect of hot rodding—the passing on of traditions and memories. Certainly, it’s not unique to this build. But that is just about the only part that isn’t unique.
It may be hard to think of a simple factory blue F-100 when looking at this monstrosity. But it’s also hard to imagine a better build for making memories.
Not much fits underneath an F-600, especially one slammed on the pavement. The Hodson duo searched for a suitable candidate to place on the chopping block. They selected a 1985 Dodge motorhome. Yes, you read that correctly. This behemoth was built on an RV chassis. Once a timid home on wheels, it’s now a holy house of hot-rodding. Derrick and Riley joined forces with Airth Defined Hotrods in fabulous Las Vegas. The suspension was completely redesigned and built from scratch. The truck now floats on all-around Firestone airbags. Additionally, the frame was customized for the Ford powertrain and body mounts.
With the suspension sitting in place, the Hodsons addressed tires and wheels. For this build, it was function over form. The functional emphasis, however, fits the form fantastically. A set of eight-lug steel wheels are wrapped in Coker Tires. The black steelies measure 17.5 inches in diameter. The smaller wheel choice on such a massive truck allows for a lot of sidewall. The no-nonsense setup gives off some serious Mad Max vibes. The crew cab makes use of disc brakes all around. This much weight requires serious stopping power—stopping power that a Wilwood master cylinder and hydro-booster help to provide.
Now for going-power, Derrick and Riley kept in the Ford family. Mounted on the motorhome chassis is a Ford 460 big-block V-8. The 1983 unit was built in the heyday of its popularity. The 7.5-liter V-8 was widely applied to Ford’s consumer line of cars and trucks, commercial vehicles, boats and motorhomes. The 460 and 429 make up the Ford “385” series, named for the 3.85-inch crankshaft stroke. This particular 460 was rebuilt to factory spec and topped with an Edelbrock four-barrel carb. Myron Tolf in Aurora, Colorado, carried out the engine build. The 7.5L breathes through a custom 3-inch exhaust that dumps through the front fenders. It’s hooked to a Ford E4OD transmission from 1994. Trans Plus II in Las Vegas outfitted the unit with a Bauman electronic controller and Lokar shifter. The rear-end uses a 4.10 gear ratio.
For this crew cab’s exterior, it’s a combination of good ol’ fashioned rust and some trick bodywork. The massive stock front fenders of the F-600 remain in place. Together with the cab visor, they make for a heavy presence. The rear fenders were widened by 3 inches each. The wider rear stance keeps the slammed body lines looking parallel. The rear of the cab boasts some serious custom work. George Barris adapted the big rear window. He also fabricated the custom hood louvers. Surface rust covers just about every inch of the F-600, and in some places like the lower door sections, there is real rust. The proportions of the crew cab and stepside sit beautifully on the RV chassis. The preservation of factory features, along with the custom cuts, works perfectly together.
The interior boasts a few more updated and modern amenities. Both the front and rear bench seats are clad in beige leather. The mild tone contrasts with the warm rust throughout. Myron Tolf, the engine builder, also took care of the upholstery. The dash is left untouched but makes use of Autometer gauges. The Accuair controller is routed through the dash for easy access on the road. Still on the docket are custom gauges, a full audio setup and a fresh A/C system.
It may be hard to think of a simple factory blue F-100 when looking at this monstrosity. But it’s also hard to imagine a better build for making memories. Sitting in a fresh interior, cruising on air, the sight of a tailgate in the rearview mirror—it’s such a special experience that so many share. Each one is built on a pile of memories, the ones passed down to them, the ones they forged themselves, and the ones they will pass along. Derrick and Riley took on this unique project, knowing what they were getting themselves into. There were plenty of roadblocks and plenty of problems they had to fix, but they began with a bigger picture in mind. A way to honor their family’s past. They gained so much along the way. A new appreciation for the work a Crew Cab build really takes. A project to share, with plenty of work to go around. And a goal that continues to develop along with the memories.
Derrick and Riley Hodson
1956 F-600 Crew Cab
Chassis & Suspension
- 1985 Dodge motorhome chassis
- Custom airbag setup, front and rear
- Custom body and powertrain mounts
- Firestone airbags
- Accuair E-Level and ENDO systems
Wheels & Brakes
- Black 17×5-inch eight-lug steel wheels
- Coker tires
- Front and rear disc brakes
- Wilwood hydro-booster and master cylinder
- 1983 Ford 460 big block
- Edelbrock four-barrel carb
- Custom 3-inch exhaust
- 1994 Ford E4OD transmission
- Bauman electronic transmission controller
- Lokar shifter
- 4.10 gears
Body & Paint
- Natural patina
- Custom louvered hood
- Custom big rear window adaptation
- Rear stepside fenders widened 3 inches each
- Beige leather upholstery
- Autometer gauges
- Custom mounted Accuair controller