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1952 Ford F-1 Crew Cab Custom

Two Cabs and Eight Doors Were Used to Create This One-of-a-Kind F-1

When you’ve built your own Model A at age 13 and own a trucking company as an adult, you have the credentials to create something genuinely unique.

Bob Bradley from Bozeman, Montana, has been involved with cool vehicles his whole life, and this chopped and suicided crew cab is his latest. Although he’s had eight custom cars in the past, this is his first custom truck. Smiling, he explained, “I always wanted a crew cab, so I thought to myself, why would I spend $50,000 on a new crew cab when I can build one for just three times more.”

THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER WAS SNAGGED FROM A LINCOLN TOWN CAR TO MATCH THE ENGINE.

Even with his humorous approach to the project, the idea didn’t turn into reality until he met a young fellow named Kyle Fehrer, a body man from Snubnose Hot Rods. Bob hired him to assist with the project, explaining his idea of converting his ’52 Ford F-1 into a crew cab. With a few details sketched out and a second F-1 donor truck purchased, the pair took the first step, stripping both trucks so that they could weld portions of the frames together to achieve the desired length.

The Mustang II independent front suspension uses components and airbags from Scott’s Hotrods. In the rear, a shop-built trailing arm suspension uses ’bags adapted from a Freightliner truck. The VIAIR compressor and the homemade 5-gallon reserve tank are located under the bed. Rocket Fuel chrome wheels transform the chassis into a roller, using 15x7s in the front and 15x8s in the rear with Cooper rubber. Supplying another collection of parts, a ’95 Lincoln Town Car became the next donor vehicle involved, a creative addition that gave up its 4.6L SOHC V-8, stock except for a cold air kit and dual exhausts. Its AODE transmission was fitted with a longer two-piece driveshaft. The Lincoln disc brake rear axle, along with the power brake booster and master cylinder, ensured modern stopping capability. After fabricating the rear-mounted gas tank, Bob repurposed the Lincoln fuel pump and gauge. Finally, the Town Car wiring harness was called into play to make everything work.

SEATING WAS SALVAGED FROM A 2002 FORD EXPLORER AND DEFINITELY UPDATES THE INTERIOR.

Once the chassis and power train were established, the body was next, and the first step was cutting the original cab behind the door. After the second cab was cut at the A-pillar, the two halves were carefully welded together to create the crew cab body using a roof skin from a Jeep wagon to fill the gaps.

Although not part of the original plan, Kyle talked Bob into chopping the top and installing hidden hinges. It was a major undertaking, with the radiused corners on the doors eventually requiring a total of eight donors before they got four to fit. The front doors open in the traditional manner, while the rears are suicided.

POWERING THIS LONG BEAST IS A 4.6L SOHC V-8 FROM A LINCOLN TOWN CAR.

Retaining the original 1952 hood, bed and all four fenders, Bob added personal touches that began with extra teeth in the grille, tri-bar headlights, chrome spears on the sides of the hood and a tucked bumper. The one-piece running boards were fabricated locally, and the three step plates subtly reinforce the truck’s extended length. In the rear, the bumper features a hidden trailer hitch, there’s a functional diamond-plate toolbox in the bed, the smooth tailgate is from MAR-K, and the taillights are Cadillac lenses with LEDs. Bob noted, “I painted the bed to match because the weather back home in Montana is tough on traditional wood surfaces.” A touch-latch gas cap in the rear fender provides access to the tank.

THIS IS AN INTERESTING SIGHT BECAUSE FORD NEVER MADE A CREW CAB TRUCK IN THIS ERA, LET ALONE ONE WITH SUICIDE REAR DOORS. IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THE ENGINEERING BEHIND THIS, THE TOP WAS ALSO CHOPPED 3 INCHES.

Once the sheet metal was primed and ready, the interior was next, thanks to the final donor vehicle involved. Sourced from a 2002 Ford Explorer, the cab boasts custom buckets up front and three seats in the rear that fold down. The center console uses a portion of the Explorer in the rear, while the forward portion is entirely handcrafted. It holds the Custom Auto Sound stereo, power window switches and the controls for the air suspension. Upholstered-to-match door panels hide the speakers. The Lincoln digital instrument cluster, steering column and wheel modernized the interior, and Capitol Custom Upholstery in Helena, Montana, wrapped everything in a combination of tan and brown leather. Fuzzy dice on the mirror add a touch of ’50s nostalgia.

Using a homemade paint booth, the pair sprayed the truck a combination of Corvette Bright Yellow and PPG Bright White, separated by double blue pinstriped lines. From start to finish the part-time construction effort took about 10 years, but once it was complete, Bob and his wife Fran enjoyed a 2,200-mile trouble-free shakedown cruise from Bozeman to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where we photographed the trophy-winning ride at the F-100 Supernationals. We’re sure the crew cab shop truck turned heads all the way. Special thanks to Kyle Fehrer, Mitch Akins and Brett McGinley for their help in creating this one-of-a-kind ride. 

TRUCK SPECS

OWNERS

Bob and Fran Bradley   
1952 Ford F-1 Crew Cab
Bozeman, MT  

ENGINE

  • Lincoln Town Car 4.6L SOHC V-8
  • Cold air kit
  • Simulated six-pot custom air cleaner
  • Dual side-exiting exhausts
  • Lincoln Town Car AODE transmission with a two-piece driveshaft

 CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Two Ford F-1 frames, boxed and welded together
  • Mustang II independent front suspension using components and airbags from Scott’s Hotrods
  • Shop-built trailing arm suspension in the rear using Freightliner airbags adapted to fit
  • VIAIR compressor and 5-gallon reserve tank with 3/8-inch lines

WHEELS & TIRES

  • 15×7 and 15×8 Rocket Fuel chrome wheels
  • 205/60R15 and 235/70R15 Cooper

BODY & PAINT

  • Two F-1 cabs weld together to create a crew cab
  • 3-inch top chop with rear window lowered 3 inches
  • Jeep sheet-metal roof skin
  • All four doors radiused, door handles shaved and drip rails added
  • Additional teeth in the grille
  • Chrome side spears on the hood
  • Tucked and smoothed front bumper
  • Hidden trailer hitch in the rear bumper
  • Stock fenders with extended running boards and side-exiting exhausts
  • Cadillac taillights with LEDs
  • Diamond-plate tool box in the bed
  • Touch-latch gas filler cap for the rear-mounted tank
  • MAR-K smooth tailgate with “Shop Truck” logo
  • Corvette Bright Yellow and PPG Bright White with double blue pinstriped lines
  • Paint by Bob Bradley and Kyle Fehrer

INTERIOR & STEREO

  • Shop: Capitol Custom Upholstery, Helena, MT
  • 2002 Ford Explorer bucket seats
  • 2002 Ford Explorer individual fold-down rear seats
  • Modified Explorer center console holding the Custom Auto Sound stereo and the controls for the air suspension and power windows
  • Custom door panels incorporate stereo speakers
  • Lincoln Town Car digital instruments, steering column and steering wheel
  • Tan and brown leather seats, door panels and headliner, gray carpet

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