HAND-ME-UP | A Family-Built F-100

A Family-Built F-100

The Milinich family is no stranger to having its work featured in Street Trucks. From paint jobs to complete builds, Lewis Milinich and his son Lee have impressed custom truck owners from all over the world by work done in their Hanford, California-based shop for many years. This ’56 Ford F-100 is the latest in a long line of custom trucks for the Miinich clan. When asked how he came across the old Effie, Lewis told us, “Our family friend, Steve Jacinto, gave the truck to my son, Lee, about 10 years ago, and it just sat. Last year, I asked Lee if I could build it, and he said, ‘go for it’ since he knew I had always wanted it.”

LEWIS MADE THE 460 SWAP LOOK EASY, BUT WE’RE GUESSING IT WAS ANYTHING BUT. HE HANDFABRICATED A NEW FIREWALL TO GIVE THE ENGINE A BIT MORE ROOM, AND ONE OF THE BENEFITS OF USING FORD POWER WAS THAT HE WAS ABLE TO KEEP THE DISTRIBUTOR RIGHT UP FRONT.

With this project, however, Lewis decided to step away from glossy paint in favor of a less flashy look. The fact that Lewis owns a body shop doesn’t mean that he can’t appreciate a ride with patina. In fact, he loves patina so much that he decided to leave the faded and worn original paint mostly alone. And aside from the flat clear applied to the cab and bed, the only paint that isn’t original is that which had to be matched and blended when Lewis spliced in a big rear window section on the original small-window cab. The conversion is seamless and quite impressive when you consider how difficult it is to match weathered paint.

With a clear vision of what he wanted the rest of the truck to look like, Lewis enlisted the help of his sons and friends/employees to get the truck on the road in a relatively short amount of time. Luckily, he was able to source everything he needed locally, and whatever he didn’t buy was made in-house by Lewis’ talented team. This included things like the stepped rear frame rails and 4-link, which lets the rearend sink up into the raised bed when the airbags are deflated with the AccuAir manifold. The front solid beam was trashed in order to install a Fatman Fab Mustang II setup with a raised cross member and tubular arms, and once again, airbags were installed to adjust the ride height. To better center the 20-inch Detroit Steel wheels, the whole front suspension was also moved forward 2 inches from the factory location.

You may or may not be happy to know that the F-100 is not powered by a small-block Chevy, but instead retains Blue Oval power in the form of a mildly built 385 series big-block, a 460-ci engine, as a matter of fact. As you can see, the proverbial shoehorn was needed to stuff that thing in there, but we’d say it was the perfect choice.

F-100 CABS HAVE NEVER REALLY BEEN COMPLICATED, SO IT DIDN’T TAKE MUCH TO GET THINGS IN SHAPE. A MODIFIED CHEVY GMT400 BENCH SEAT WITH FRESH VINYL BY JOE’S UPHOLSTERY REALLY GRABS YOUR ATTENTION AND LOOKS RIGHT AT HOME.

THE OL’ F-100 WASN’T GOING TO LAY ITSELF OUT, SO A MUSTANG II FRONT CLIP WAS WELDED IN, MAKING THINGS MUCH EASIER AND GIVING THE TRUCK MODERN RACK-AND-PINION STEERING IN THE PROCESS.

Other touches that look right at home include a set of 1930 Ford taillights, as well as the awesome lettering and pinstriping by Zeke Jaggers of Zeke’s Custom Pinstriping. Nothing else was really needed, in fact, so except for the previously mentioned big window conversion and some fresh bright work, the body was left pretty much alone.

THE 62-YEAR-OLD PAINT ALREADY LOOKED AWESOME ON ITS OWN, BUT LEWIS WANTED TO ADD SOME MORE HOT ROD FLAIR TO IT. HE HAD ZEKE JAGGERS COME IN TO DO HIS THING, WHICH INCLUDED PINSTRIPING THE HOOD AND TAILGATE, AS WELL AS THE SWEET SHOP LETTERING ON THE DOORS.

“Now finished, thanks to an amazing team effort, Lewis’ F-100 gets driven—a lot—and can be seen parked outside his body shop when he’s not cruising it around the streets of Hanford.”

While Lewis wanted the truck to remain weathered outside, the interior had to be all about comfort and function. Joe’s Upholstery in Porterville, California, really took care of things with a modified 1989 Chevy pickup bench, which was covered with tan vinyl in a diamond pattern. A dropped, chrome-plated steering column and billet wheel give Lewis a lot more room than the stock setup, and a Lokar shifter keeps gear changes comfortably within reach. With the sound of the big-block purring through the 3-inch chambered Flowmaster mufflers, Lewis decided that the truck had all of the sounds it needed, so he opted out of installing a stereo.

Now finished, thanks to an amazing team effort, Lewis’ F-100 gets driven—a lot—and can be seen parked outside his body shop when he’s not cruising it around the streets of Hanford. We just hope it doesn’t cause any accidents from rubbernecking, but on the flip side that probably just means more business for Lewis.

TRUCK SPECS

OWNER

Lewis Milinich   
Hanford, CA
1956 Ford F-100

ENGINE

  • Work performed by Hanford Auto Supply and Machine and Hanford Auto Dismantling and Repair
  • 1969 Ford 385 series 460-ci big-block
  • COMP Cams Magnum .280 hydraulic camshaft
  • Roller rockers
  • Hypereutectic flat-top two-valve relief pistons
  • Weiand Stealth intake manifold
  • Holley HP 750-cfm carburetor
  • Stainless steel headers
  • GM one-wire alternator
  • March Performance pulleys
  • 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust
  • Aluminum radiator
  • 1978 Ford C6 transmission
  • Torco torque converter with 2,800-rpm stall

 CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Work performed by Canaan Smith, Shane Milinich and Bill Lynch
  • Stock frame with custom rear clip
  • Parallel 4-link with track locator bar
  • Fatman Fab Mustang II front end with airbags moved forward 2 inches to center wheels
  • Airbags front and rear
  • Aluminum 15-gallon fuel cell
  • Ford Granada front brakes
  • Summit Racing rear disc brakes

WHEELS & TIRES

  • 20×9 and 20×11 Detroit Steel wheels painted flat gold
  • 255/35ZR20 and 285/40ZR20 Falken tires

BODY & PAINT

  • Work performed by Lewis Milinich Body Shop
  • Raised oak bed floor
  • 1930 Ford taillights
  • Big rear window conversion
  • Original red paint with flat clearcoat
  • Pinstriping by Zeke Jaggers

INTERIOR & STEREO

  • Work performed by Joe’s Upholstery
  • 1989 Chevy pickup bench seat upholstered in vinyl
  • Tilt steering column
  • Billet steering wheel
  • Lokar shifter

Special Thanks From the Owner: “Canaan Smith and Shane Milinich for the 4-link rear suspension, Lee Milinich for the painting and flat clear, Zeke for the lettering and striping, Ray Greenlee for the final assembly and Bill Lynch for the wiring and plumbing.” 

FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM