Generational Restoration! Michael Cann’s 1971 Ford F-100 Sport Custom

A Restoration for Generations to Come

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A CUSTOMER comes to you with his 1971 Ford F-100 that he bought brand new in 1971 and wants some work done? Well, if you’re anything like Gabriel Light from Rabid Muscle Cars in Athens, Georgia, then you would spend the next few hours drooling over such a fine original specimen before making a solid game plan to spend the next few months fully restoring said truck, which is pretty much exactly how it went down here.

Michael Cann approached Gabriel about creating the ultimate family heirloom with this 1971 Ford F-100 Sport Custom that he bought brand new off the lot in high school of ’71. Keeping the truck as clean as possible through the next 48-plus years was no easy task. Like any truck, it saw its fair share of work, off roading, teenage fun, sun and more. But having endured almost five decades alongside Mr. Cann and his many adventures, this ’71 was now part of the family. Hitting retirement, Michael decided it was time to return the Ford to its former glory, so he went on the hunt for a shop that could bring her back to life in perfect OEM fashion.

Wanting to keep the build local, Michael came across Rabid Muscle Cars and met up with Gabriel to see just what he had to offer. All his worries were put at ease when he saw just how much love and passion Gabe has for these classic Ford trucks. Gabe spent hours going through the F-100 with Michael and putting together the plan of attack to return her to exacting specifications with only a few very minor and subtle modern upgrades. Michael really wanted this truck to be an all-original but enjoyable driver that his kids, their kids and their kids could enjoy for generations to come.

Gabe got down to business with a quickness and put together a three-month timeline for a full restoration. It was an ambitious project, but if anyone could pull it off it was Gabe. Starting with the ground up the cab and bed were pulled to restore the chassis and underpinnings. The factory frame was sandblasted, and all of the original suspension components were replaced with OE components where applicable or restored. Cleaned up and coated, the reassembly allowed for new bushings and hardware, and things were moving right along. Getting the chassis back together, the cab and bed were once again mated to the frame. Next on the list was a complete rebuild of engine, trans and mechanicals.

Getting everything restored to perfect working order might seem easier than a “custom” build at first, but it takes a ton of patience and time to go through a complete original restoration like this. Luckily, Gabe as a Ford truck guru had some connections who could hunt down missing or needed parts along the way that could have easily halted a restoration of this caliber. The factory OE color was sprayed and cleared, with a rare Wimbledon White and Textured Black Ford combo on these Sport Custom trim models. Trim restored and coming back together, it was time to turn attention inward and some small upgrades on the list that would almost go undetectable. A reupholstered OE bench, Kicker speakers with hidden factory head unit, and Old Air Products A/C and heat unit gave just slightly more comfort for the longer rides in the southern summers.

Overall Gabe and Michael are quite pleased with how well this build went back together, and Gabe actually met his timeline, which as we all know, is no easy feat. Michael now has his retirement cruiser that he bought brand new nearly five decades ago, and it’s in better shape now then it was way back then. It’s a beautiful truck and we truly hope that she will last through many generations of the Cann family to come.


1971 Ford F-100 Sport Custom
Athens, Georgia


  • All original OEM Ford parts
  • Sandblasted and powdercoated frame
  • Powdercoated suspension components
  • All new updated bushings and hardware throughout
  • 1973 F-100 spindles and disc brakes
  • Summit Racing power booster
  • Complete factory restoration by Gabriel Light of Rabid Muscle Cars


  • 1971 Ford 302 V-8
  • Rebuilt original motor converted from two-barrel to four-barrel carb
  • Speedway c4 Street King
  • Edelbrock Performer intake
  • Patriot ceramic coated headers
  • Flowmaster Super Hushpower 2 through 2.5-inch exhaust
  • MSD ignition and billet distributor, MSD 8.5 mm super conductor wires


  • FOMOCO 15×8-inch Slotted Mags
  • Cooper Cobra 255/70/15 Radial G/ Ts


  • OEM Wimbledon White and textured black
  • Complete exterior restoration with all original parts
  • Restored to 1971 Sport Custom original trim level
  • Restoration by Rabid Muscle Cars in Athens, Georgia


  • Recovered OE bench seat
  • All OEM dash and gauges restored to original working condition
  • OE Panels restored to original condition
  • Modern upgrades include an OE style stereo with upgraded Kicker speakers, Old Air products AC/ Heat, and LMC retractable seatbelt kit

Special Thanks from Owner: “We built this truck to stay in the family for generations to come, and we want to give a very big THANK YOU to Gabriel Light from Rabid Muscle Cars for perfectly executing such a fine restoration that will last.”

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