High School Memories | Mike Reed Recreates His 1972 Ford F-100 

Growing up in Amarillo, Texas, Mike Reed had a considerable amount of time on his hands. Luckily, Mike’s father always had some type of hot rod or race car that Mike could work on or race. Starting at the young age of 13, Mike was already in his father’s 1972 Chevrolet truck making passes down the drag strip. By the time he was 16, Mike and his father had built and raced a 1967 Camaro, and then restored a 1967 Camaro convertible that Mike himself painted.

In the early ’90s, the Reed family made a move to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area where Mike began the restoration of a 1970 El Camino with a 505 big block. After the El Camino, Mike settled on a Chevy S-10 that ended up making 5.80 blasts down the now-defunct 1/8-mile drag strip in Kennedale, Texas.

Circling back to Mike’s high school years, he also needed a daily driver to get back and forth to school. His choice of transportation was none other than a short bed 1972 Ford F-100 with a 390 FE under the hood. As usual, Mike and his dad could not leave well enough alone, so they restored and repainted the truck. Mike drove the Wimbledon White F-100 throughout high school until he had an unexpected life-changing event that would require a vehicle with a back seat just after graduation.

Although Mike had to make a few changes at a young age to do the right thing for his future and his family, he never gave up the love for restoring and racing cars. Mike also never forgot about that F-100 he loved so much.

Fast forward 23 years, and Mike is well into his career as a professional painter at a luxury car dealership—imagine that! Mike also has the urge to fulfill the desire to get back into an F-100 like the one he had in high school. This is when Mr. Reed began the search for the perfect truck. The search was a year-long process, but there is a funny twist to it: Mike ended up purchasing the first truck he had found on Craigslist one year earlier. In addition, the truck was in Roanoke, Texas, only a few miles from his hometown of Keller, Texas. During that one-year period, Mike looked at many F-100s, but they just didn’t fit the bill. Color was not an issue; it was the condition of the truck that was important to him. This truck was in excellent, solid, original condition, so the deal was made.

The 545 cubic-inch big block Ford mill, built by Morgan and Sons Racing Engines, puts on quite a smoke show at the blip of the throttle.

With the truck in his possession at his house, Mike began the five-year-long build. Originally, the plan was to use the original chassis and do the ever so popular Crown Vic front suspension swap with an axle flip in the back. However, after analyzing pictures of CV swapped trucks for hours on end, Mike decided he really wanted the truck to sit a little lower with the front wheels tucked in a little more. He was looking for more of that “funny car” dragster look. So Mike dialed up the Roadster Shop in Illinois to get the ball rolling on a Spec F-100 chassis. If you have never seen a RS chassis in person or checked out the Roadster Shop website, you would find that these works of art come with everything a person needs to get a build done fast. Mike’s chassis was delivered with all the goodies, including AFCO adjustable coilovers, 11-inch Wilwood brakes front and rear, engine and transmission mounts, sway bar, and a loaded limited slip Ford 9-inch rear end with 31-spline Moser axles.

The wheel of choice this time was a set of American Racing Torq Thrust II wheels – 15×6 up front and 15×10 out back, and the tires are from Mickey Thompson. Now that the chassis is rolling around his garage it was time to set an engine and transmission in place.

As you might expect, Mike is a drag racer at heart, so he went all out in the engine compartment with a massive 545 cubic inch big block Ford! Wanting the best of the best, Morgan and Sons Racing Engines was given the task for the build. The factory D9 block was used with the balanced rotating assembly consisting of a Scat crank and rods with 10:1 Diamond pistons filling the holes. The heartbeat of this beast is a none other than a Jon Kaase roller cam moving the valves in the Jon Kaase P51 aluminum cylinder heads. Directing the air into the cylinder heads is a Pro Systems 950 HP carburetor on top of an aluminum Edelbrock intake manifold. Mike added a NOS fogger system just in case the estimated 700 horsepower is not enough with the skinny pedal smashed to the floor. Keeping the cooling system pumping is an aluminum Edelbrock water pump pushing the water through a Champion three-core radiator.

Keith Kirk Upholstery did an outstanding job of tacking the new leather interior. We love the throwback diamond patterns throughout.

After the engine was complete it was time to decide on a transmission. Mike was very familiar with GM transmissions from his years of drag racing, so he went with a bulletproof Jason Henderson built GM TH400 sporting a full manual valve body. Mating the transmission to the engine is a JW Transmission adapter. Transferring the power from the engine to the transmission is a Hughes 3500-stall torque converter with a B&M Pro Ratchet shifter changing the gears when in manual mode. Ft. Worth Gear and Axle built the drive shaft and provided the Spicer U-joints to connect the transmission to the rear end. To direct the exhaust gasses from the engine to the underside of the rear bumper, Mike called up Buddy Ward for a full stainless masterpiece. Starting with 2 1/8-inch primaries, Buddy snaked his way back to 3 ½-inch collectors that transitioned to the mandrel bent 3-inch stainless tubing passing through Flowmaster mufflers.

According to Mike, the only thing left is to take the truck to the drag strip to see what some all-motor passes will result in, then hit the nitrous button for some real fun! 

With everything coming together relative to the chassis, it was time to start assembling the truck. At this point you are probably wondering what color Mike, the painter, is going to paint the truck? Well, it’s kind of like the plumber that doesn’t want to fix his plumbing—Mike didn’t want to paint the truck! Part of the appeal of the truck when Mike decided to purchase it was how well the original Light Goldenrod paint had aged. So, what did he do? He masterfully sanded and buffed the original back to what we call the “perfect patina” beautiful shine you see here.

Behind the American Racing Torq Thrust IIs lie 11-inch Wilwood brakes, which the truck desperately needed.

Now, when you go with a chassis that sets a truck this low, it often requires some extra work to get the cab down on the chassis. The firewall was smoothed, and the trans tunnel was raised from the front to the back of the cab for transmission and driveshaft clearance. In addition, Mike modified the stock inner fenders to work with the big block and the tire clearance requirements. Once all the modifications were done, the firewall was resprayed Light Goldenrod and the inner fenders and core support were sprayed in satin black. Eddie Motorsports hinges were utilized to open and close the hood.

Moving to the bed, the wheel wells were raised and widened with a raised notch in between. Once the metal work was complete, Mike spray-lined the inside of the bed as well as the underside of the bed the same Light Goldenrod color. The bottom of the cab received this same treatment. You can find the nitrous bottle under the custom bed cover, as well.

After all the sheetmetal was on the chassis, it was time to attack the interior. Mike chose Keith Kirk Upholstery in Rendon, Texas, to cover the seat, door panels and headliner in leather. While those items were at the upholsterer, the inside of the cab was resprayed in the original color, and then heat and sound deadening were applied to the floor, firewall, roof and doors. Kirk finalized his interior duties with custom carpet to fit the modified floor pan. With things coming together quickly, an aluminum gauge bezel filled with AutoMeter gauges was installed so Mike could monitor all the engine vitals. Topping off the interior was an audio system comprising of a Kenwood receiver and JL Audio components and amplifier.

Coming to the end of the build, Mike called up Dennis Carpenter to allocate all the outside brightwork, including side trim, bumpers and headlight bezels for the ’70 grille. Speaking of grilles, Mr. Reed sourced the perfect NOS 1970 Ford grille off eBay.

Since completion of the truck, it has won a few awards at some local car shows and, of course, the article you see here. Mike would like to send a special thanks to everyone who helped him build the truck, including John Sliney, Buddy Garza, Buddy Ward, and especially his wife, Lisa Reed, for putting up with this build, as well as his long love affair for hot rods and drag cars. According to Mike, the only thing left is to take the truck to the drag strip to see what some all-motor passes will result in, then hit the nitrous button for some real fun! Looks like this Chevy guy is about to see what Fords are all about!


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