With the cost of just about every popular custom truck model rising, enthusiasts are starting to branch out to other production years that haven’t quite caught fire among builders just yet. Those who actually prefer these later-model 7th generation F-150s to other models are in luck because they are currently ultra affordable to purchase and are readily available. Others may find themselves shopping for a 1980-1986 Bullnose Ford truck sooner rather than later due to being priced out by other sought after models that sadly just don’t jibe with everyone’s budget for a truck project.
I truly believe that people are sleeping on these Bullnose Ford trucks…”
“I truly believe that people are sleeping on these Bullnose Ford trucks,” exclaims Gilberto Rosales Jr. of Pearland, Texas. “Growing up, I actually wanted to build a truck and I have always loved these ’80-’86 models, so when the opportunity to purchase a nice one came along I jumped at the chance.”
As the years fly by, we are currently seeing the “classic” truck spectrum widen model-by-model, generation-by-generation. Those trucks that we used to think of as not old enough to be “cool” are now maturing into being the next big thing due to their affordability and availability, not to mention their nostalgic value as they rise to the forefront. Consider this a fair warning, however, as the market tends to catch up with these pickup that start trending upward.
With the keys to an ’86 F-150 in his pocket, Gilberto began a nearly three-year journey whipping his truck into running condition again, while also getting it ready to debut within the show scene. To get the process going, Gilberto started looking for a fresh engine to power his Ford.
As the years fly by, we are currently seeing the ‘classic’ truck spectrum widen model-by-model, generation-by-generation.”
Instead of settling for the first compatible engine he could find, he set his sights higher and held out a little longer to score a Gen 1 Coyote 5.0L that he planned to upgrade for the sake of gaining optimum performance. The first thing Gilberto threw at the Coyote once he had one was a YSI supercharger with a customized BOSS 302 intake as well as a one-off intercooler that M2K Motorsports in Katy, Texas, was more than happy to install and dial in. A Gen 1 6R80 six-speed transmission was also mated to the Coyote powerplant to ensure compatibility with high-output 5.0.
LEAN, MEAN BULL
With the performance department well taken care of, Gilberto then moved onto creating a much more leaner, meaner stance for his Bullnose F-150. To get there, a Crown Vic front clip complete with QA1 coilovers were incorporated into the truck’s factory frame to drop the frontend, while a QA1 4-link system and coilovers were assembled at the rear. This combination of high-quality components not only gave the ’86 an aggressive ride height, but also a much more responsive suspension system that will soon work in tandem with the Ford’s newfound dose of performance under the hood.
Gilberto then finished off the revamped chassis with a set of set of staggered 19- and 20-inch Schott Throttle Concave wheels and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The Bronze finish of the billet spokes jibe well with the F-150’s naturally weathered factory exterior finish.
While the 37-year-old paintjob isn’t exactly wearing through and exposing bare metal in big, noticeable sections, it does have a warm, worn-in appearance that was just too good to paint over. Instead, Gilberto brought the truck to Pristine Paint & Autobody in Magnolia, Texas, to seal in the natural patina underneath a few layers of PPG satin clear. Pat Maxwell of Spring, Texas, was then asked to add some pinstriped details along both sides of the truck, which he was happy to oblige.
Next, the factory rear wheel tubs were widened 3 inches to make enough clearance for the much wider wheels and tires that lurk below. While this streamlined list of exterior upgrades has been kept short, it suits Gilberto’s simplified approach to building his ’86.
With the rest of the truck performing and looking spot on, Gilberto moved onto the interior phase of the build. The appearance and feel of the cab space is very reminiscent of the truck’s late-1980’s style, yet refreshed with supple leather upholstery on the factory bench seat, new paneling and dash refinishing, as well as aftermarket upgrades in the way of Dakota Digital gauges and a Sparc Industries steering wheel. The color palette and textile selection were meticulously combined to give the F-150’s cabin that familiar throwback aesthetic with much-welcomed modernized refinement.
While Gilberto does wish to make some additional upgrades to his truck’s braking system, he is overly satisfied with the outcome of his Ford truck project.
“I think this truck is very unique in my opinion given the fact that it is a supercharged Bullnose-model pickup with a perfectly preserved patina,” he admits.
While this truck may be one of few 7th Gen F-Series trucks that have been decked out to this degree, there are sure to be more to follow once the crowd sees what can be done with them.
“I would love to say that I discovered some shortcuts along the way to get my truck to this point, but shortcuts usually only cost more in the long run,” he says. “I try to focus on doing things right the first time around, even if the upfront cost is much more than alternative methods. ‘Spend once, cry once’ is a motto that I apply to all aspects of life, not just building trucks. Cheaping out is never a wise decision.”
Gilberto Rosales Jr.
1986 Ford F-150
- Ford Gen 1 Coyote 5.0L V-8
- Custom motor mounts and crossmember
- COMP Cam Stage 3 camshaft
- Custom BOSS air intake
- 1 7/8-inch long tube headers
- Flowmaster 3-inch exhaust system
- YSI supercharger
- Supercharger kit built by M2K Motorsports, Katy, TX
- Custom air-to-water intercooler
- Ford Gen 1 6R80 transmission
- Circle D torque converter w/ 4000 stall
- Setrab transmission cooler
- NStock frame
- Crown Vic front clip with QA1 coilovers
- QA1 4-link with rear coilovers
- Electronic rack-and-pinion steering
- TruTrac 4.10 gears
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
- 19- and 20-inch Schott Throttle Concave wheels
- Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires
- Wilwood braking components
- Factory patina with PPG satin clear by Pristine Paint & Autobody, Magnolia, TX
- Pinstriping by Pat Maxwell, Spring, TX
- UFactory seating covered in chocolate brown leather upholstery
- Dakota Digital instruments
- Sparc Industries FLUX steering wheel
- Pioneer 80PRS receiver