Sunday, March 27, 2016

Muscle Mule Test Truck

I want a fun vehicle that I can bomb around in, beat the snot out of, and haul large car parts around in (like axles, motors, trannies, and body parts).  A vehicle like this has been on my list of infrastructure building for a while now (along with a list of tools and a garage of my own with a lift).  I've gone back and forth on what vehicle that should be too.  Part of me says Ranchero, but another part wants the fuel economy of a Ranger, yet another part of me wants a Bronco.  The debate rages on inside me, and every time I see an interesting Craigslist ad, it resurfaces.  I can fit a motor in the trunk of a Vic, right!?

Couldn't find a shot with a motor, but how about a full set of Fox body tires PLUS the standard spare?
I have a strong opinion that full-frame is the best way to build a car.  I can't tell you how many unit bodies I've owned or driven in the past, but they just don't ride like a car with a frame.  Everything from road noise to ride quality, durability to even the ease of working on it - everything is better.  With this in mind, I'd like to keep that attribute on the list for my shop vehicle.

Look at all the space in the engine bay! 
It also came to my attention that, if I choose the right vehicle, I could also use it to test new motors that I get or rebuild.  This way I could have a solid chassis with no or known issues to try out new motors, break them in, or tune and troubleshoot them before they are installed into other projects.  If I ever get into cars as much as I want to be, this could prove very useful.

Ooh, shiny...
I bet you have no idea what the dream project de jour is... like at all...
I think I've settled on the right vehicle for the task at hand.  I need an old, '67-'72 F-100 short bed.  Now before you click back, here me out.  Their are many facets that go into the beauty of an old pickup.  It is easy to work on.  There's tons of room in the engine bay, everything bolts together on the body, and it has a big sturdy frame keeping it together.  It's a multi-purpose vehicle, when buit correctly.  If you give is good power and a good suspension, you can tear up the track or the local back roads and still pull a trailer or haul parts around in it.  It's a blank canvass.  You could give it an amazing, custom paint job and really deck in out, or it can be totally cool as a patina-riddled sleeper.  Furthermore, you can put any powertrain you want in it from a high-revving small block stroker to a bored out big block torque monster or even a turbocharged four or six cylinder.  It's all up to personal preference, and no one will be able to tell until you turn the key.  You can do whatever you want with an old, custom pickup.

See?  This guy did.
So did this guy. 
Even the guys from Mad Max did.
You can't tell me these trucks aren't cool...  Well, you can, but I'll stick my fingers in my ears and run out of the room yelling, "la la la la."

Flat black is almost always a good decision on older rides.
Personally, I really love the look of the old trucks with the patina, a good stance, and some sweet, new rims.  I'm not sure which motor I'd like to try in it first (because I'd kind of like for this to be an ever-evolving project truck), but I imagine that a small block stroker would probably have the best weight distribution and therefore the best handling characteristics.  Maybe I'd eventually add a blower too.  I'd really like to try a big block in it too, and I'm really intrigued by the idea of a turbo DOHC 3.0L (either Yamaha or Duratec) or 3.2L V6 or a 2.5L I4 with a turbo (like out of an SVO or Lincoln Super Coupe).  (It's more fun to say than Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.)  I'd set the truck up with preferably a 6-speed, dual exhaust, fun but weight bearing suspension, stand-alone engine wiring, and quick disconnects for the fuel lines.  This would be the solid, base chassis in which to rotate project engines in and out.

I dig the old-school Nascar look with the black wheels and raised white-lettered tires.
I think it could be a lot of fun, and it would lend me the opportunity to play with different motors and power adder setups without having to buy more cars.  It would also help my work out any bugs on certain setups without being in restrictive areas like the engine bays of pony cars or transverse applications.  I just really want to buy a fun, old truck to bomb around in that also has some power and handling and has a stick.

This is really close to perfect for what I'd be looking for.
This video doesn't help me keep from wanting one either:

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