Pablo Chapa Sr.
Orange Cove, California
'56 Ford F-100


Being able to drive a vehicle under a learner's permit may be one of the most exciting times in a gearhead's life because it's generally the first time you get to drive an automobile on city streets. Of course, when you get this document, you can't just hop in a vehicle and go at it while expecting to learn along the way. No, it's more like having the permission to build experience behind the wheel while under the supervision of an adult. Pablo Chapa Sr. was able to collect his driving hours by chauffeuring his uncle around town in a '60 Chevy Impala. For Pablo, this wasn't just a learning experience, it was the chance to cruise around in a car that had some definite style.

Years later, the Impala got rear-ended and sold as scrap metal, while Pablo moved on to owning other vehicles. Pablo became a big fan of the distinctive body lines of vehicles built in the '50s and '60s, but he never really got into customizing them until decades later when his kids were learning to drive. By that point, these vehicles were considered "vintage" and it was becoming harder to afford a clean one.

Such was the case for this '56 Ford F-100. Pablo's son, Juan, came across this truck at his local church, where the original owner donated it. It was supposed to be used as an equipment hauler for special church functions; however, the truck was in bad shape and incapable of doing such tasks. Seeing an opportunity to own a classic truck, Juan inquired about it and made a $2,000 donation to the church in order to take ownership of it. From there, Juan took it to his house, where it sat because he did not have the funds to fix it

When his father caught wind of the Ford, he instantly wanted it for himself and made a deal to take it off Juan's hands. From there, Pablo broke it down into sections in order to fit it into a small utility trailer and hauled the pieces to his house. Once at his house, Pablo pulled the 350ci '69 Chevy engine from the chassis. It was then taken to Smith Auto in Dinuba, California, for a mild rebuild with a few key parts added to increase horsepower.

With the motor out of the way, Pablo was able attack the rest of the truck. This included the frame, which was not only bent, but also rusted to the point that it would be cheaper to replace it than repair it. For the fix, Juan found a company called Industrial Chassis that makes replacement frames for these trucks and adapts the suspension from '86-'96 Dodge Dakotas to them. With this swap, the truck would get a new, clean frame that is updated with a modern independent front suspension. The benefits were clear, so Pablo and Juan made a trip from central California to Phoenix, Arizona, to pick up the new frame and haul it back home.

The next portion of the truck that needed attention was the body. To see what he was dealing with, Pablo sanded all three previous paintjobs off of the exterior panels and took them down to bare metal. From there, he saw a bunch of rusted out pieces that needed to be repaired with patch panels. Since Pablo hasn't mastered his bodyworking skills, he went to the experts at Custom Interiors and Paint in Dinuba, California, to take care of it for him. After patching it up, they shaved several items on the body to give it a cleaner appearance. Once it was bodyworked straight, the crew coated it in House of Kolor Burgundy Kandy paint and airbrushed on a faux trim.

On the inside, Custom Interiors and Paint cleaned up and painted the dash to match the outside of the cab. Then, the crew salvaged the second-row seats from a '98 Chevy Suburban and reupholstered them in tan leather and tweed. They also built a custom center console and door panels. With this done, the truck was ready to be reassembled and the motor was planted back in.

Now that the truck is done, Pablo and Juan show this truck at several events in the Central California area. Though Pablo tries to limit the usage of the F-100, he admits that it is no trailer queen, and he gets to reap the benefits of building this truck by driving it to every show. To Pablo, the opportunity to cruise such a stylish truck is all the reward needed for the time and money spent on a vehicle like this.

The 411
Engine/drivetrain:

350ci V-8 from '69 Chevy Camaro bored .030 over / original rotating assembly with Federal Mogul pistons / "Double Hump" heads / Isky Racing Cams camshaft / MSD ignition / Edelbrock Performer intake manifold and carburetor / Sanderson headers / custom exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers / chrome valve covers and air cleaner / Powermaster Motorsports alternator / Vintage Air A/C pump / Cooling Components electric fan / Painless wiring harness / Turbo 350 transmission with high-stall torque converter /
Lokar floor shifter and handbrake / Curry 9-inch rearend
BY: Smith Auto, Dinuba, California

Rims:
Front & Rear:

20x8.5 Boyd Coddington Magneato

Tires:
Front & Rear:

255/35R20 Toyo Proxes S/T

Suspension:
Front:
IFS and steering rack from '86-'96 Dodge Dakota / Western Chassis drop spindles with tie rod spacer and Heim joint to eliminate bumpsteer / Car Quest shocks
Rear: '86-'96 Dodge Dakota leaf spring pack with one leaf taken out / Car Quest shocks
Accessories: Custom aluminum fuel cell
Chassis: Custom frame made out of 2x4x1/4-inch steel tubing and powdercoated silver
By: Industrial Chassis, Phoenix, Arizona

Body Mods:
Shaved taillights, custom roll pan, antenna, and emblems / firewall recessed for engine / frenched antenna / custom fuel door / custom flat tailgate / LED third brake light / flip-forward hood / Gaylord's tonneau cover / replacement wood bed / one piece side glass
BY: Rafael Felix of Custom Interiors and Paint, Dinuba, California

Custom Paint:
House of Kolor Burgundy Kandy / airbrushed faux chrome trim / red pinstripping
By: Rafael Felix of Custom Interiors and Paint, Dinuba, California

Interior:
Dash and doors painted to match exterior / second-row '98 Chevy Suburban seats reupholstered in tan leather and tweed / custom door panels, and other interior panels upholstered in tan leather and tweed / custom center console / Flaming River steering column and billet steering wheel / Vintage Air A/C vents, ducts, and control knobs / Dolphin gauges / billet window cranks and door handles
By: Rafael Felix

Audio/Video:
Sound Storm head unit / four Alpine 6-inch speakers, two 8-inch subwoofers in back of cab, and amplifier under seats
BY: Mario's Stereo, Dinuba, California

Club:
N/A

Special Thanks:
My son Juan, wife Yolanda, brother Hector from Chapa Automotive, Mario from Mario's Stereo, and Rafael Felix from Custom Interiors and Paint