Truck Builder Magazine, Dwaynes F-100Truck Builder Magazine, March/April 2003

"The Big Five-OHHH: A Birthday Present For The Ages."
Story & Photography by Matt Emery


In what was a banner year, 1953 saw the Ford Motor Company celebrate its 50th anniversary, this beautiful F-100 could be found in its showroom and Dwayne Richardson was born. That is why the San Marcos, California, resident bought this truck in the first place. It was produced the same year he was. Now, as he turns 50, Richardson decided that he deserves the ultimate birthday present.

There are few who would deny that the beautiful '53 F-100 has all the makings of a very happy birthday. Virtually hand-built by Hot Rods & Custom Stuff in Escondido, California, the Effie has all the trick parts and touches that one would expect from that shop.

When it comes to trick, there are not many parts that compare to Dodge Hemi. Named for the hemispherical design of its head, the Hemi stands alone in the lore of performance engines. There are not many of these engines found in classic Ford trucks-but when they are, a stir is created.

This particular block was produced in 1957 and displaces 355 ci. It retains many of the stock parts such as crank, rods and valves, but it has seen its share of upgrades. Once HDS machine of Escondido did the preparatory machine work to the block, the crew at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff (HRCS) began building the engine. Some of the new parts they used included a Schneider Racing cam, as well as Egge cast pistons, which cranked up the compression to 9.25:1.

Providing the fuel is capably handled, thanks to the Edelbrock 500-cfm four-barrel carb that is attached to the Offenhauser dual-plane aluminum manifold. Once the fuel has been introduced into the cylinders, a jolt of spark is delivered to the plugs by a Joe Hunt electronic ignition system via a set of Taylor 8mm wires. Once burned, it is ushered out with the help of HRCS's 1.5-inch headers, which dump into the 1.5-inch tubes and Flowmaster mufflers.

A dressed-out 335ci Hemi Be Cool aluminum radiator

1. A fully dressed-out Hemi is a thing of beauty that can bring tears the eyes of true rodders everywhere. Displacing 335 ci, the fuel is introduced with the highly polished combination of an Edelbrock carb and Offenhauser aluminum intake manifold. The spark is provided by what appears to be a magneto, but is actually a Joe Hunt electronic ignition system, while a set of custom Hot Rods & Custom Stuff headers exits the burnt gasses. The O'Brien Trucker valve covers and finned aluminum air cleaner provides motor finery, as does the chrome-plated Powermaster alternator. 2. To keep a chill on, a Be Cool aluminum radiator has been equipped with a pair of Flex-a-lite fans.

Even a hemi can use a little aesthetic help, so the block had been painted to color-match the exterior. O'Brien Trucker valve covers and a finned aluminum air cleaner were also added. In order to keep things frosty, a Be Cool crossflow aluminum radiator was equipped with a pair of Flex-a-lite fans. Adding to the look and ability of the Hemi is the HRCS fan shroud and chromed Powermaster 140-amp alternator.

According to Randy Clark, head honcho of HRCS, the engine is capable of producing 335-plus horsepower with 375-pluf ft-lb of torque. Providing that power a way to get to the back half is with a an equally trick Richmond five-speed transmission. Fitted with a McLeod clutch assembly and Capanna flywheel, there is a possibly no more "race" setup to be found in any muscle car-excuse us, muscle truck. Oceanside Driveline of Oceanside, Calilfornia, spun up a custom driveshaft for the occasion.

That much power requires a chassis that is both strong to control the extra horses and handles well enough to keep the truck straight. The frame is stock, although HRCS boxed and stretched it by 1-1/4-inch, bringing it to 110 inches overall. It also features a custom-made transmission crossmember by HRCS. It was decided that a TCI four-link suspension system was the perfect choice to cradle the Currie 9-inch rearend that was to be installed. The TCI unit is made from polished stainless steel and is combined with a polished stainless Panhard bar. The Currie unit features a 3.89:1 gear ratio and is equipped with an Auburn limited slip differential.

Up front, a Kugel Komponents polished stainless steel IFS unit was installed and it features not only KK billet coilover shocks with chrome springs, but also a set of high-quality Willwood disc brakes. Rounding out the look (so to speak) are the 17-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels, which were shod with 60-series Falken tires.

Few shops can take a stock body to the lengths that HRCS can. It managed to simplify the Effie with such items as the stock fuel inlet, cowl and side vents and the door lock holes; but the only major change was to widen the rear fenders out some 2-inches and cap off the end of the bed.

Glide Engineering seat Grant Banjo steering wheel

3. The inviting interior features a Glide Engineering seat that has been covered with brown leather and orange piping. The upholstery is the handiwork of Custom Auto Interior of Bloomington, California. 4. Hiding behind the Grant Banjo steering wheel is a complete set of Auto Meter gauges. Other amenities include a Vintage Air air-conditioning system and a TCI pedal assembly.

The question is: why does this Ford look so good? It could be the dazzling House of Kolor Shimrin Pearl Ultra Orange that was applied by ace HRCS employee Troy Mangoni. Or maybe it's the chromed stock grill. Regardless, this ford is a truck that's worthy of a second glance (and third, and…)

In the bed can be found oak bed wood and stainless steel strips with new hardware. What cannot be seen is the HRCS aluminum tank that is nestled between the framerails. All that's visible is the Cool Cap that was installed. Other tricks include the rear bumper that has been cut to allow for a license plate. The crew at Escondido Chrome gave both of the bumpers a new coating of the shiny stuff.

Once HRCS had smoothed the dash, truck was off to Custom Auto Interiors of Bloomington, California. The crew there covered the Glide Engineering bench seat with brown leather (complete with orange piping) and custom-tooled the the door panels, kick panels and headliner. HRCS then installed the rest of the goodies that can be found inside. Only the best would do, including Auto Meter gauges, Vintage Air air-conditioning system, Flaming River stainless steel steering column complete with a Grant Banjo steering wheel and a TCI pedal assembly. Putting the power to the pieces was handled with a Painless Performance wiring system.

Kugel Komponents polished IFS Highly polished oak planks line the truck bed.

5. Utilizing a Kugel Komponents polished IFS, the Ford has attained great handling as well as power steering. 6a-6b. Highly polished oak planks share space with the stainless steel strips. Notice the Cool Cap fuel cap placed in the floor, which easily allows fuel to enter the custom HRCS aluminum fuel cell that sits beneath.

Putting power to the driver's head is accomplished with a killer sound system. It begins with a Kenwood AM/FM/CD head unit that is pumped up with a Rockford Fosgate six-channel amp. That much juice has to go somewhere, so multiple Boston Acoustics speakers have been teamed with an Eclipse 10-inch subwoofer to provide it with a pathway to acoustic nirvana. Installation of the intricate system was done by Custom Auto Interior.

In all, it took HRCS nearly 25 months to turn this F-100 from what Richardson bought in 1972 (for a mere $600 dollars) to a show winner that probably costs quite a bit more. This is a perfect example of how, every once in a while, we have to be good to ourselves. Happy Birthday Dwayne, and we wish you many more to come! TB

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Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, 2324 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA., 1-800-HOT-ROD-5.

Hot Rods & Custom Stuff - builds, restores, paints, services and sells parts for classic autos, cars, trucks and street rods.