1948 Ford F1 – Mike Stedman Saved Green by Using Secondhand Parts and Homespun Ingenuity
Mike Stedman is a lifelong hot rodder from Vernon, British Columbia. When he and his wife, Kay, grew tired of getting sunburned in his roadster, he decided to build a truck. Not just any truck, but an early-’60s-style custom. And build a truck he did. At home. Using many swap meet parts. In fact, a swap meet is exactly where Mike found this ’48 Ford F1.
It wasn’t very nice, but it was only $500 and came with a trailer load of extra parts. After selling off those unneeded parts for $500, he had exactly no money in it. That’s not a bad start, is it?
Mike began the process by cutting up truck photos with scissors and putting them together to see how things would look. This eliminated many hours in the home shop and would give him a good goal. Excited, he chopped and channeled the cab three inches each, only to discover that left out a bunch of legroom and he no longer fit inside. A second cab and set of doors was pulled from another swap meet and combined with the ’48 to give an extra five inches of length. This also gave the truck the cooler big back window.
While Mike was making modifications, he also suicided the doors and reversed the opening of the hood after he pie cut it an inch and a half. Both sets of fenders were sectioned three inches for a lower profile and the bottom bar was removed from the grille. This required a new pan behind the ribbed Plymouth bumper. The box and tailgate were made from scratch. Another trip to the swap meet yielded a fully louvered 4×8-foot sheet of metal…for ten bucks. Mike simply cut out what he needed and grafted them in place on the truck’s hood, tailgate and rear pan, using 260 of them in all.
Mike built the custom tonneau cover out of plywood on a steel frame. A second layer of plywood carved in a flame design was added and then covered in white marine-grade Naugahyde for a raised flame look. He repeated the flame element on the custom dash, this time using steel cutouts. They flank the Auto Meter gauges. A gutted accessory heater from his heater collection now houses the heat and air ducts, keeping the dash vent-free.
The steering wheel also came from a swap meet. It’s from a ’57 Mercury and sits on a ’63 Ford Fairlane column. A Ford Ranger donated its seat, now widened to fit the cab. The cool door pulls are the rear passenger grab handles found on the front seat of an old DeSoto. Mike thought their Art Deco styling matched the Studebaker side mirrors.
The door panels were also built at home, and then Mike took them and the front seat to Dan’s Place in West Kelowna, BC for trimming in the white marine-grade Naugahyde found on the tailgate. The stark whiteness pairs well with the flawless Synergy Green finish – pulled from the 2015 Camaro paint palette. Mike said he looked at several shops to spray the PPG hue, but didn’t like how they were sanding things in the spray booths. He then found Sherri at Montana’s Auto Body, whose prep area was as “clean as an operating room.”
Speaking of clean as an operating room, go ahead and check out the engine compartment. Mike made his own fan shroud and inner panels for the LT1 350, scored for cheap from a friend. The trusty small block is dressed in finned Corvette valve covers and an Edelbrock carb with a vintage-style air cleaner. Stedman smoothed off a set of ram’s horns exhaust manifolds and backed the engine with a Turbo 350 transmission.
The boxed chassis sits low and rides smooth thanks to a TCI front clip and a Camaro 10-bolt rearend on leaf springs out back. A set of 15-inch Wheelsmith steelies are dressed in wide whites and ’57 Caddy caps with bullet centers.
The restyled truck would be right at home on the pages of HONK! or Hot Rod back in the day. The green and white Ford’s modifications are right in step with the ’60s style, but more importantly, the stretched cab and Ranger seat give the truck a modernized level of comfort. Mike says it’s extremely comfortable to be in, and at the end of the day, that’s very important. Not only is it extremely comfortable to be in, but a truck that is serendipitously composed of swap meet parts, planned by scrapbooking pictures together, and built at home, is perfectly in step with the old-school way. Well done!
Photos by Steven Bunker