Building the Goodguys GRT-100 Giveaway Vehicle, Part 1
From parts haulers and push vehicles to all-out show machines, trucks have been a big part of the hot rod and custom scene since the very beginning. Vintage pickups seem to be more popular than ever today, with examples ranging from patina’d cruisers to full-custom showpieces turning up in big numbers at Goodguys events around the country. They appeal to enthusiasts of all ages, are still plentiful and relatively affordable, and have garnered tremendous product support from the aftermarket.
The Goodguys team has always appreciated cool custom trucks and figured it was high time to build another one as a Grand Prize Giveaway vehicle. We turned plenty of heads with our ’67 Chevy “G-10” giveaway truck in 2015, so we turned our sights toward a Ford this time around. We opted for a ’69 F100 – a generation of Ford truck that’s a little less common in the custom truck scene, but one that has proven its potential in recent years with a few high-profile, high-impact builds.
To transform this pedestrian hauler into a performance machine worthy of the Goodguys logo, we turned to artist Eric Brockmeyer to provide a visual roadmap. His dynamic design rendering offered a compelling vision of a red-hot muscle truck – bright, bold, low, and lean. We dubbed it the Goodguys GRT-100.
Illustration in hand, we turned to Doug Gonzales and his team at Lucky 7 Speed Shop to make this vision a reality. Doug is no stranger to high-impact custom builds. His Northern California shop has crafted a crop of cool rides, including Art Varrath’s ’29 Model A pickup, which was the 2014 Goodguys Truck of the Year Early, and the Tomahawk Mustang, which nabbed a 2017 Muscle Machine of the Year nod. We knew the shop not only had the luck, but also the skill to turn out a first-rate hauler.
“I have always wanted to do a truck that looks great but can be driven across country,” Doug said.
We armed Doug with a truckload of top-notch components from some of the industry’s premier manufacturers. The build began with a custom chassis from Scott’s Hot Rods ‘n Customs that not only got the truck much closer to Earth, but also gave it tremendous handling prowess thanks to a performance-bred independent front suspension with track-proven JRi hydraulic coil-over shocks, plus rack-and-pinion steering. The TIG-welded frame also incorporated a stout four-bar rear suspension with a Watt’s link assembly, another pair of JRi coil-overs, and a sway bar, all supporting a Moser 9-inch rearend. Wilwood 14-inch disc brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers were used to provide superior stopping power.
The chassis got up and rolling on 18×10- and 18×12-inch U.S. Mags wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich g-Force Rival tires – 275/35s in the front and 315/30s in the rear. Besides the cornering grip the rolling stock will deliver, the extra traction was also necessary for the planned power output – a Roush Performance 5.0-liter SR Coyote crate engine. This potent all-aluminum, four-valve-per-cylinder mill puts out 425 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque in an efficient, smooth-running package. It’s linked via a Centerforce dual-friction clutch to a Tremec T-56 six-speed transmission, which sends power to a custom aluminum driveshaft from Inland Empire Drive Line Services.
As you’ll see in the accompanying photos, the new chassis put the GRT-100 on firm footing and should give it the ability to handle both the open road and the AutoCross course with ease and agility. When the Lucky 7 team started trial fitting the cab to the chassis, they also began tending to the many bumps and bruises on the weathered ’69 F100 cab and making modifications to accommodate the truck’s new performance character. These included a custom-fabricated firewall and inner fender panels, replacement floor pans from LMC Truck, plus mods like a custom transmission tunnel, filling the stock fuel filler hole, and smoothing off the hood.
Check out these early stages of the build, then stay tuned for next week when we pick up on this pickup project and show how it became the red-hot Goodguys GRT-100 hauler it is today.
Photos by Goodguys & Lucky 7 Speed Shop