One Truck, Two Men
When the owner of this 1949 Ford F1, Bill Whetstone, was looking for an early F-Series to add to his collection, he didn’t have to go far. He found this particular pickup in Michigan, the very state it was born in. And as we learned from this interesting Hot Rod piece, it’s really the creation of two men, not just one.
The previous owner of the truck, Mike Digiovanni, had found it partially restored but still needed a ton of work. He saw it for sale while attending the Street Rod Nationals in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with a 350 Chevy V8 stuffed under the hood.
Good and Bad
The truck also had a solid Heidts Mustang II–style front suspension installed, which was a big bonus. But the interior was trashed. This didn’t matter much to Digiovanni, however, who himself was a master upholsterer.
Digiovanni immediately applied his signature refined classic modern style to the interior, giving it a complete overhaul. As a nice contrasting touch, he also made a matching bed cover. But the 350 the seller had stuffed in the truck was a bit tired, so his attention was soon needed there as well.
Sticking With Chevy
Instead of doing the right thing and switching back to Ford power, Digiovanni stuck with the small block Chevy. He yanked the V8 and bored it out to displace 355 cubic inches, then added Vortech heads and a Holley carb. The “cold-air” intake was custom designed and built by Digiovanni’s son.
Show and Go
If nothing else, the engine bay is quite nice to look at. And rather unique. The transmission was then rebuilt and stuffed with a 2,500 rpm Stahl converter for more aggressive shifts. And of course, a set of drop spindles were added to give this F1 the proper stance.
Change It Up
After a while, Digiovanni decided he wanted to part ways with the old Ford. His buddy put him in touch with Whetstone, who was looking for a high quality, all-steel classic truck. Whetstone was obviously blown away by the build quality and attention to detail, but he also wanted to change a few things to match his own personal style.
Make It Shiny
That meant replacing the wheels and Blackwall tires with body-painted wheels sporting dog-dish hubcaps and wrapped in whitewalls, for starters. Next, he swapped out the black bumpers, grille, and running boards with chrome pieces.
Next, Whetstone painted the running boards and inner grille body color. On the inside, he worked to break up the red by having various interior panels painted to match the camel upholstery. These changes were all pretty minor, but together, they completely transformed the look of the old Ford.
These days, Whetstone regularly drives his F1 and even takes it to Arizona with him in the winter. It was there that the truck took home Best Ford at the Goodguys Scottsdale show, in a field of around 75 participants. And as nice as this F1 turned out, we’re really not surprised at all. Now, if he’d just do a proper engine swap…
Photos: Hot Rod