Unlike what reality television shows portray, projects usually take more than just a few weeks to complete. This was the case for Minnesota resident Jim Nygard and his 1968 Ford F-250 4×4. In various phases, his Boxwood Green, Highboy build was stretched-out over a couple of decades. Well worth the wait, the result is nothing short of awesome.
Nygard’s relationship with his fifth-generation truck began way back in 1976. Originally painted Rangoon Red, the F-250 had been parked in a field due to a seized motor—apparently the result of a loose drain plug. With the body in decent shape and only 37,000 miles on the odometer, he bought the truck and promptly towed it to his father’s shop.
Over the next few years, Nygard got to work pulling the truck apart in his spare time. With the body off the frame, it was treated with a protective layer of zinc chromate. Developed by Ford in the 1920s, the anti-corrosive coating was initially applied to military aircraft. The distinct, yellow-green compound is still used in a variety of applications today.
While the bodywork was underway, Nygard pulled the seized 360 cubic-inch engine. In its place, he fitted a 390 FE motor that was purloined from a 1967 Mustang GT. A rebuilt four-speed transmission and stock transfer case took care of hooking up the big block mill. With NOS parts readily available at the time, the powertrain rebuild used all original equipment.
After a decade of slowly working on the truck, it was finally complete. Sporting a fresh coat of DuPont Lucite lacquer, the F-250 was used as a part-time driver for the next couple of years. In 1989, Nygard put the Highboy back into storage, where it sat untouched for another twenty-three years. He rolled it back into the sunshine in 2014.
Nygard then decided to swap the engine again. He sent a 427 block that he had acquired in the 1990s to Survival Motor Sports in Walled Lake, Michigan for a full build. Survival fitted a 428 crank, along with proprietary heads and a hydraulic roller cam. An Edelbrock Performer RPM manifold, Mallory ignition and a Holley four-barrel carburetor completed the 575 horsepower package.
At some point, the four-speed was ditched in favor of a C6 three-speed automatic transmission, coupled with a 10-inch ATI torque converter. Hooking up the smooth power is a set of eight-lug, 16×6-inch stock steel wheels painted Wimbledon White. In keeping with the factory appearance, Specialty Tires of America sourced a set of vintage-looking, SuperLug tires.
The interior was refurbished using only OEM parts—right down to the dome light switch. Nygard indicated that the truck now has its own place in the garage and only comes out for summer car shows. It may have taken decades, but this Highboy is immaculate and destined to last for even longer. Not bad for an old field truck!