She’s Got the Look: Bill Sandefer’s 1956 Ford F-100

Forget about perfect body lines and door gaps—although they are rather important aspects to many an owner/builder—the “look” is more of a celestial aligning of the mechanical stars in a way … and in some cases, it takes a whole lot more than just the right wheel/tire selection and appropriate amount of altitude adjustment to achieve.

Fans of the one-year-only classic truck icon, the venerable 1956 Ford F-100, know that despite the Motor Company’s hugely successful design achievement, they kind of came up short when placing the front axle centerline—at least when it comes to lowering and/or retrofitting an IFS, that is. A seemingly miniscule amount, barely over an inch in most cases, can visually make or break the overall look with the wheel sitting toward the rearmost side of the front fender. With an I-beam, you simply just don’t loosen up the leaf spring bolts and slide ’er forward, as you ultimately create a domino effect with the steering and whatnot. With an IFS, on the other hand, proper crossmember placement is at the behest of your abilities to properly measure and zap that sucker in place. When all’s said and done, it really is a matter of form AND function, not one over the other—which is exactly the situation Bill Sandefer found himself in with his mean-lookin’ Effie.

Ultra negative-cambered imports and the like notwithstanding, stance really is everything for many folks, and Bill’s satin black small-window’s no exception. To achieve the look, not only did it require the incorporating of fully adjustable suspensions front and rear (Heidts tubular-armed IFS complemented by a custom-tailored four-link), but Reno Rods & Customs practically reworked the entire frame, ultimately utilizing the interior of the ’rails themselves as the truck’s air tanks. American Racing’s 18- and 20-inch Hopsters with 40-series BFGoodrich g-Force radials fill in the appropriated voids, whether the truck’s aired up or down, while a Blue Oval–appropriate 351 Windsor backed by an AOD trans keeps her headed in the right direction. As mentioned, Bill went the subtle, suede route with the F-100’s exterior, spraying the SEM Hot Rod Black himself—but for the interior he relied on Stitching by Skip Rowland’s expertise for its black vinyl upholstery.

No matter the color, nor really the condition of the truck as a whole, “the look” relies on its stance-derived demeanor, which Bill Sandefer nailed with his F-100.

Facts & Figures
Bill Sandefer
1956 Ford F-100
Frame: Modified stock by Critter at Reno Rod & Custom
Rearend / Ratio: Ford 9-inch / 3.50:1
Rear Suspension: Custom four-link with airbags
Rear Brakes: Speedway Motors disc
Front Suspension: Heidts IFS with airbags
Front Brakes: Speedway Motors disc
Steering Box: Power rack
Front Wheels/Tires: 18×8.5 American Racing Hopster / BFGoodrich 245/40ZR18
Rear Wheels/Tires: 20×10 American Racing Hopster / BFGoodrich 295/45ZR18
Gas Tank: 1967 Mustang

Engine: 1978 Ford 351 Windsor
Heads: Stock
Valve Covers: Ford Racing
Manifold / Induction: Edelbrock Vic Jr. / Thunder AVS 650
Ignition: Mallory
Headers: Ford Racing
Exhaust / Mufflers: MagnaFlow
Transmission: Ford AOD
Shifter: Gennie

Style: F-100 big-window
Modifications: Modified front fenders, raised/shortened running boards, tonneau-style bed floor
Fenders Front / Rear: Modified stock / 3-inch wider Fairlane fiberglass
Hood: Modified stock
Grille: Stock
Bed: Mar-K
Bodywork and Paint by: Owner
Paint Type / Color: SEM / satin black
Headlights / Taillights: Parr Automotive tri-bar / Repurposed trailer lights
Bumpers: Obsolete Ford

Dashboard: Stock
Gauges: Dakota Digital VHX
Steering Wheel: Billet Specialties
Steering Column: GM tilt
Seat: Late-model GMC bench
Upholstery by: Skip Rowland
Material / Color: Black / Vinyl
Carpet: Black wool

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