By Rich Smith
After many months of looking, driving, searching and disappointment, turning into the long driveway in Caro, Michigan, my wife Barbi loudly exclaimed "That's It!" Sitting at the end of the driveway was this beautifully restored 1953 F600 that had been listed on Craigslist. We greeted the owner, and without hesitation, I told him that we would buy it. I asked him the story behind the vehicle, but he didn't know too much about it. We agreed on the price, and I was now driving this classic for the next six hours to Petoskey, MI.
A week later, there was an ad on Craigslist searching for the new owner of this particular truck. I emailed what turned out to be the grandson of the original owner. The grandson informed me a little about the truck. His grandfather made deliveries with it for the family business. He decided one day to restore the truck, but with a few surprises.
Disassembling the truck down to the frame, he decided that he wanted a smoother ride up front, so the torch came out, and the front of the frame was off, and a new IFS was in place. He also decided that he wanted to make the bed himself, and be able to haul a fifth-wheel. Swapping the springs for airbags, shortening the rear, and fabricating an automatic leveling sensor, he was well on his way to making something unique.
To haul a fifth-wheel, he decided to stuff a fuel injected 460 into the empty engine compartment. Not satisfied with the look, he also decided to put twin Schweitzer turbos, salvaged off a couple of tractors. The interior has the same attention to detail. Fully restored, and equipped with a new split bench seat, complete with a fold down center counsel, a dash full of new informative gauges, new carpet, headliner, seals... well, you get the picture... there was not a single bolt or screw that was not replaced, except for the passenger window which has a small crack. I can only guess that this was not replaced so that something was still original.
The truck rides smooth, brakes are flawless, shifts perfect. My wife and I have found what we consider the perfect truck for us. Unfortunately, during the fall of 2014, one turbo locked up, and a week later the second did the same. Now my wife and I are replacing the turbos this spring, upgrading the exhaust, replacing some small non-issue parts, and hitting the car shows in Michigan.