Classic pickups brought back to life in the fast lane
With its new front-end design, wrap-around windshield, “driverized” cabin and optional rear “big window,” the 1956 Ford F-100 was a hit back in the day and has become cherished among classic car enthusiasts who have paid as much as $450,000 at collector car auctions for customized versions of the iconic pickup.
Reading that price might make the BSI X-100 seem a real bargain at just $180,000.
BSI is short for Bodie Stroud Industries, a Southern California-based hot rod and custom car business that has produced a succession of award-winning one-off vehicles. X-100 is Stroud’s version of the classic Ford pickup, though the only classic component used in creating the trucks is the ’56 Ford pickup sheet metal, and even that gets an update from Stroud and his team.
How large can the market be for a $180,000, nearly 60-year-old pickup?
“Bigger than I thought,” Stroud said. “We expected to sell two. We’ve already sold three. We’ve exceeded our expectations!”
Stroud has a long history with pickups. Now in his mid-40s, Stroud coveted the customized Toyota pickup driven by the coolest kid in his high school. When the truck was crashed, Stroud bought the remains, rebuilt the truck and started building his own career that has included vehicles for Tim Allen and other celebrities, and a 1960 Ford Starliner powered by the engine from a modern Ford GT.
Stroud’s mission in restoration and customization is to maintain a vehicle’s classic lines, and to make sure it has modern mechanical components so it can be driven safely and confidently in contemporary traffic.
In the case of the X-100, he said rust-free truck bodies are readily available. He and his crew modify the hood and make other changes to enhance the truck’s look while retaining the original design cues.
That sheet metal is mounted on a custom BSI chassis with a boxed frame and integrated driveshaft hoop. Independent front suspension has EX-Aline adjustors to improve handling and to accommodate larger wheels and tires. The rear gets a four-link suspension with 9-inch axle. Air suspension is available.
Instead of the original 223-cid six of 272 V-8 engines, Stroud inserts the customer’s choice of a 5.0-liter Ford Racing Coyote powerplant rated at 412 horsepower, or a supercharged version that spins out 630 hp. That means the truck can be serviced at any Ford dealership.
Power meets pavement via custom-cut billet wheels. Thirteen-inch brake rotors provide stopping power.
Although the dash retains its original design, Stroud uses gauges from the Ford King Ranch pickup and installs adjustable, high-back bucket seats and a custom center console, along with air conditioning.
Stroud admits that he decided to offer the customized trucks without doing formal market research.
“I didn’t do my homework,” he said, adding that he already had the tooling to build the chassis and suspension components from previous custom-vehicle builds. “It just seemed to make sense.”
But now that he’s already exceeded his initial production goals, how many X-100s does he expect to build?
“I’m hoping to do 15 over the next five to six years,” he said, adding that, “We haven’t done anything overseas yet.”
“Fifty-six is the most desirable year of the pickups,” he said, adding that classic American car enthusiasts in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Dubai are potential customers for the X-100.
And, he said, even if he only sells three of the trucks, it’s provided great advertising for his shop: “I’ve already gotten two other jobs from people who saw the X-100.”
For more information, visit the www.bodiestroud.com website.
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.