Introduced in 1948, the Ford F1 was a hit with customizers and hot rodders right from the start. Owner and builder, Byron Geldenhuys had his eye on this particular 1948 Ford F1 Pickup for some time. It was standing at a local repair shop for several years- just a bare body begging to be reborn.
Owner Byron Geldenhuys
Photos by Ivan Mostert
Article by Ashley Thompson
He dug a little deeper into the truck’s history and discovered that it was originally found in the arid Northern Cape, which explains the F1’s irreplicable natural patina. Byron had owned other muscle cars before, but he decided it was time to build something with a few more curves. After some tough negotiations, he was finally able to convince the previous owner to part with the F1 and they shook on a deal. Much like Dr Frankenstein, Byron built this F1 in the secrecy of his laboratory (aka his garage). The body was badly dented in places and the roof was torn wide open. So Byron enlisted the help of welding specialist Matthew Craney.
The dents were hammered straight, the rusted sections repaired and the repairs aged to blend in with the original patina. One of the standout repairs on this truck is the stitch-like welding work done to the torn roof skin. This is why the truck was aptly named ‘Frankenstein’. The body is mated to a customized Ford Courier chassis. The chassis dimensions were modified to ensure the imported 15”
Smoothie wheels are perfectly centred in the arches. The body has also been modified to sit lower on the chassis, giving the truck its low stance without any modifications done to the stock Courier suspension.
The truck sports an array of custom touches to the exterior, such as the ‘NOT Powered by Ford’ valve cover plate added to the bodywork. The ‘39 Ford taillights are custom fitted to the rear fenders and the natural Rhodesian Teak wooden load bed.
The F1 is powered by a modern GM 5.3L LM7 Vortec V8 paired to a 4-speed 4L60E transmission. The power is delivered to the rear wheels through a Nissan NP300 differential. Geared for a perfect balance of off-the-line acceleration and open road cruising. The 5.3L V8 is kept cool thanks to the upgraded triple-core aluminium radiator and electric cooling fan setup. Fuel delivery from the custom aluminium fuel tank to the engine is taken care of by a Mr Turbo high-performance electric fuel pump.
The unmistakable V8 rumble can be heard miles away thanks to the custom-made stainless headers and exhaust system.
The interior is beautifully finished and contrasts well against the weather-worn exterior. The interior panels and dash are colour-matched to the F1’s original light green paintwork. The earth tones of upholstery compliment the patinaed exterior perfectly. The bench seat was sourced from a later model pickup and upholstered in luxurious sandy brown leather, while the floors received a darker tone of plush brown carpeting.
The interior also sports many subtle customizations, such as the Grant classic wood steering wheel. As well as the custom Frankenstein shifter and an electronic instrument cluster to name just a few.
This ’48 Ford may be an amalgamation of many different components – a Frankenstein if you will. But it all comes together in perfect synergy… and the result is one seriously hot rod!