1951 Ford F-1 "Lucille"

Lucille is powered by a small block Chevrolet V8, a GM turbo 350 transmission and a GM 10 bolt rear axle with 3:73 gears (with posi). Some of her highlights include Cragar SS wheels with Cooper Cobra tires, a Heidt's Mustang II front coil suspension kit with power rack and pinion steering, two inch lowered body, custom installed interior lighting, an mp3/CD player (with four speakers), seat belts, power windows, custom made heater, an aluminum triple core radiator with a 2600 cfm electric cooling fan. Oak bed slats with stainless steel in the bed, and tinted windows.

 

 

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Lucille wears her new Cragar Super Sport Wheels

When I was seventeen I bought my first car, it was a 1972 El Camino. It came with aluminum slot wheels but I always wanted Cragar S/S wheels, they just screamed American Hot Rod. In 1964, Cragar Super Sport Wheels were introduced and became an iconic fixture in the Hot Rod world. I was thrilled to hear that they're still manufactured in California today. I phoned the professionals at Summit Racing and they ordered me a custom set to fit Lucille. Now she's rolling in the wheels I've always loved.

 


 

 

 

 

 

The suspension/steering conversion project

Lucille runs and looks great but her handling wasn't so great and the lack of power steering would not only produce Paul Teutul Sr. arms, it was a bit embarrassing when pulling into a tight parking space. Thus Heidt's Hot Rod and Muscle Car Parts manufactures a nifty Mustang II coil suspension kit complete with rack and pinion steering, (not to mention power disc brakes up front). Lucille originally came with a straight axle, leaf springs, and a manual steering box. The previous owner converted the stock drum brakes into power disc brakes via an aftermarket bolt on kit. Below are a series of photos which shows the progression of this installation. The old stock parts were removed and the new Mustang II kit was installed. I have to give a special shout out to my pal Mike at Lawson Iron Works for his welding know how and all around mechanical savvy. Also J.P.L StreetRods in PA sent me all the parts I ordered and answered our questions when they came up. We completed the upgrade and she handles and steers amazing now.

Check out the installation below.

 


 

 

Week One - We removed the front fenders, disconnected the brake lines, and steering box, Then we removed the stock front suspension in one piece. We sold it all to a guy who is building a late model Oldsmobile gasser. While we could get to the engine, we removed the exhaust manifolds and valve covers so we could sandblast and paint them. It was also a good time to change the water pump, upper and lower radiator hoses, water pump, spark plugs, and a few other parts under the hood.

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Week Two - Once we removed all the old parts, we boxed in the frame rails and positioned the new cross member. We supported the engine until we could fabricate new motor mount supports.

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Week Three - We welded the cross member into position as well as the shock/spring towers. We also fashioned new motor mount supports and welded them into place. we left an opening in the drivers side mount so we could feed the steering rack through it. The exhaust manifolds were installed with the freshly painted valve covers. Finally, a fresh coat of brushed on black paint finished the day.

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Week Four - We installed the freshened up battery holder (I welded up a new battery tray and welded it onto the old mounting bracket) and put in place. Then the fun part of installing the upper and lower A-arms, coil springs, spindles, rotors, and rack were performed. We also installed the new spark plugs, radiator hoses, wires, and water pump.

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Week Five - Once we installed the brake lines, and started to install the sway bar and steering linkage, we were able to place the truck down on the floor and measure up the wheel alignment. It will need a professional wheel alignment but we have it to the point where we can drive it to the alignment shop.

 

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Week Six - We welded up the electric cooling fan brackets and bolted the fan into place (the fan came out of a 1982 Chevy Citation). We also finished welding the steering linkage and fabricated a hime joint bracket (which will stop the steering linkage from binding up). Next, we finished bolting up the sway bar. Finally, we bled the front brakes and we installed the power steering pump. We ended up replacing the crankshaft pulley and the water pump pulley so next week we can install the steering, alternator, & water pump belts.

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Week Seven - We installed and adjusted the belts, steering pump lines, filled the pump, and added coolant (in the radiator). Started her up and then ran her for a while. The power steering works great and there's no leaks. Next we greased the front suspension and started to reinstall the front fenders. I'm having four new tires mounted this week so next weekend, we'll finish wiring the electric radiator fan, install the drivers side fender, and we'll send her out for a wheel alignment. Almost ready for Spring!

 

 

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Week Eight - We trimmed the inner fender wells and bolted the rest of the front clip together. Next, we finished wiring up the electric radiator fan (we used a Spal wiring kit with an early 1980's Chevy Citation radiator fan), and we bolted on the wheels with the new Cooper Cobra tires mounted on them. This week she'll get a wheel alignment, we'll lower the rear suspension a few inches, give her a good cleaning and this project is a wrap.

 

 

 

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