“Betsy” – Mark Bell’s 1962 Ford F100 Unibody
There is just something mystifying about an old truck sitting out in a field. Mark Bell discovered this attraction at just 13 when he wore down a path of weeds surrounding this ’62 Ford F100 unibody that had literally been put out to pasture. Mark was working for the farmer all summer and when he was finished for the year, the farmer told him to bring a dollar the next day and he’d give up the title.
The next day, Mark bought his first truck – and still has it 38 years later!
As you can tell, the Ford has changed a bit since Mark dragged it out of the field and got it running. The ol’ unibody known as Betsy served Mark well through high school, camping, courting his soon-to-be wife, Diane, and general chores farm trucks were built to do. Eventually, a backfire caused an underhood fire and relegated the truck to the sidelines.
Years later, Mark decided it was time for Betsy to rise again, but the end result would be the farthest thing from a work truck. To achieve Mark’s vision, he turned to the team at Kenny’s Rod Shop in Boise, Idaho.
An all-new suspension system was in order to give the truck a stronger foundation. This included a PorterBuilt front suspension and a custom rear setup by KRS, all supported by an AirLift system. A Dutchman-built 9-inch was incorporated along with Wilwood discs capped with Intro Wheels wrapped in Toyo rubber.
After weighing driveline options, Mark decided on a 6.2-liter Chevrolet Performance LS3 crate engine, but keeping it stock just wouldn’t do for Betsy. A higher lift cam along with other top end upgrades were made, along with a trick Borla 8-Stack injection system for fuel delivery. In the end, Unparalleled Performance tuned the system to produce over 530 horsepower!
Before receiving a final custom blend of PPG paint, a serious amount of custom work commenced, including shortening the bed, fabbing a custom tailgate, stretching the doors 3-inches, shaving the drip rails, reshaping the grille area, flush mounting the glass, and much more.
The interior follows suit with a custom lower dash panel, hidden stereo, and beautiful Italian leather and suede upholstery performed by Ron Mangus Interiors.
The entire build took seven years to complete but it was worth the wait to see Betsy back on the road as never before. Congratulations to KRS for earning a Chevrolet Performance GM Retro Iron Builder of the Year finalist nod during the 34th West Coast Nationals!
Photos by Steven Bunker