1965 Ford F100 – A Workin’ Man’s Muscle Truck
Each morning in the hi tech, Tesla-rich territory of Menlo Park, California, John Laporga cuts through the clutter with his brilliant blue 1965 Ford F100. In this region of Apple, Google, Twitter and Facebook’s world domination, John and his Ford are firmly weighted at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Surrounded by millions of millennials writing code, John happily works with his hands building steam engines and other varieties of piston-powered machines. He wears overalls and a Stroker cap. His mechanical engineering degree and decades-long affinity for vintage American iron have forged his identity. Maybe it was also that 1954 Ford Customline he bought at 18 years of age that had something to do with it too.
Growing up in Santa Maria on California’s central coast, John was exposed to car culture at a young age. “I’ve always been a lowrider and custom guy,” he said. “I grew up driving customs, motorcycles and going to shows like the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals in Paso Robles. I just like cool, old cars and bikes.”
He knows how to find them too. When he does plug into web browsers, you can find him on eBay Motors Craigslist and Summitracing.com. Three years ago on Craigslist, he came across this blue F100 for a square price. Turns out, it was built as a father & son project as the kid’s first set of wheels. John worked a deal and within an hour was driving West in his latest project.
“It had a lot of potential, the father and son painted it this 1990s era Ford Bimini Blue in their barn and they did a really good job,” he pointed out. They had also lowered the truck with DJM spindles and relocated the rear spring perches. Other than that, John needed to make the truck his own.
He yanked the 390c.i. V8 and C4 trans from the 1965 Ford F100 then prepped a 302c.i. V8 he had in storage. He went on somewhat of a Summit Racing spending spree and bolted on a set of Edelbrock aluminum heads, finned valve covers, intake, roller rockers and cam, and a big Holley carb to get the V8 where he wanted it. Then came a T5 transmission to finish off the drive train. Next, John ditched the prior owner’s mufflers (too loud for his taste) and bolted up a set of old school Thrush glass packs for what he calls a “Sweet sound.”
A much-needed wheel swap was next for the 1965 Ford F100. Craigslist to the rescue again! John quickly located a set of 15-inch steelies then got to work painting them Wimbledon white – a perfect contrast to the Bimini Blue. At a swap meet, he found a set of ’64 Galaxie hubcaps which more than fit the bill. With a new heart, and some proper rolling stock all that was left (for now) was the interior.
Five rolls of Dynamat were laid down to quiet down the 52 year old cab. The factory vinyl bench seat is holding up well, so no need to cover it for now. The headliner is next but John hasn’t gotten to it yet. A new stereo pumps out 60s jump & jive tunes. All of this adds up to a cool vintage ride not seen very often on the San Francisco peninsula.
John’s Ford truck was built to drive. Drive daily that is. If he leaves it at home, he rides his 1963 Triumph (which he built entirely from parts he had lying around) to work. When he needs to wrench on the bike at the machine shop, he loads it into the back of the Ford for the full retro treatment. It looks right at home in the rubber-lined bed.
Trucks and vintage machines like John’s 1965 Ford F100 stand out like a beacon in our ultra-modern world. They offer a magical glimpse of what American automobiles looked like and sounded like before ECU’s and catalytic converters took over. As you might imagine, he gets more than his share of thumbs up. In fact, during our photo shoot, a man and his little boy rode by on bicycles. The youngster slowed down and looked at John’s pickup with magic in his eyes. “Wow…That’s a really nice truck,” the boy said. And that right there is how it starts for car guys. A fleeting impression that for some lasts a lifetime.