Camaro-ize the F-100 Frontend
By: Don Emmons
The bulk of rebuilding projects on early trucks includes a frontend swap of a straight-axle for an independent-front-suspension unit from a late-model donor car. There are a number of ways to change over to a double A-arm setup these days. To get started either scrounge salvage yards or use one of the aftermarket units available for nearly any early truck. Chevy and Ford owners have many options. Several companies produce IFS kits. You might also install a 70s model car front clip, which will provide a better ride and bring the truck down to a respectable height.
We stopped by Bobco in Lake Elsinore, California, to follow a front end changeover on a '56 ford F-100. Bobco specializes in the modification and restoration of early trucks and cars. A late '78 Camaro front clip had been selected for the swap. With this swap you add an IFS with better steering, disc brakes and the desired ride height. You can select the ideal height to avoid experiencing the harsh ride of the lowered vehicles of by-gone days. Simply set the Camaro front suspension to suit your taste and enjoy the ride that was stock to the Camaro. What could be better than a low stance, a better ride, better steering and better brakes? The changeover does require some work but pays real dividends by rejuvenating the early truck for your enjoyment.
We can't say this project is a real quickie. The requirements include welding and the proper equipment to handle cutting, welding and finishing off the heavy-gauge steel with accuracy. How the truck drives and rides is at stake, so if you don't feel competent to do this kind of work, you may want to enlist a local shop to do the job. We hope that this article will serve as a guideline.
Another critical part of this swap is the process of reattaching the front section of the F-100 frame to the Camaro front clip. The front portion that's reused is very important, as it will be the front cross member/core support. The front cross member holds the bumper brackets. The core support carries the front body pieces. The pieces bolt to the cab and the support and must be placed in the exact spots as they were originally. Otherwise, the pieces will not match up, thus causing extra work in aligning the front sheet metal.
Mike Biggs at Bobco gave us step-by-step instruction on the exact procedures used by his company on changeover for early trucks. Here he shows exactly what's required to do the job properly.
***Article/Images Used with Permission from Custom & Classic Truck Magazine***