Rob Brooks’ Patina-Skinned ’72 F-100 Lives its Life Doin’ Chores and Blowin’ Off Doors
By Scotty Lachenauer – Photography by the Author
It’s the one that got away. You know the one. The ride that brought you miles of smiles and genuine good times over the years. The one that was somehow lost to life’s ups and downs and the daily grind. The one vehicle you never should have sold, given away, or drove to its demise. It’s also the one you need back in your life—and in the worst of ways.
For many of us, that certain life-changing car or truck was the first one you sat behind the wheel in and had the opportunity to pilot down the road yourself. For Rob Brooks, of Oley, Pennsylvania, that transcendental vehicle was a stout ’72 Ford F-100. “I got my first truck when I was 16. I had a lawn business and I felt like I was living large back then. I had the truck through college, and when I eventually moved to California, I sold it. Then I proceeded to think about it constantly for the next 25 years. It was the one that got away.”
Don’t Miss Out on this: An Award Winning 1958 Ford F100
Buying the Farm
Over those years, Rob thought about doing something about filling that void that lay exposed in his hot-rod-infested heart. Luckily for him, the day finally came when the stars aligned and Rob discovered a truck that checked all the needed boxes. “I found this truck several years ago in Oregon. It was almost an exact replica of the one I used to own, so I immediately knew I had to have it in my life.”
Needless to say, Rob ponied up the cash and grabbed that Blue Oval for his very own. The truck was in reasonably good shape for its age, though it needed a few repairs to make it roadworthy. He quickly worked on the engine and brakes and then took the freshened-up Ford to the street. “I drove it around for a year or two and then decided I wanted to make it a more dependable ride, one that I could keep with me for the next 25 years.”
Rob was in no way short on ideas to improve his “new-to-him” longbedded hot rod. Of all things the F-100 needed to make it more dependable, a powertrain upgrade was first on the list. “We have a Sunday breakfast group made up of mechanics and car enthusiasts, and I mentioned an engine swap to the guys. One member said, ‘Since it’s a Ford, you should put a Coyote in it.’ We all laughed at that idea, but then I googled it that night and started to dream about the restoration.”
So, with that idea tucked in the back of his cranium, Rob moved forward with his dream rebuild of the F-100. One major hurdle to clear was the fact that Rob already had two projects taking up all the space in his garage. He realized the logical thing to do was to look for a dependable shop to help transform his mild-mannered truck into a full-out street bruiser and farm-fresh cruiser.
“I was preparing myself to ship the truck off to a restoration facility when I came across a shop only a few miles away from my farm that had experience with Coyote swaps. So, I called Mark Denlinger at Steel Town Garage in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, and made an appointment to review my ride with him personally.” The guys then met up and Rob got a tour of the extensive Steel Town shop. Then they discussed Rob’s initial thoughts on the build, which included the Coyote Swap and a five-speed transmission installation. Rob also stated that he wanted to leave the patina’d exterior as-is since this truck was going to be his weekend ride, and a vehicle to help run errands on the farm.
Denlinger took in all of Rob’s ideas and came up with a game plan to deliver a truck that hit on all his bullet points. That would include placing the truck on a brand-new, modern chassis, which would help this F-100 handle the curves like it was built on ’rails. The interior would be freshened up, and of course the Ford would receive some major mechanical upgrades and some bling at all four corners. Game on!
Coyote-Swapped First Gen Ford F100: The Evolution of The Covington Customs-Built 1953 Ford F100
Once the truck rolled into Steel Town the fun began. The body was removed from the original chassis in lieu of its new skeleton. “When Rob commissioned the build, the first thing we did was order up a Roadster Shop standard-height SPEC chassis. It features a parallel four-link rear suspension, Baer disc brakes on all four corners, and is equipped front and back with a quartet of Fox coilovers,” Denlinger states.
Once the suspension was set, the next step was to order up the “motorvation” of this here ride. A Gen 3 Coyote pushing out a stellar 460 hp was purchased from Ford Performance. It was paired with a TREMEC TKX five-speed package sourced from Hanlon Motorsports. That potent powertrain up front feeds the horsies to a Strange Engineering heavy-duty 9-inch Truetrac posi out back, which is stuffed with 3.90 gears. Spent gases are sent rearward by a set of headers from Ultimate Headers and then channeled through a pair of Borla Pro XS mufflers by way of a custom 2 ½-inch stainless exhaust built by Steel Town themselves.
The interior was built off the original seat, which was previously recovered in fresh vinyl. “We then went in and covered the floor and inner firewall with DEI Boom Mat to keep the noise down and then finished it off with rubber matting to give the truck that ‘daily hire’ look,” Denlinger says. A Hurst shifter, built with a Lokar boot and trim ring, gets this ride through the gears. The gauge package is a direct-fit RTX unit from Dakota Digital. Heat and A/C are supplied by a Vintage Air unit. The tilt column was sourced from ididit and is topped off with a Billet Specialties “Classic” half-wrap steering wheel. This enhanced setup helps keep this ride pointed in the right direction.
Other add-ons include a massive aluminum radiator with dual electric fans from Fat Fender Garage and a set of new “smoked” glass, which encases the cockpit. For some bling at the corners, Rob chose Billet Specialties Bonneville Gs. They are 20×8 out front and 20×10 in the rear wrapped in Yokohama Parada sport truck tires, 245/45/20 and 275/45/20 respectively.
Read More: Sepulveda’s Snow White 1957 Chevy 3100
The build took just about five months to complete from start to finish. Once the modifications were complete, Rob put the F-100 through the ringer, both back on the farm and out on the street. “I look forward to anytime I can take the Farm Truck out, as it’s a ton of fun to drive. It’s a true sleeper; it may look like at ’72 F-100, but its powerful response and handling challenge any performance car I have driven.”
Denlinger also shared his opinion on this restomodded, farm-bred ride. “Everyone in the shop was excited to turn this old truck into a modern, pro-touring machine. Everything about this truck is brand new and modern under the hood and underneath. It’s definitely a surprise to people when they see the truck for the first time. The patina throws them for a loop. It’s a full build under the old skin.”
Thanks go out from Rob to the ones who helped along the way.” I want to thank my buddy Pete Bosler who suggested the Coyote swap. I big thank you goes out to [Denlinger], Vince, and all the guys down at Steel Town Garage for a first-class experience and an awesome build. The truck turned out better than I dreamt it. It’s a work of art, and a real head-turner, too.”
Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of FARM AID.