Jeff Jones’ ’51 Ford F-1 Custom

By Chadly Johnson   –   Photography by the Author

In our current world of social media, we are allowed to glance into the shops of builders from around the world. If you have a teenager in your life you may know how annoying this technology can be, but when harnessed properly it can be used to both motivate and inspire your own personal build. I kept tabs on the build of this ’51 F-1 by Jeff Jones of Monroe Center, Illinois, through social media. I was intrigued during the metal and bodywork phases, but when Jeff laid down the perfect tone of blue on the Ford’s massaged body I knew I had to see it in person. The ’51 made its debut at the Vintage Torque Fest show, one of the Midwest’s premier traditional hot rod events. As soon as I laid eyes on it, my camera trigger finger started twitching and I couldn’t wait for the photoshoot, utilizing downtown Dubuque, Iowa, as the perfect backdrop.

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02 Driver Side 1951 F1 Ford

Read More: 1950 Ford F-1: Iconic Style With 4BT Diesel Power

Jeff and I chatted during the photo set and I learned that he was introduced to classic cars by his father who built cars on the side for extra money. Jeff and his brother were mostly tool gofers, but it sparked a passion for old iron at a young age. In fact, by age 14, he and his brother were attending college autobody courses while only in early high school. Jeff’s first car was a ’64 Chevy II, then he took a left turn during the mini-trucking era but eventually found his way back to classic cars again with his first full build being a ’63 Chevy II convertible. Several builds later resulted in the ’51 F-1 you see gracing these pages … let’s take a deeper look.

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04 Custom Rear End 1951 F1 Ford

I always find the question of “how did you acquire the project” to be interesting as it results in a variety of answers. In Jeff’s case, it was trade work for a paintjob on a ’66 mustang. The previous owner of the truck received it as a 40th birthday gift from his wife (sounds like a pretty rad lady.) The truck was quickly blown apart but then sat disassembled and idle in a barn for the next 10 years. A “project for paint” deal was struck, and Jeff loaded up the F-1.

10 Custom Front End 1951 F1 Ford

Read More: Legacy Series: Pat Ganahl’s ‘56 Ford F100

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Once the forgotten relic was in Jeff’s possession, he got busy, starting with the suspension. A proper stance and smooth ride were accomplished by a combination of a Mustang II up front, and a four-bar out back, both assisted by airbags on all four corners. When it came to motivation Jeff did some more trade work, this time paintwork on a ’62 Ford Falcon in exchange for a ’68 Ford 302 and an AOD transmission out of a Crown Vic. The combination makes for smooth and reliable cruising.

18 Custom Interior 1951 F1 Ford

Body-wise the cab was solid, but it needed floor and tunnel modifications to allow for the new driveline. Instead of fixing the very rough fenders and running boards Jeff opted for fiberglass replacements to save a ton of labor and time. Jeff built the truck bed himself and raised the floor height to accommodate for the air-ride suspension. The body was also treated to a host of subtle touches, such as hidden hinges in the tailgate, tucking the bumpers tighter to the body, and hiding the air-ride controls where the radio would have been. Custom bullets were also made to accent and create flow throughout the truck from the hubcaps to components underhood.

22 Custom Bed Wood 1951 F1 Ford

Read More: Ross Meyers’ Cloaked LS Equipped F100 Flareside

Jeff has always been drawn to the paint side of car building and seems to have a natural ability to lay down perfect coats. When it came to the F-1 he wanted to stick with a factory color, primarily due to the ease of touchup … which is not something everyone takes into consideration until you pick up your first rock chip. Ironically, Jeff found the perfect tone of blue in a factory Toyota Prius color called “Sea Glass Pearl.” I never would have put the two together but the paint color took the Ford from a really nice truck to a true showstopper.

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Jeff Jones’ ’51 Ford F-1 Custom.

ctp january 2024

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