Extended Cab ’56 Ford Fits Tasso Romnio Just Right
By Scotty Lachenauer – Photography by the Author
Have you ever just fallen in love with a particular model ride but realized that it just wasn’t meant to be? Tasso Romnios had an experience like that and somehow got a grip on how to make it all work out in his favor. “One day at a car show I sat in a beautiful ’56 Ford F-100. The truck was for sale, and I was interested. So, I jumped in and sat down. I then realized that I barely had room for my body, especially my knees. It wasn’t going to work for me. I loved the look, but just hated the way I felt in it!”
But that issue didn’t deter Tasso from getting the truck of his dreams. “I had just turned 40 and hadn’t played around with any cars or trucks for quite a few years, as ‘life’ just got in the way. I needed a project for sure. It took a few years, but I found a nice, restorable ’56 F-100 in Kentucky. So, I hit the road, saw it in person, and bought it on the spot.” Once it was back in Jersey, the wheels started turning in Tasso’s head. To make this truck work with his lengthy torso, he knew there was only one thing he could do. Stretch it.
Unfortunately, Tasso didn’t have a body shop full of the things he needed to bend, stretch, and twist metal, so he did the next best thing and devised a plan to work around it. “I figured I would go out and get a donor truck to make it all happen. That took seven months, but I found a perfect cab in North Carolina.” Back on the road he went and 42 hours later he was home with another F-100 in his garage. Now it was time for some fabrication.
To build the truck the way he wanted it, Tasso figured it was simple. “I would extend the cab by adding in parts of the donor truck. That would keep the fabrication time down and I wouldn’t have to source the tools needed as if I was doing it from scratch.” So, Tasso started his build by splitting the “Kentucky” cab right down the lateral center, since it was the cab in better condition. “I then took 4 inches out of the donor truck from the same location and added it to the doors, floorpans, running boards, and top. After that I added 4 inches from the donor truck’s frame to the Kentucky truck. That completed the lengthening of the cab and chassis.”
Next, Tasso pancaked the hood 2 inches for the look he was after. He also added 2 inches to the back end of the cab top and rounded the door edges for a smooth look. Once that was completed, he stepped back and gave it the once-over. Happy with the way it turned out he then turned his attention to the powerplant that would propel this F-100 down his local roadways.
Another Beautiful F-100: A Hot Rodded Build to Honor his Father’s Ford F-100 pickup
“I was always a big Mustang fan when I was younger, so I decided to combine my two favorite Fords to get the best of both worlds. I sourced a Gen 1 Coyote engine with just 35,000 miles, as well as its matching six-speed trans. Only hitch was that it was in North Carolina.” So as Willie Nelson says, it was back “On the Road Again” for Tasso. It all worked out, and he had the powertrain to back up his modernized F-100 build.
Once he had the power, he then needed to upgrade the “control and stopping power” of his bedded hot rod. “As a proud Blue Oval guy, I wanted to use Ford parts. So, when I came across an ’04 Mustang SVT independent rear suspension, I figured it would be a great fit for this restomod. Up front I didn’t want to use the run-of-the-mill Crown Vic frontend, so I went with a Heidts Mustang II IFS with 11-inch discs and installed 6-inch Brembos for stopping power. For me that was the easiest part of the build.”
Once most of the mechanicals were finished off, the toughest part of the build was ahead. “What color do I paint it? What about the interior?” At first Tasso wrestled with the idea of painting it black with a custom distressed brown leather interior. “That didn’t excite me much. I just couldn’t make a decision.”
Color My World
Then it happened. “One night I took my wife out. Let’s face it, fabricating a truck is expensive and keeping your wife happy so she doesn’t complain about the cost is also expensive. So, I took her to an amazing restaurant with a beautiful view. She was wearing a stunning metallic gray dress and her new Louboutins. As she leaned against the bar, the color of the dress against the color of the red bottom shoes looked fantastic as she posed for a picture. That was it, I had my inspiration!”
The only thing left was to color match the paint to the wardrobe and design the interior. “As far as exterior color, I used a gray metallic/pearl that turns black as the sun sets. When it came to the interior I needed seats, and since I am always comfortable in my ’12 F150, I decided to use the same ones.” Tasso then had 3 inches taken out of the height of the seats so they would be the same height as the big back window. He then hired the Fish Brothers Upholstery in Hillburn, New York, to build the custom console, door panels, and finish off the interior upholstery. “That was a great choice. They used red leather (Scarface) with matching perforated leather accents in the seats and door panels. The stitching was done to perfection and great care was taken to ensure every cut and detail was spot-on.”
To finish off the look he was after, Tasso chose 20-inch Shelby Mustang rims at the corners, shod in BFGoodrich 27/40-20 rubber to get the look he was after. Out back, exotic Zebra wood was used for the bed and stained red to match the amazing interior on this ride. Classic Instruments supplied the modern six-gauge electronic gauge pack, and Vintage Air supplies the HVAC for some heavy cruising. As for the finished product, Tasso couldn’t be happier. “I don’t go lightly on this truck. I drive it like I stole it!”
Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Stretch Marks.