Retired Mechanic Puts a Shine on Classic Ford Trucks

001_Hagen_1956_Fords_Highway_Smith II

By Bruce W. Smith

During a recent drive we came upon shiny "roll-back" car hauler carrying a beautiful 1956 Ford F-100 chained to the aluminum deck. Initially we thought the old classic pickup truck was headed to a repair shop or being taken to its new owner.

Rolling past the car hauler, however, we noticed it was a classic too: a '56 C-Series cab-over-engine flawlessly painted to match the pickup on its deck. For those who might not know, both are from their respective model's last year of production.

After doing some research, we found the owner of both trucks: John Hagen of from Eugene, Ore. Hagen, a retired diesel mechanic and former sprint car driver, is respected among classic truck and car owners in the Eugene area and known as the go-to guy for just about any type of mechanical or customization work. He has a reputation for being knowledgeable and passionate about the work he provides.

As for the two classic Ford trucks, painted Snap-On Blueberry, he rebuilt them in the mid-'90s and occasionally drags out the soap bucket and wax to clean them up for local rod runs and car shows. But he is quick to point out they are daily drivers, built to enjoy and use.

"I fire up the big truck to haul a customer's classic vehicle to the shop when they break down and to take my little truck to the shows," Hagen said. "These aren't show trucks. They're just trucks that show up."

They also are fine examples of an automotive era of simplicity still appreciated by truck aficionados today.

Cars.com photos by Bruce W. Smith

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A perfectly matched pair of Ford trucks: a 1956 F-100 on a 1956 COE. John Hagen, a retired diesel mechanic and full-time classic car/truck gearhead in Eugene, Ore., rebuilt both because he loves old trucks.

009_Hagen_1956_Fords_F100_Bed_Smith II

The wood in the bed was recycled from parts laying in a junkyard. Hagen sanded and refinished the weathered and warped planks for use in his pickup. Twenty years later the bed is still in good shape for a "go" truck.

004_Hagen_1956_Fords_F100_Engine_Smith II

A stock Chevy 350 powers Hagen's classic Ford pickup, backed by a TH400 automatic transmission. "I wanted to keep things simple," Hagen said.

008_Hagen_1956_Fords_F100_Rear_Susp_Smith II

The rear suspension is Mustang, the 9-inch running 3.50 gears. "It rides and handles like a car," Hagen said.

013_Hagen_1956_Fords_COE_Engine_Smith II

The COE's engine is a 383 Chevy stroker, backed by a Turbo 400 and transfer case. The engine was built by the late Grant Springer (Grant Springer Engines), who built Hagen's sprint car motors. It has World heads and "a small cam to help it pull better at lower rpm," Hagen said.

016_Hagen_1956_Fords_COE_Rollback_Smith II

The Jerr-Dan roll-back makes it easy for Hagen to load customers' classics should they need to be taken to his shop for upgrades or repairs. It also makes it convenient to take his own '56 F-100 to rod runs and car shows.

Comments

HAHAHA Powered by a GM engine, just like pretty much every Ford 10 years old HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Who's your daddy?

Embarrassing.

Sure it's powered by Chevy. But how many of those old Chevy Rods have a Mustang II front suspension with a Ford 9 inch rear end? LMBO !!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cLxTkSGcRk

Powered By Ford.


These people use GM Engines because they are cheap and found at junk yards for $100, it's a no brainer if you'ure cheap, just ask the guy who did it.

Sweet trucks!!!

I agree. Ford vehicles should have Ford motors. I always hear the Chevy engines cheaper.

When I first started getting into cars and trucks the common saying was, "Anyone can make a Chevy engine go fast."

The SBC is an ubiquitous engine. They are simple and parts are interchangeable for generations of motors.

I personally prefer staying within a brand even if it is a resto-mod.

Ford's Y-block V8 would have been the standard engine in the F100. It's design limited how much "overbore" you could do to it plus it was known to have oil flow issues to the rocker shafts especially when modified. 1954-1964 was its production run.

Those trucks look great it is a shame the engine compartment looks like a junk yard. Not that it is a chevy engine but just the overall look of the engine compartment looks like he ran out of money and found junk yard parts to power it. I would still drive those trucks. They are very cool.

But I do agree, the engines needs to be OEM brands. Ford with Ford, chevy with chevy, dodge with dodge. But the 350 chevy is dirt cheap to buy and get parts for.

No comment.

Any wonder why small block Chevys are legendary. These Ford trucks finally get some credibility.

50 years from now, all those 1997 - 2010 model year restored Fords will finally get some credibility cause they will be running 5.3 chevy engines. No one will be wasting time and money restoring a spark plug popper 5.4 ford engine. LOL !

Just look at all these GM Crybabies, ahahahaha

http://www.chevyhardcore.com/news/ever-seen-a-ford-powered-c5-z06-vette-nows-your-chance/

On a serious note: They mostly use it because all GM engines are parts interchangeable and really priced cheap, you won't see this with Ford, but some are like that, parts interchangeable, but you don't see them Fords sitting in a pile at the junkyard.

They have plenty of restored early model Ford, GM and Chrysler Pickups in Australia
Like this 1950's unit captured on a British website
http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/photos-australia/ford_v8_truck_66.htm

Same 1956 model in a not very restored state
http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/photos-australia/ford_truck_22.htm

Hey all - I have a '93 Jeep Renegade (YJ) with the original straight 6/160 000 miles & now showing it's age; my machanic buddy said the best engine swap is a Chevy small block V8 as cheap, conversion is easier & parts are plentiful.

Can someone kindly recommend a reputable source to purchase a good reconditioned one & which engine would you recommend (sorry don't know much about chevy engines).

I've searched on the NET & seems to be many but hard to know who are trustworthy - somewhere in CAL/LA area or Vegas is preferred so I can see it for myself before purchase...

Many thanks...

Are they not so round wheel wells. Huh on a Ford no way!!!

@Frank
Come here in southern Ohio and I'll show you our local junkyard.
9 rows of Fords compared to 3 of Chevys and the rows are half a mile long.

Junk

Trucks are nice, drivetrain is junk

I like that, trucks that look good that someone actually uses, not just eye candy. I do like that model and I don't even like Fords. It's pretty cool seeing the bigger trucks being restored and actually used, probably a higher percentage of them compared to the smaller models ended up in the junkyard generations ago after having a hard life and nobody ever wanted them to restore.

but you don't see them Fords sitting in a pile at the junkyard.

Posted by: Frank | May 18, 2016 6:01:10 PM

You can thank GM for that.

@ Lionel : pick up a new crate engine from your local GM dealer. Research the engines available here:

http://www.chevrolet.com/performance/parts-catalog.html

Actually, Frank might want to check out that performance catalog so he can get a since of what he is missing being a FORD FREAK.

They use Chevy engines because parts are plentiful and they will break and they will leak. They use Ford 9inch rear end because the don't break.

Nice trucks, but ruined with the choice of engines..like an engine builder in Ohio once told a friend of mine "you can get horsepower out of a chevy, just not for long".

GMSRNOTGREAT - thanks for the GM dealer reference, had looked into that option already - they're asking too much & not in the budget for a 23 yr old jeep...I'll keep looking...

More Ford crate engines

https://performanceparts.ford.com/competition-crate-engines/Default.asp

You had me until the engine. Cheap Chevy CRAP!!

For how cobbled up that engine compartment it, it looks like something my good friend pepboys automechanic GMSRGREAT would do. Or did.

They should put a Ram engine in there then it would go fast and get better gas mileage like the Ram.

He butchered two beautiful trucks by putting chebbie garbage engines and garbage transmission. Hopefully those trucks will end up with a good owner someday and he will throw away that welfare gm(government motors) drivetrain. MILITARY GRADE!!! MILITARY GRADE !!! MILITARY GRADE !!! MILITARY GRADE !!! MILITARY GRADE !!! MILITARY GRADE !!! WOOOOOOOOOHH !!!!!

Hopefully those trucks will end up with a good owner someday and he will throw away that welfare gm(government motors) drivetrain.

Posted by: Natethegreat | May 19, 2016 9:24:38 AM

Yes, then new owners can use them as military grade lawn ornaments. LMAO!

For how cobbled up that engine compartment it, it looks like something my good friend pepboys automechanic GMSRGREAT would do. Or did.

Posted by: LMAO | May 19, 2016 7:39:48 AM

I would have dropped in a turn key 383 crate engine. I wonder if those Ford's are able to handle the torque from those chevy engines. Those trucks will probably look like pretzels in a couple more years. LOL!

Trucks look good

For how cobbled up that engine compartment it, it looks like something my good friend pepboys automechanic GMSRGREAT would do. Or did.

Posted by: LMAO | May 19, 2016 7:39:48 AM

I would have dropped in a turn key 383 crate engine. I wonder if those Ford's are able to handle the torque from those chevy engines. Those trucks will probably look like pretzels in a couple more years. LOL!


Posted by: GMSRGREAT | May 19, 2016 10:14:16 AM


Other then the GM engine being dirt cheap, they don't have an old chevy truck to put them engines in because they've rusted out and since been crushed at junk yards.

It makes sense now.

It makes sense now.

Other then the GM engine being dirt cheap, they don't have an old chevy truck to put them engines in because they've rusted out and since been crushed at junk yards.

Posted by: Frank | May 19, 2016 11:05:17 AM
Here is an opportunity for you to add some class to your lifestyle.

http://m.ebay.com/itm/152093192079

I would have dropped in a turn key 383 crate engine. I wonder if those Ford's are able to handle the torque from those chevy engines. Those trucks will probably look like pretzels in a couple more years. LOL!

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | May 19, 2016 10:14:16 AM
Unless you drop some coin into that engine it is not a torque monstet

MILITARY GRADE !!! MILITARY GRADE !!!
Oh yeah, the military has MILITARY GRADE garbage cans,
they have a blue oval on them.

Embarrassing.

Posted by: Toycrusher | May 18, 2016 3:10:46 PM

Agreed! It speaks volumes of how poorly designed Ford powertrains have been over the years.

Agreed! It speaks volumes of how poorly designed Ford powertrains have been over the years.


Posted by: GMSRGREAT | May 19, 2016 12:07:41 PM

www.stangtv.com/news/twin-turbo-ford-powered-%E2%80%9968-camaro/

www.stangtv.com/news/twin-turbo-ford-powered-%E2%80%9968-camaro/

Posted by: LMAO | May 19, 2016 12:22:32 PM

Other than the block, this a a complete aftermarket performance built engine. LOL. Plus, like the current batch of Ford engines, it needs turbos to perform. LMAO!

Other than the block, this a a complete aftermarket performance built engine. LOL. Plus, like the current batch of Ford engines, it needs turbos to perform. LMAO!


Posted by: GMSRGREAT | May 19, 2016 1:56:57 PM

Hmmmmm, is not that 383 a bunch of aftermarket parts. Heads cams who knows what else. I'm betting that small block Ford will put a huge hurting on this 383. Even without the turbos.

Hmmmmm, is not that 383 a bunch of aftermarket parts. Heads cams who knows what else. I'm betting that small block Ford will put a huge hurting on this 383. Even without the turbos.

Posted by: LMAO | May 19, 2016 2:01:21 PM

Ahh, why don't you read the links I post and educate yourself for once. Visit the link I posted above and check out the 383 crate engine offerings from GM. We all know the history on the 383 engine which was never offered as a production engine. However, the engine builder in the article knew that the 350 block and 400 crank ( all gm production parts) can power those FORD'S just fine.

In the end, the Ford engine will outlast a Chevy Engine.

http://www.powernationtv.com/post/chevy-vs-ford-engine-blowout

http://www.streetfire.net/video/kushtv-motor-blow-part-2_151725.htm



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