The 1960’s-era pickups are more popular than ever. But finding one that’s unique, and built without an unlimited budget can be a challenge. When we heard about Joe Bergquist’s 1966 Ford F-100 that has a 7.3-liter Power Stroke swapped in, it caught our attention. What we didn’t expect to see was a custom-built, lowered classic Ford F-100 pickup. It’s one of those trucks that the longer you stare at, the more detail you see.
Over the years, Joe has owned a few different unconventional rides. This time around he wanted to build an old farm truck with one prerequisite, “it had to have good patina” Joe says. After hours of searching, he found this custom-built truck and snatched it up after a quick trip to Iowa. The truck was originally built by its previous owner Shane Sherman of HM Auto Body Restoration & Repair in Williamsburg, Iowa. Since this was a completed frame-up build, all Joe needed to do was add some small, finishing touches and assign its nickname, “Warchief.”
The steering and suspension were upgraded to utilize a Crown Vic frontend, a very common upgrade for these older Ford trucks. An air ride suspension from Ridetech keeps it riding smooth and helps tuck the wheels deep into the fenders when parked. The rear frame has a custom C-notch with a Ford 9-inch rear axle and 2.75 gears. Disc brakes are found at all four corners along with a hydraulic brake booster setup.
The interior was kept functional and comfortable with a set of seats from a mid-1990s Ford pickup. A Dakota Digital gauge cluster and Autometer gauges give him all the monitoring necessary for Power Stroke. Entertainment is handled by a RetroSound head unit and iPod mount, as well as Rockford Fosgate speakers and amplifiers. If weather requires a windows-up driving scenario, it’s equipped with air conditioning and a heater.
The Ford F-100 exterior has some slight changes, but nothing that takes away from its character. The white paint is original and the red was touched up with some cans of Colonial flat red, followed up with some custom pinstriping. With the paintwork handled, Joe then replaced all of the emblems, handles, and trim.
When Joe purchased the truck, he admits he did not know a ton about diesel engines. But knew enough to be a fan of the 7.3-liter Power Stroke. He also says, “I really enjoy matching power plants, and having a Ford diesel is a bonus. There are so many Cummins swaps and LS swaps out there, I knew this would be different.” He isn’t wrong!
In stock form, the 7.3 is known for its reliability but isn’t exactly a powerhouse. That’s why he relied on his friend, Tyler Tharp, of 701 Diesel in Bismarck, North Dakota. Tyler helped point him in the right direction for upgrades and perform some of the installations. In order to allow Joe to do smoky burnouts at will, he needed to add two things, more air and fuel.
Fuel is filled through the Phillips 66 oil can in the bed of the truck for a custom touch. A FASS 140GPH lift pump sends clean fuel to the engine. A Driven Diesel fuel bowl delete regulated-return system ensures adequate fuel pressure to all eight Swamps Diesel Stage 1 fuel injectors. The charged air system was converted to the late-1999 setup using a set of bellowed up-pipes, KC Turbos KC300X turbocharger, AFE intake manifold, Riff Raff Diesel intake plenum, and a Mishimoto intercooler.
To help cool things off and give a slight bump in power is a stage three water-methanol injection kit from Snow Performance. A DP-Tuner provides the tuning Joe needs to get decent fuel economy, and also offers the ability to turn up the juice for a burnout session. We doubt any towing tunes made it on that chip!
Uncovering cool trucks like Joe’s is great and we really enjoy hearing what the owner’s favorite thing is about their ride. When we asked Joe, he has this to say, “I’ve really enjoyed this journey with the truck. Nothing compares to the ride and comfort this truck has. Also, nothing compares to the awesome sound a 7.3-liter Power Stroke makes! I’ve driven it on a 700-mile trip and had no problems with it. Gosh, I love it!”
Having experienced North Dakota’s wicked cold in the winter we can only assume driving the F-100 is very seasonal. But when the cold breaks, you can bet the rear tires are in for a beating.
Do you want to see more Reader’s Rigs? So do we. This is a new column DieselArmy.com will be putting together and we need your help. If you would like to share yours, we want to hear about it — we can never get enough. If you want to see more trucks built by you the readers, send a few pictures of your rig showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].