Backward 1952 Ford F-1 pickup redefines the term ‘reverse engineering’

By Ronan Glon | Autoblog

Don’t panic if you see a classic Ford pickup speeding backwards on the outskirts of Indianapolis. It’s a custom-made, Bizarro World-inspired model built by retired IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton.

Building a backwards truck is more difficult than simply popping the body off the frame and swapping it around. Hamilton explained sourcing a suitable project was the first challenge, because many classic trucks had a small rear window that wouldn’t have provided enough visibility. His dad helped him find an unrestored, 1952 Ford F-1 (the modern-day F-150’s predecessor) that wasn’t too far gone to save, and that had a relatively big rear window. Decades of patina make it even cooler.

All of the body mounts were modified, and Hamilton carved a new footwell into the back of the cab. Inside, there’s a pair of seats from a Polaris RZR, and an aluminum dashboard made by the racer’s dad. While everything fits, those who fall into the big and/or tall category might not.

There’s plenty of space in the F-1’s cargo box to house a Chevrolet small block 350 V8, but the full metal tailgate blocked any and all airflow. Installing a grille was out of the question, the truck needed to look as stock as possible, so Hamilton drilled four holes in the tailgate and installed a massive radiator behind it. The eight-cylinder sips fuel from a racing fuel cell mounted under the hood. It’s reportedly easy to drive all things considered, and Hamilton intrepidly reached 85 mph in it.

He said the truck turns heads everywhere it goes, and it’s easy to see why; we’d do a double-take, too. It has inevitably captured the attention of local law enforcement officers, but there’s nothing they can fine him for. It’s still registered as a 1952 Ford F-1, and it’s fully street legal. It has headlights, brake lights, turn signals, a mirror mounted on the b-pillar and even a pair of windshield wipers that poke out from the side of what was formerly the rear window. Besides, as Hamilton pointed out, “there’s nowhere in the rule book that says where the body is supposed to go.”

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