Classic Recollections: 1966 Ford F-100

  • 1966 Ford F-100 pickup truck

    1966 Ford F-100 pickup truck Photos Courtesy of Prestige MotorCar Photography

  • After seeing a friend's finished truck, Dean Gagliardotto of Prospect Heights decided to restore his own 1966 Ford F-100 pickup.

    After seeing a friend's finished truck, Dean Gagliardotto of Prospect Heights decided to restore his own 1966 Ford F-100 pickup.

  • Prior to the restoration, the F-100 had mismatched doors and half its engine was gone.

    Prior to the restoration, the F-100 had mismatched doors and half its engine was gone.

  • Gagliardotto chased down another driver to get the paint code when he saw the perfect red he wanted for his Ford F-100.

    Gagliardotto chased down another driver to get the paint code when he saw the perfect red he wanted for his Ford F-100.

  • The truck's factory 353-cubic-inch V-8 engine was replaced with a 1969 Ford 429 rebuilt by Fast Times Motorworks in Morton Grove.

    The truck's factory 353-cubic-inch V-8 engine was replaced with a 1969 Ford 429 rebuilt by Fast Times Motorworks in Morton Grove.

  • While much of the interior is original, the bench seat received new, ultra-suede upholstery.

    While much of the interior is original, the bench seat received new, ultra-suede upholstery.

 
By Matthew Avery
Special to the Daily Herald
Posted4/2/2012 6:00 AM

Starting a four-wheeled project can be an arduous undertaking. However, nothing motivates and inspires a hot rodder more than seeing a friend's completed creation.

Not only does this breed excitement and creativity, but it also fosters a spirit of friendly competition -- a key ingredient for getting the job done once the years roll by and the dollars add up. That's how Dean Gagliardotto was able to restore his 1966 Ford F-100.

 

"I saw my buddy Dave's finished '66 pickup and thought, 'I'd love to have one, put it together and make it better than his,' " the Prospect Heights resident said.

As it turned out, Gagliardotto didn't have to look long or far; Dave owned four other unrestored '66 F-100s.

"I looked at this one, pictured it done right, and bought it," Gagliardotto said.

The truck he started off with was far from road-ready. "The front right corner was smashed, the doors were different colors and half the engine was missing," he recalls.

Gagliardotto dragged the heap to his home garage and with the help of his wife and three sons, began disassembly. They took the mismatched doors, fenders and hood off with the simple intention of getting everything back to the overall red and white color scheme and completing some minor motor work.

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That outlook changed once those parts were stripped off and the cab was gutted. Gagliardotto realized he "wasn't that far off from doing the whole thing," so he declared a ground-up restoration was a go.

The interior received tan ultra-suede upholstery, while still utilizing factory components such as the seat frame, dash pad, instrumentation and even the cardboard headliner backing. Since Dave's classic truck was painted in the stock '66 Ivy Green paint, Gagliardotto wanted something different.

"While on the tollway, I spied a late-model Ford Ranger Splash pickup and knew the red would look stunning with the chrome moldings on my truck," he said. So Gagliardotto chased the driver down and retrieved the paint code to secure his personal choice in color.

Under the hood of Dave's hauler was a beefed up 390-cubic-inch V-8, leading Gagliardotto to toss his factory 353 c.i. engine in favor of a 1969 Ford 429, built by Fast Times Motorworks in Morton Grove. His reasoning was simple, and goes back to that friendly rivalry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Once my truck was done I wanted to beat Dave on the road."

A C6 transmission handles the engine's 420 horsepower and 440 foot-pounds of torque. The project took nearly ten years to complete but the final result was greatly rewarding.

"To take this down to nothing but a frame and a million bolts in a bucket and put it back together without being a trained mechanic and have this? You just can't beat that feeling," Gagliardotto said.

He isn't shy about enjoying his prize F-100, frequenting the Mount Prospect, Palatine and Skokie cruise nights throughout the summer months. With Gagliardotto's classic cruiser complete, naturally the question remains: how does he think his ride compares to Dave's?

"I prefer this truck; I built it after all," he said. "But at the end of the day they're both still Ford trucks. As long as they're not Chevys, we're OK."

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