2016 F100 Supernationals Trip Report

As David mentioned in the original F100 post, the F100 Supernationals show is a great resource for gathering ideas and information on the F100 pickup. I’ve been going to the show with my father almost every year since 1998, and it’s been interesting to see the changes in the show and the trucks over the years. I’ve gone from taking pictures of every truck I saw that first year, to focusing mostly on interesting and novel details. I’ll share some of them here.

The Drive

1966 F100

Ready to hit the road!

This was my first year visiting the F100 Supernationals as an F100 owner. Temporarily taking leave of my senses, I decided to drive my 50 year old truck down to the show, approximately 280 miles from home. Ordinarily I can make the drive in 4 hours 45 minutes in a modern car, but I budgeted six hours in the truck. Sure enough, I used every minute of those six hours. Between the original 240ci straight six, 3-on the tree, and differential gearing in the truck, it’s best suited for cruising at 40-50MPH. I was hard pressed on the freeway, but could consistently cruise at 65MPH. This is inadvisable on Kentucky freeways, where the speed limit is 70, and going slower doesn’t win you any friends. Between minimal insulation and bad seals, the interior was not a quiet place for those six hours.

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2015 Pumpkin Run Trip Report

My son behind the wheel of the F100 on the show field.

My son behind the wheel of the F100 on the show field.

The Pumpkin Run Nationals is a classic auto show that’s held in Southern Ohio in October every year. 2015 marked the 40th annual show, and it was the first car show I entered my 66 F100 into. Not because I have any hope of winning an award with the truck, but because of the camaraderie of a bunch of like-minded car nuts all gathered in the same place.

The show typically runs Friday-Sunday, and the 2015 show was held the first weekend of October. If you know anything about Ohio weather, you know that could mean anything from frigid cold to blistering heat. For this show, Ohio decided to give us a variety. I attended the show on Saturday with my wife and kids, and experienced cold and wet coat and mitten weather. On Sunday, David and I checked out the show field after church, and sweated in T-shirts, and I came home with a mild sunburn.

The show is open to all makes and models, with the largest segment being the American Big 3: Ford Country, Bowtie Country, and Mopar Country each get their own dedicated space on the show grounds. I parked my truck squarely in the Ford section, but that doesn’t stop me from checking out everything and appreciating what I see from each manufacturer.
I plan to enter the 2016 Pumpkin Run Nationals, which will be held September 30 – October 2.

I only took a few photos but here’s what caught my eye:

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1966 F100 Seat and 3-point Belts

The original seat and belt were in a sorry state

The original seat and belt were in a sorry state

When I first purchased the 1966 F100, David called it the “Meatrocket” owing to the fact that it had a set of 50 year old nonfunctional lap belts, and in a frontal collision the driver would rocket through the windshield like a piece of meat. A 3-point seatbelt retrofit would be just the ticket to increase the safety margin with the stock 4-wheel drum brakes. Due to the sad state of the original bench seat, I also decided a seat upgrade was in order. As an added bonus, choosing a seat with head rests improves the occupant safety in case the truck is rear-ended.

Research on Google indicated that by swapping the seat tracks, I could use any seat up to the 1996 F150. I tracked down a color matched vinyl bench with integrated head rests out of the 1992-1996 generation F150, a $75 Craiglist score.

The seat belts were another matter. I located a site that builds custom seat belts and supplies the necessary retrofit hardware, and purchased a set of retracting 3-point belts with period appearing latch buckles.

Installing the seat was a relatively straightforward process, involving plenty of liquid wrench and colorful language to remove the old seat. Next, the seat tracks are unbolted from both seats, and since the track width is the same, the original track bolts right up to the later model seat. Finally, the new seat on original track bolts straight back into the truck.

The finished seat and belt upgrade.

The finished seat and belt upgrade.

The seat belt retrofit required a bit more work. The bottom mount points are already in the truck, but the shoulder mount doesn’t exist. Luckily the inner cab corners are ribbed for extra strength, and serve as a great location to attach the shoulder mount using these retrofit brackets. Each inner cab corner is drilled out, being careful not to dent the outer sheet metal when the drill breaks through, and the brackets can be riveted in place before the shoulder mounts are bolted up. In order to avoid drilling extra holes in my truck, I chose to skip the rivets and simply hold the brackets in place from behind while bolting the seat belt in place.

Mounting the latches in the existing inner bolt locations and the retractors in the outer mount locations completes the seat belt installation, and the finished product is satisfactory indeed.

These two upgrades improve the looks inside the cab, as well as the safety. Now, with luck, my head won’t be going through either window in the event of a crash.