The big American truck is an enthusiast’s staple. It’s a style of vehicle that makes car nuts cross the floor and leave their faction behind. At some point or another, every enthusiast will rifle through CarSales and get stuck on an oversized American. The brollic, bench seat brutes have adoring fans in every niche of the modified car community. There isn’t much that the car community at large agrees on, but the F-truck is on everyone’s list.
Ian Porter’s 1970 Ford F-250 is a family heirloom. Unlike most precious items handed through generations, this big-body brawler is more comfortable converting tyres to vapour than resting on a dusty shelf. The F-250 was originally Ian’s grandfather’s farm truck. In the mid-80’s, after slogging it out on the property for 15 years, the car was parked in the garage for a well-earned rest. Rear wheels removed but sheltered from the elements the Ford remained a shed ornament for 10 years.
Like many kids with access to a farm, Ian learned to drive young. Working around the truck, it slowly but surely sucked him in.
“The truck was always sitting in the shed and we were always working on stuff next to it. When I was 12 I decided I wanted to have a look. I snuck down to the shed when no-one else was there and climbed into it. It was full of spiders and mouse droppings but I looked around, got the bonnet up and I just fell in love with it.”
Ian’s campaign began. Getting in his grandads ear to see if they could get it to start, a deal was made over the dinner table.
“He said if I restored it, I could have it.”
Ian spent every weekend and school holiday from then at the farm wrenching, working on keeping his end of the deal. The factory six was ditched for a warmed up eight. The suspension was upgraded, with the drum brake front usurped by a disc set up. Four and a half years of work saw Ian with a tough street car, and he got busy enjoying his hard work. The car was with Ian while he lived at the end of one of Sydney’s best drives, through the Royal National Park. He spent his late teen years testing fate with a 302 Cleveland between the struts.
“As you do when you’re 17 – I was a bit of a lunatic in it… we used to blow a set of tyres off it every weekend.”
Ian found the limits of the 302 quickly. The hunger for power was real, and the search for more horses commenced.
“I went and bought a big block without my dad knowing. I told him it was a 351 that was just going to make a bit more power. I was 100 per cent lying.”
The big block and C6 gearbox were worked into the car with the help of Phil’s Race Engines. A flat firewall and uprated fuel system were fitted and the drive line modified to accommodate the power bump. When it was finished, there was only one option.
“We decided to take it to Summernats.” Six months out of the F250’s Summernats debut, a blow was dealt to the Porter family. Ian’s grandfather had cancer.
“We didn’t know how long he had to live. I had already entered. I thought we’ll try and take him in the passenger seat for the burnout comp… we got permission. My grandfather was 73 when we went to Summernats.”
With his grandad giving him a nudge, Ian drove on to the tarmac and punched every pony the 472 cubic inch V8 had into the blackened burnout pad. Before Ian had finished his force five burnout, he had a thumbs up for the finals.
“It was the happiest day of my life.”
After the tyre vapour settled, Ian’s grandad revealed a smoky past.
“I didn’t realise he was a bit of a hoon. He got into trouble back in the day when he took his motorbike into the Roxy Theatre in Leeton and did a burnout inside.”
His grandfather passed away two years later. The car stayed home, and gathered dust. Years passed, until Ian’s cousin asked if she could use it for her wedding. Spurred to restore former glory, Ian set out for paint and ended up ordering the supreme.
A 440 horsepower big block V8 stroked to 472 cube with all the fruit. A manualised C6, Dana 670 diff, Detroit lockers, 4.1 gears and a driveline built to be indestructible, with a 100 shot of NOS to boot. With the power to create clouds on command, it’s a car Ian’s grandfather would be proud to see. Ian’s whole family fits on the bench seat, with Ian and his son taking drives whenever they can.
“We can go jump in and take it for a drive whenever we want. It can go to the shops or for a long drive. It can do the lot.”
It’s the kind of family heirloom that will last forever.