The year 2013 is an important milestone for two Source Interlink publications – Circle Track’s 35th anniversary and the 65th anniversary of Hot Rod. For this year’s Hot Rod Power Tour, Circle Track Editor Rob Fisher, and CT Tech Editor Pete Epple wanted to create a project that would appeal to both hot rodders and hardcore oval track racers alike. That’s when the street-legal 2013 Auto Meter NASCAR Camping World Ford F-150 Truck came to life.
The guys over at ThorSport Racing ended up with Ronnie Hopkins-built truck chassis that was originally raced by Richard Childress Racing in the late 1990s. When ThorSport made the jump from Chevy to Toyota, the truck was left to sit. That is, until Pete and Rob were able to get their hands on it.
First thing’s first, the truck was sent to Peterson Racing in Concord, North Carolina for the next month getting new headlights, tail lights, a second seat, and body work that includes the brand-new 2013 Ford F-150 nose. Ford Racing provided all new sheet-metal to make the truck look brand spankin’ new.
The folks over at Ford Racing Performance parts sent a retired Cup engine to power this new beast. Checking out the markings on the motor, Pete deciphered that it was the same engine that powered Mark Martin’s car in Rockingham back in 1996.
While the body work was nearing completion, the engine was sent to MPR Racing in Boynton Beach, Florida where major changes were made by Tim Eichhorn. The original flat tappet valvetrain was replaced by more street-friendly hydraulic roller components from Comp Cams. Tim also changed the compression from 12:1 to 11.2:1 to allow the use of pump gas.
After making the trip back to our headquarters in Tampa, the guys spent a month wiring, plumbing, and installing the new engine inside of the truck. A Tremec T-56 Magnum transmission was added and paired with a Ram twin-disc street clutch to make shifting a breeze. The truck drives like any high-performance muscle car or street car.
Auto Meter sent a complete set of Elite gauges to put inside the truck including oil pressure, oil temperature, water pressure, water temperature, fuel pressure, motor temperature and fuel level, all tied together in a carbon fiber lightweight package. The LEDs are bright during the day, so if something goes awry you won’t be able to miss it.
The truck was then sent to True Street Motorsports in McKinney, Texas to tie up some final clutch issues before hitting the Tour. While the Power Tour was awesome and the truck was a huge hit, a cracked oil filter adapter ended the fun early since it wasn’t an easy on-the-road fix.
With a head-turner like this, one wouldn’t think that it was a street-legal truck that runs on 93-octane pump gas.
After the Tour ended and the truck back up and running, the boys decided to hit up Daytona beach and then make their way over to Daytona International Speedway. Check it out!