Meet Scott Birdsall and His Monster: a 1949 Ford F1, Dubbed Old Smokey F1

Scott Birdsall of Chuckles Garage and his 1949 Ford F1

Scott Birdsall of Chuckles Garage and his 1949 Ford F1, affectionately dubber Old Smokey F1

What is a monster? Is it a scary being that lives in our imagination? Or, are monsters things that actually exist to challenge our perception of control? This story isn’t going to give you a definitive answer to that question. But it will tell you about a 1,200 horsepower diesel-powered monster that wouldn’t exist in our world, if it weren’t for the vivid imagination of a man named Scott Birdsall.

About 30 years ago, an auto repair shop opened up on the site of an old ranch in Santa Rosa, California. When they needed to expand several years ago, workers started to clear off the overgrown lot behind one of their buildings. As the front loader was plowing through decades of bushes, small trees and briars, it struck what turned out to be a 1949 Ford F1 pickup. The owner of the shop didn’t even know the truck was there, and decided to just sell it online. And that’s where Scott Birdsall of Chuckles Garage comes in: “When I get bored sometimes, I’ll look on Craigslist for stuff that I can buy real cheap and flip. So that truck came up and I bought it for $225—you know, to flip it. But it started to grow on me, so I kept it.” He continued; “I wanted to make a reliable shop truck out of it. But one modification led to another, and eventually it turned into a full-on race truck.”

Old Smokey F1, a 1949 Ford F1 with twin turbo Cummins motor

Old Smokey F1 is a wolf in sheep's clothing. A true sleeper.

When Scott pulled the lost F1 from the overgrowth, the cab was full of animal nests, the bed was full of nails, and it had been painted three times with a brush. It was clear that this truck had lived a hard life. “The right headlight was the last thing that I was going to fix, but it had been missing that headlight for so long, and I kind of liked the forlorn look of it. So I left it. But there is a projection headlight in there.” He then treated the body with silicone spray and installed a 12-valve Cummins diesel from an old Dodge pickup. “The diesel part of it started because I wanted a reliable shop truck that I could drive anywhere, tow stuff with, haul stuff with. I put a diesel in the truck to be able to use it. But I’m a hot rodder, so you know; a diesel with a turbo is cool, but a bigger turbo is even cooler!”

There’s actually an LED headlight hiding on the passenger side

There’s actually an LED projector headlight hiding on the passenger side

Eventually, a newer 5.9L Cummins from a 2005 Freightliner medium duty semi truck found it’s way under the hood. This allowed Scott to tune the motor with a laptop, giving him a much broader range of performance options. He explained: “To build this truck, I worked with companies like Industrial Injection, Garrett Turbochargers, and Bell Intercoolers, which taught me a lot about the fluid dynamics and other technical stuff.” In it’s current form, the truck now known as “Old Smokey”, boasts a compound turbo setup that uses an exhaust-driven 80mm Garrett GTX5008 turbocharger to feed a second [massive] 94mm GarrettGTX 5533 turbo, which then compounds the boost and sends the 106 psi air charge through a giant Bell intercooler before it reaches the heavily modified Cummins diesel engine. The result of all this boosted wizardry is 1,463 horsepower at the crankshaft and 1,233 horsepower/2,000 lb-ft at the rear wheels. That’s right, this rusty old 1949 Ford F1 pickup has more power than any production Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Pagani. And it’s only a few ponies shy of the venerable Bugatti Veyron. But all Scott has to do is flip a switch to activate the 375-hp nitrous shot, and that fancy French car is toast.

The interior is all business on Old Smokey F1, the 1949 Ford F1

The interior is all business as this truck was built to handle just about anything thrown at it

To handle all that power, a custom race car tube chassis hides beneath the truck’s patina'd bodywork. According to Scott, “There’s not much left from the original truck, except maybe the body and the dashboard.” But that’s okay, because this hot rod was purpose-built for land speed racing, road racing, and drifting. All Mr. Birdsall has to do is change the tires and adjust the suspension to suit the surface he’ll be on. “The current speed record for a diesel truck is like 172 miles an hour, and we’re going to try an blow that out of the water.” To keep the Old Smokey Ford F1 on the ground at triple digit speeds, AIRAID helped Scott create a carbon fiber splitter, diffuser, and underbody panels. And a high-flow AIRAID performance air filter is used to feed a constant rush of clean air to those ginormous turbos.

We at AIRAID are proud to sponsor Scott Birdsall and his Old Smokey Ford F1. And we wish him the best of luck as attempts to break the diesel pickup land speed record with his rusty monster.

You are looking at a 375-hp shot of nitrous and a 5-inch exhaust pipe

You are looking at a 375-hp shot of nitrous and a 5-inch exhaust pipe amongst a sea of bed cage

The compound turbo set up on Old Smokey F1

The compound turbo set up on Old Smokey F1 pumps out over 1,200 horsepower!

An AIRAID Performance Air Filter keeps air flowing to this 1,200-hp 1949 Ford F1

An AIRAID performance air filter keeps air flowing to this 1,200-hp 1949 Ford F1

Burnout - Scott Birdsall   |   Photos - Eric Armstrong

Burnouts are on tap with that much power and torque available with the tap of the go pedal