Chuckles Garage: 1949 Ford F1 - The House Of Muscle Ep. 10

2 months ago
It's not a rat rod, nor a drift truck, nor is it a full-time road racer. It's Old Smokey, the 1949 Ford F1 pickup that was conceived and built by Scott Birdsall the owner ...

English subtitle

- The year is 1947.
America was just coming
out of World War II
and was becoming the economic
superpower it is today.
It needed a workhorse
to move itself forward
and in that time, Ford released this.
The F1 half-ton pickup truck.
This model is a 1949,
however this is a little bit different
than what was released
all those years ago.
You see, this one has a
5.9 liter Cummins diesel
running a compound turbo charger set up
and it makes over 2,000
pound feet of torque
at the rear wheels.
Which is why we decided to come to a place
up in Northern California
that let's us sample all this
in the brown grass, on a
skid pad, in the sunshine.
I've been looking forward
to driving this thing
for a very long time.
So stay tuned for a very
fun, slippery and slidery
House of Muscle episode.
(engine growls loudly)
The man who created this madness?
That's Scott Birdsall, the
owner of Chuckles Garage
in Santa Rosa, California.
- I bought it for 225 bucks off Craigslist
I wanted to just flip it
'cause I had no intent for it.
I'm like 225 bucks,
I'll throw it on the side yard,
I'll clean it up and I'll
flip it on Craigslist
for a couple grand and
I'll make a little money.
The truck grew on me and I said,
"You know what, I like this truck.
"I'm going to make a shop truck out of it,
"we'll put like a Cummins diesel in it
"and make it super reliable."
along the way,
one little mod added to another one,
and bigger brakes meant
bigger wheels and tires
and I wanted more power so
then I put a bigger turbo on it
and then I decided I
wanted even more power
so then it had twin turbos.
I couldn't stop and I saw
things I could improve.
It went from a $225 Craigslist truck
to a $300,000 plus
I still don't know what to call it.
(engine growls)
(upbeat rock music)
(lifter whirs loudly)
- [Mike] It's just mean.
I don't really get speechless.
This thing is just a masterpiece!
- You got to see the engine.
- Yeah, dude, the first time I saw this,
I was kind of blown away because
you can't not stare at it.
Give everybody an idea of how
this thing gets motivated.
- [Scott] Compound turbo charging.
This turbo charger here
is an 80-millimeter turbo.
It's the small turbo.
- Right.
- And this one works off
exhaust gases from the engine,
just like a regular turbo does.
But the difference here
is this turbo also drives
this bigger turbo here which
is a 94-millimeter Garrett GTX.
And so this turbo
returns the favor by the
driving the 80-millimeter
from the front side as well.
So instead of breathing atmosphere
like a regular turbo system,
this turbo breathes
40 psi boost from this big turbo.
And so 40 psi here and 60 psi here,
ends up being a hundred
at the plenum.
- Oh my God.
(engine growls)
When you were developing this,
when you were building it,
and you kind of had this idea
in your head to do this system,
were people like, "Yeah,
that's not going to work."
- I've had tons of naysayers tell me
that this big of compounds would not work.
They say it would be lagging
and it would never spool.
And this thing actually
spools pretty quick.
(engine growls loudly)
- [Mike] So what type
of numbers did it make
on the dyno?
- This thing makes 1,463
flywheel and 1,233 at the wheels.
- Jesus! (whispers)
Oh my God!
- And double in--
- Double in torque.
- Yup.
- [Mike] That's very cool, man.
- Let's take a look at the rear.
- Yeah, dude, let me see.
So now, the nitros, have you ever decided
to hit that button?
- We have on the dyno a little bit.
It's good for another 350, 375 horsepower.
- The way that the cage is designed,
as an engineer, is this
something you actually sat
and designed in CAD and then
incorporated into the truck?
Was it more free-form?
I mean, how do you come up with this?
- The strongest part
right here is all design
for all the torque and twisting
that the rear axle's going to apply to it.
(upbeat rock music)
You know, there's really no concessions
for anything streetcar on this truck.
It's a pure race vehicle
and it just happens
to be licensed--
- I was going to say
you have plates on it.
- [Scott] Yeah, it's got plates.
- So you fabricated all of this.
- Yes.
- The big Cummins engine
is really hard to fit
in this truck so two thirds of the engine
is behind the firewall.
Had to make a custom oil pan
with custom baffles in it.
Just the clearance 'cause
the factory one hung down
another eight inches.
- Just about zero suspension
droop, huh, that's nice.
- Yeah.
It's a road racer, it's an
inch and a half of droop,
and an inch and a half of travel.
Also, this is a Kevlar blanket
to keep the transmission
bits from coming inside and--
- [Mike] Taking you out.
- [Scott] Horribly maiming you in case of
a transmission failure.
- I mean, just to look
at, this is beautiful.
- Yeah, this is where it
gets complicated back here.
- Yeah, but man, is it nice.
- Winters custom made this
read end for the truck.
A 10 and a half inch ring gear,
it's called their super
heavy duty quick change.
It's nice 'cause we can
throw any gear we want in it
because sometimes we'll road race it,
sometimes we'll take it out and drift it,
and then we'll land speed race it.
- You designed all this,
fabricated all the--
- Everything.
- Everything?
- [Scott] Everything that the chassis--
We built it on our chassis table here.
- [Mike] How many hours did you have
into fabricating the chassis?
- I've got about 3,000 hours
on the whole truck.
- Oh my God!
Oh my goodness!
It's kind of mind blowing.
It really is to look at.
I mean, you know because you built it
but for somebody like me--
- I built it
and it's still overwhelming.
- (sighs) Alright, this is amazing.
I can't wait to see this thing run.
I can't wait--
I'm blown away.
- I can't wait
to see you drive it!
- I can't wait to drive it!
(upbeat rock music)
We still have to make
one more stop before the skid pad.
But before we do, I have to ask.
What motivates someone to
come up with this crazy, mad
and brilliant monstrosity of a machine?
(upbeat rock music)
- When I was a little kid,
I was obsessed with semi trucks.
So I'd make 'em honk and I
thought they were just cool
'cause they're these big,
strong diesel monsters
and I loved monster trucks
and the sounds they made
and it was just so raw and angry.
Everything was extreme
and powerful.
Everybody asked me, "Why
do you call your shop
"Chuckles Garage?"
It's unconventional.
Chuckles was my dad's nickname.
My dad was a police officer for years,
and his name is Charles.
Everybody called him Chuck and
his CD handle was Chuckles.
And so, he passed in 2005 and
I named my shop after him.
My dad would always supply me with tools
and give me things to mess around with
but I would never want to take
apart the things he gave me.
I would wait till they
weren't paying attention
or else would left me to my own devices.
I just never stopped taking apart.
I first decided I want to be a fabricator
when my dad taught me how to use my hands.
By six, eight years old, my
dad gave me a screwdriver
and I'd
I had this epiphany that
I could take these things
change 'em and
do whatever I wanted.
You just have to have the tools to do it.
But when I really decided I
wanted to be a fabricator,
it's just when I got sick of
doing stuff I hated for a paycheck
and I wanted to be stoked to go to work,
like I never get up and say,
"I don't want to go to work."
I'm always super pumped
to go into the shop
and like
build rad stuff.
Guys work 80-hour work weeks to save up
just so they can play with
their car on the weekend.
I get to do it everyday.
- [Mike] There is no better motivator
than working a death trap corporate check.
Scott knew this, left it behind
and created Chuckles Garage to
satisfy his quest for speed.
(upbeat rock music)
(engine revs)
(engine growls loudly)
- My road racing background
goes back 20 years.
I learned race car set up from driving
and building my own race cars.
Trial and error.
I just apply the knowledge I've learned
throughout the years of
building my own race cars
and then the last 10 years
of owning my shop here,
building tons of customer race cars
and just applying my dyno knowledge
and my practical engineering knowledge
into something that
really shouldn't exist.
I tried, with this truck,
to be everything that I want
any vehicle to be.
I want to be able to do whatever I want
and I don't want it to fit
in at any kind of genre
or anything like that.
It's its ow entity.
It's not a rat rod, it's not a hot rod,
it's not a dedicated land speed car,
it's not a dedicated drift car,
it's not a daily driver
but you can do
anything you want in it.
You can take it out and
party, I mean, have fun.
But the real goal for this truck,
I want to be the first
diesel powered truck
to go 200 miles an hour
in a measured mile.
(engine growls)
- Scott said that he wanted
to go 200 miles an hour
in the mile.
Personally, I just wanted a
chance to slide this thing
all over the place.
(engine growls)
- Mm-hm.
- [Mike] But you don't
just get into this thing
and turn the key.
There's a system, a procedure if you will
that makes sure that when you
put the sequential in gear,
all systems point to go.
(engine growls)
We have been waiting
all day for this thing
to rip up the skid pad.
Now it was finally go time.
(engine growls loudly)
- It goes from 200
horsepower to 1200 horsepower
like within 800 RPM and
it's a light switch.
It's nothing and then it's everything
and all you have is mechanical grip.
It's basically an amalgam of everything
that I thought was
awesome throughout life.
(engine growls loudly)
This point in time,
you steer with the rear
and you drive it like
an old turbo Pan Am car.
You just hope for grip
and you squirt it when you
think you can squirt it
and you go.
- [Mike] Watching Scott
trying to wrestle Old Smoky
was akin to seeing a cheetah
trying to take down an elephant.
The man was working behind the wheel.
(engine growls loudly)
(men shouting over rumbling engine)
- In every corner it's coming off.
- Huh.
- Yeah.
- [Scott] That's not good.
- Alright, so we just watched
you go out there, it was--
I don't know if you've
shown you comin' around
but I was like, "Yes, this is
the best thing in the world!"
- It was pretty fun.
- So how gnarly is it
to like, with that much
torque and that much power,
to try to hold a drift with this thing?
- It's rough.
- You're workin'.
- [Scott] Yeah, especially 'cause we have
the wrong spring rate in the back today
and it's lifting the wheel
but it's fun! (laughs)
- Three eighths worth of
track time off those tires.
I've never seen anything
destroy tires like this thing
in my life.
After a few minor adjustments,
Scott and Old Smoky headed
back out onto the skid pad
for another run.
(engine growls)
(upbeat rock music)
Over 2,000 pound feet of
torque at the rear wheels
means one thing.
You are vaporizing tires,
plain and simple.
- I can't tell you how hard that is!
- Oh, I know how hard it is.
I can see you struggling, I
can see you working, dude!
Getting ready to go out on the skid pad,
extremely terrified.
Now I don't really care
if you guys out there,
internet world be like, "Oh, just man up!"
Over 2,000 pound feet of
torque at the rear wheels
pedal travel is that much and a price tag
of around 300k--
I am nervous, shut up!
(Scott laughs)
(engine revs)
- [Scott] There you go.
What's your plan for driving?
- Stay alive.
- [Mike] It was now my
turn behind the wheel.
And once my initial fear faded,
I found that this '49
Ford was quite possibly
the most mental thing I've ever driven.
(upbeat rock music)
(car screeches)
Keep in mind that when you
consider what Scott did
to Old Smoky to make it do what it does,
the fact that this truck
even exists at all,
is pretty damn remarkable.
(dramatic orchestral music)
America was built by
hard work and big dreams.
This truck?
This is
We got to go out and
flog it on the skid pad,
drive it on the street,
and hang out with Scott all day
and it has been an amazing experience
that we hope you guys have enjoyed.
So with that being said,
I'd like to thank you for watching,
and stay tuned for the next
episode of The House of Muscle.
(dramatic urban music)