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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Quick Look: M2 Machines 1958 Chevrolet Fleet Option Pickup and 1970 Ford F-100 Custom 4x4 stepside

Here's a look at a few good M2 Machines truck castings with their first-time bed variations.  The GM trucks have already gotten the utility trailer package before, but this is a first for the GMC pickup.  Meanwhile the Ford F-100 gets a new stepside package to the already impressive 4x4 look.

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1958 GMC Fleet Option Truck

In 2013 M2 released one unique version of the GM trucks that no one else will likely make or will a person encounter in real life: a Fleet Option truck.  The reason why is that the Fleet trucks were, well, made for company fleets so after years of abuse most of them got sent to the crusher, yet a few survived by rotting away until someone comes along to restore it.  The difference between the GMC Fleet and the other GMC pickups of 1958 is the single headlight inside the quad housing, white mesh grille with round signal lights, white front and rear bumpers, and a dashboard and steering wheel from the Chevrolet truck line.  Decontented is the word here.  As is the I-6 motor under the detailed hood with a red valve cover and a 3-speed manual shifter on the floor.  The interior is accessed by opening doors with front bench seat and detailed dashboard with V-shaped gauges and 3-spoke steering wheel.  The classy GMC looks good in dark blue with a white roof and blue steel wheels with chrome center cap, though painting on the chrome rims was a bad idea.  Red GMC adorns the front of the hood, while the side doors have GMC trucks service.  The biggest change is the rear where the bed is replaced with the utility bed (used since the Studebaker pickup) with dual rear wheels and a trailer hitch.  Even more is the return of the high-roof topper with ladder rack that was last used on the Moon Pie 1956 Ford.  The weight does restrict the performance of the truck compared to the swiftier pickup versions, yet still this is one nice-looking GMC work truck.

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1970 Ford F100 Custom 4x4

The biggest news, surprisingly, is the new pickup bed on the Ford F-100 4x4.  Now this casting was released in 2005 in both two-wheel drive and 4x4 versions, yet this stepside bed is getting a lot of attention lately.  The 4x4 debuted as a SEMA promo in 2014 before arriving in the Patriot line in 2015.  The truck looks better with the lifted stance joined by white steel wheels on tall and narrow ribbed tires.  It just looks aggressive.  This dark red beauty still has the chrome front grille with black grille, black around the round headlights, lower signal lights, and chrome bumper.  The hood, that sometimes does not close flush, has FORD on the front and F-100 side marker lights on the sides.  Chrome trim on the edge of the roof and Custom on the front fenders finish up the cab section.  For 2017 the stepside pickup finally gives some variety to the long-bed F-100 with a nice and clean stepside rear fenders and a full-size side spare tire that does not seem to sit flush like the 1950's GM and Ford stepside pickups do.  At the rear there is FORD across the simple tailgate design and for a first dual square taillights.  The bed area is deep and still roomy even with the reduced width of the stepside design.  The chassis still has the 4x4 look and the obnoxious front posts from the past SEMA mounting base points, while the interior has the detailed dashboard with silver trim, 3-spoke steering wheel, detailed door panels, seatbelts on the bench, and no transfer case shifter.  As a nice touch the I-6 motor returns to the F-100 since the right-hand drive Austrailan version and is still powered by a three-speed automatic transmission.  The truck is very manuverable off-road with plenty of ground clearance and live front and rear axles, but on the track it feels too big and ungainly on skinny tires to handle like a sports car (then again it never was).

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Both trucks look good in this latest release, but the Ford F-100 stepside looks the best and really gives this casting some much-needed character to the bed profile design.

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Update 12/19/17:  If that's not enough Ford pickup for you, check out this M2 Auto-Mod 1969 F100 that is painted a nice stain blue with side Boss hockey stripes and blacked-out 5-spoke wheels with goodyear rubber tires, the latter wider at the rear.  The magic under the hood is the modern 5.0L DOHC Coyote V8 from the current Mustang and F-150.  The truck looks great except for my first M2 issue: trying to get the rather stuck driver's door open the door broke free from the hinge.  I remedied that by gluing the door back on; still, the passenger-side door still opens.

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