1964 Ford F100 Whiskey Runner - Crafting a New Legend


Spending her entire work life as a Yuma, AZ farm truck, her well-earned hard work scars now shine bright in the Southern California sun. According to her personalized black and yellow vintage California license plate, she may still be working for a living. Though that may just be a disguise.

CA Plate Reads WSKRUNR - Whiskey Runner


In reality, WSKRUNR is owned by a retired Deputy Sheriff by the name of Ron Hernandez. Perhaps WSKRUNR is really an undercover spy or a double agent if you will. After all, the Hernandez home is located in Avocado Heights, CA, which is also known as unincorporated La Puente. Sounds like a sleepy, small suburban town in Southern California, nothing going on there. Yeah, right. 


Above: Trigen Street Rods, in Whittier, CA, installed an ididit steering column to a rack and pinion steering system, which is turned by a Grant wood-rimmed steering wheel. A modern Dakota Digital dash provides all of Whiskey Runner's vital signs at a glance. The hot rodder's friend, a Mustang II IFS suspension system with air bags for ride height adjustment and shocks for smoothing out the ride was installed to provide modern handling characteristics to the vintage truck. Wilwood 12-inch rotor, six-piston caliper disc brakes greatly improve the F100's stopping power. A pickup with this much giddy up requires prodigious whoa, Nelly brakes. 

Much about the F100 whispers, "There's more to this truck than what meets the eyes." Consider the most apparent fact that this pickup wears a rust abated red patina paint job that almost disappears into the background upon first glimpse, as if it's wearing suburban camouflage. Indeed, you might be thinking to yourself, "Hmmm, I'm just looking at an old warrior red work truck. There's nothing special here." And you'd be dead wrong. At first glance, the rolling stock looks to be some Plain Jane artillery wheels. But upon further inspection those wheels are huge and wide. They are Detroit Steel artillery wheels, with 20x9.5 inches in the front that are shod with Pirelli P Zero 245/40 ZR 20 radial tires and Detroit Steel 20x12 inches wrapped by Pirelli P Zero 325/35 R20's in the back.


Above: Sew Cal Rods designed and trimmed the headliner, the B-pillars with a hidden Bluetooth microphone behind the driver's side B-pillar, the truck's upper and lower door panels, and the wood tongue and groove bed floor. Notice the seat photo just below doesn't have the headliner installed yet. Ron took this photo at a car show while work was still progressing on WSKRUNR. That yellowish wire sticking above the B-pillar might be the Bluetooth microphone. Hmm ... the double agent theory plot thickens.

F100 Hot Rod Hauler - Ford Windsor Stroker V8 & a Manual Transmission - The Stuff of Legend

What's underneath the hood sure doesn't look to be anything from 1964. Far be it from stock, it's a bored and stroked Ford 408-cubic inch V8 that began life as a Ford 351-cubic inch Windsor mill. A Holley Sniper EFI system gets its fuel from a Rick's Hot Rod Shop fuel tank that has an in-tank electric fuel pump. The engine's backed by a Tremec TKO 600, five-speed manual trans, the perfect transmission for a hot rod hauler, especially one that's carrying precious cargo like Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez, and whatever might happen to be under a canvas tarp in the pickup's nondescript bed.

1964 F100 seat owner 1280

As for the interior, the stock bench seat was trimmed by Sew Cal Rods, in Ontario, CA in modern red vinyl with a Relicate Black/Silver/Red Porsche/VW Check Plaid #5875 cloth insert. Relicate LLC, in Johnstown, NY, provides leather, textiles, thread, needles, services, and goods to professional automotive upholstery/trim shops around the globe. Sew Cal Rods also designed, built, and installed the entire custom stereo surround system. A Retro Manufacturing Replica in dash radio feeds a Rockford Fosgate four speaker system with amp and sub-woofer. Two speakers are mounted behind their custom-crafted kick panels. A custom enclosure installed behind the bench seat houses two more speakers, an amp, and a sub-woofer. A Vintage Air HVAC system keeps the cab nice and comfortable.


The owner, who was established in 1961 (get it?), found the F100 on a Monday listed for sale on Craigslist for $4,500. Though Ron felt like the truck was already reasonably priced, on a whim he offered $3,500. The owner surprisingly accepted his offer under the condition that he pick up the F100 by Friday of that same week. Ron had to hustle to explain this purchase to his wife, take a day off work, convince a buddy to take a round trip road trip to beautiful but hot Yuma, AZ, and get back to Avocado Heights, CA by the weekend, so he could start taking the truck apart and formulate a ground-up renovation plan.


He selected Trigen Street Rods in Whittier, CA, owned by Bill Kenney, Sr., and Jr. to make his Whiskey Runner 1964 Ford F100 dream truck a reality. Ron also convinced father and son Kenney to let him be a part of the build by chasing down the parts, doing the demo work, cleaning up, and preparing the cab for its frame-off renovation. How he came to go with the whiskey and cigar bootlegging theme is a mystery. Yet the theme holds true with how some hot rods came into existence back in the day, when the vehicles were heavily modified, go-fast, hopped-up street cars that could bootleg liquor and moonshine to speak easy's during prohibition (1920-1933) and other contraband thereafter. 

64 F100 craigslist ad

Owning/Driving a '64 F100 Brings Back Fond Memories

As a teenager, Ron learned to drive in a 1966 Ford F100 that a neighbor let him borrow. His first car was a 1975 F100 that his dad gave to him when he earned his first driver's license. F100's go back to his driving roots and hold heartfelt sentimental value to him. With his modest offer accepted, he decided to sell his hot rod 1961 Chevy Parkwood station wagon that he had previously built with many reproduction parts sourced at Classic Industries.

Parting Ways with a 1961 Chevy Parkwood for a '64 F100

Parkwood 34 front 1280

Above: Ron sold this super nice 1961 Chevy Parkwood wagon to obtain what would become his 1964 Ford F100 named Whiskey Runner.

64 F100 chevy engine

Above: When Ron purchased the F100, the original 292-cubic inch Y-block Ford V8 engine looks to still be in place in the engine bay. 


Above: Thanks to the installation of an air bag system fore and aft, WSKRUNR has adjustable ride height and can lay frame if so desired. After Ron cleaned the F100 with CLR and washed it, he preserved the body rust with the wipe on version of Poppy's Patina matte finish. West Coast Body Shop, in the City of Industry, CA, applied new paint to the inside of the cab, the underside of the hood, and the inside of the engine compartment.

64 F100 chassis before

Above and below: There was an abundance of Yuma, AZ dirt and grime on the F100 before Ron and some talented craftsmen transformed the '64 Ford F100 into Whiskey Runner.

64 F100 new chassis

Above: Advanced Design Fabrications, in Whittier, CA, owned by Eric Toyoshiba, renewed the chassis. Wilwood 12-inch rotors and four-piston calipers form a strong braking system for the rear wheels. The suspension is comprised of a four-link setup hanging the Ford nine-inch diff/axle to its original, cleaned, de-rusted, and powder coated frame. Air bags for adjusting the ride height and shocks were installed for smoothing out WSKRUNR's ride. There's also a custom driveshaft between the Tremec TKO 600 transmission and the Ford nine-inch pumpkin. The Hedman Hedders and custom stainless steel exhaust system, that also includes an electric solenoid actuated open exhaust cutout kit, was mandrel bent, fabricated, and installed by Whittier Muffler.


Above: The owner built the wood truck box that conceals a modern truck box and a small ice chest. Some prefer their whiskey straight, while others take it on ice, to each their own. The cigars and the hooch are just for show. Or are they?

34 front at GNRS 2023 size 1280

Above and below: Whiskey Runner premiered at the 2023 Grand National Roadster Show in the Sew Cal Rods exhibit/booth. 'Classic Truck Performance' magazine presented the owner with the Editor's Choice Award at the '23 GNRS. 

Classic Truck Performance Editors Choice Award GNRS 2023 sized

invited to Pickups Limited Pomona Valley 1280

Above: Ron shared with me that the, "Pickups Limited-Pomona Valley Chapter' is affiliated with 'Pickups Limited Orange County', which started in 1968. The Pomona Valley Chapter is a great group of family-oriented guys who always seem to be planning the next place to cruise." Members of the club first spied Whiskey Runner at the 2023 GNRS. The Pickups Limited-Pomona Valley Chapter invited Whiskey Runner, as well as the truck's astute and creative owners to check out the club, when members of the club saw the F100 on display outside at the inaugural 'Grand National Truck Show', held at the Pomona Fairplex on September 16-17, 2023. The Pickups Limited-Pomona Valley Chapter club expanded their Ford F100 coverage of trucks from 1956 up to 1983, given the increasing popularity of the F100 through the last year of F100 production (1983).


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