Ford Authority

Diesel-Powered 1949 Ford F1 Sets Official Record At Pikes Peak

Scott Birdsall and his 1949 Ford F1, affectionately named “Ole Smokey,” are no strangers to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. In fact, the two have been competing at the legendary race for the last several years after the pickup debuted at the 2016 SEMA Show. After an unfortunate crash back in 2018 and some other teething pains, all that hard worked paid off today as the vintage pickup set a new record in the Exhibition Class for the fastest diesel-powered vehicle up the mountain.

Birdsall’s record-setting time was 11:24.065, according to the PPIHC’s official leaderboard. That was good enough to top the previous record-holder, Uwe Nittel and his Mercedes Benz C300D 4MATIC, by just over 13 seconds. The classic Ford F1 has been powered by a couple of different turbocharged Cummins diesels over the years, including a 5.9L that produced 1,200 horsepower and 2,000 lb-ft of torque. This year, Birdsall ran a bigger 6.7L Cummins and a brand new transmission as well.

It’s an impressive feat, indeed, especially when we consider the fact that an old pickup truck isn’t the best choice for someone wanting to navigate Pikes Peak and its 156 turns over the course of 12.42 miles. Forced induction helps a bit with the thin air as the pickup ascents to 14,115 feet above sea level, but only so much. The old Ford is also rear-wheel-drive, while many vehicles that compete at the mountain are all-wheel-drive.

Pikes Peak is annually filled with the latest and greatest in high tech, purpose-built vehicles. Some of which manufacturers spend years and countless dollars developing specifically to reset records. So the fact that an old, patina’d, diesel-powered pickup can still hang is all the more impressive.


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WE DID IT!!! FASTEST DIESEL EVER! In limp mode from heat since Devil’s playground and it still happened!!! The past few weeks have been the most challenging of my motorsport career. My crew, my friends, and my team partners dug deep, and we ground through all the BS to acheive something I have been chasing for 3 years. Thank you to my wife @mrsjujubird for supporting my crazy endeavors and for cheering this wildman on holding down the homestead while the state is on fire. I love you. MY TEAM: @just.buildit @volkdent @saltyboxracing @bobbythor86 @dannanwagner98racer @gregsnovas Dennis Wagner You guys ARE the reason I am up here. Thank you. To the @pikespeakhillclimb organizers, board, officials, and volunteers… You put on a top notch show. I will see you all next year. MY PARTNERS: @FASSFUELSYSTEMS Custom lightweight lift pump and team support. @dynomitedieselproducts Stroker 12mm CP3 pump, Super Mental injectors and @freedomracingengines 6.7 Cummins Race engine. @toyotires Motorsport slicks and R888R tires. @garrettmotion Compound GTX Gen 2 turbochargers. @litespeedracing 3 piece GT10 motorsport wheels. @ptpturboblankets heat management. @atsdiesel Billet 48re transmissions. @wilwooddiscbrakes 6 piston Aero-6 14″ front and 13″ rear brakes. @nitrousexpress NXD 375 water meth system and Max 5 controller. @thehoonigans Swag and internet breaking video. @bellintercoolers Custom coolers. @tialsport MVR wastegastes. tuned by @breakouttuning @red_line_oil Brake fluid, gear oil, trans fluid, diesel water wetter and engine oil. @sparcousa Circuit seats, 6 point harnesses, and 14″ race wheel. @motonsuspensionusa 3 way motorsport dampers. @astsuspensionna Air jacks @swiftsprings Coil springs @antigravitybatteries Lithium Ion Battery @aprperformance Tri-level carbon wing. @safecraft Fire supression system. @boxousa Tools and tool storage. @nexgenfuel Nexdiesel 100% plant based with 70% less emissions than petrol based diesel. @mbrpexhaust Exhaust components @vibrantperformance HD clamps, PTFE lines and titanium tubing. @theoriginalfluidampr @airaid air filters @amsperformance Engineering support. . . #PPIHC2020

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Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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