We already liked the look of this truck when we spotted it in the Summit Racing Retail Store parking lot near Akron, Ohio a while back, but we were even more excited to see the badge on the hood—denoting one of the F-100s equipped with Ford’s relatively new three-speed automatic transmission.

fordomatic emblem on hood of 1956 ford f-100
(Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

The Blue Oval unveiled its Fordomatic transmission in 1951, and gradually introduced it across its passenger car model lineup. When the Ford F-Series truck entered its second generation in 1953, the Fordomatic option came with it.

After a series of mechanical updates, the Fordomatic (AKA “Ford-O-Matic”) name was dropped in the late 1950s as Ford began using the “Cruise-O-Matic” name in its marketing literature. The Cruise-O-Matic would continue to evolve over the years and ultimately begat the familiar Ford AOD transmission.

Ford F-100 series emblem on a 1956 truck
When Ford introduced its second-gen. F-series trucks in 1953, the Blue Oval switched from the single digit naming convention (IE, F-1) used on earlier trucks, and began the now-standard three digit series—in this case, the F-100. (Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

While the venerable Flathead V8 carried over for the first year of the second-gen. F-100, the trusty overhead valve Ford Y-block V8 entered the party in 1954.

1956 was the final year of the second-gen. F-100, and the truck continued evolving with—gasp—the introduction of electric windshield wipers too. (Anyone who’s dealt with vacuum-powered wipers in a vehicle struggling uphill during a rain shower knows how big of a deal that changeover was.)

Combine that OHV Y-block with electric wipers and a newfangled automatic transmission, and whoever ordered this F-100 back in 1956 got a lot of hi-tech features in their humble pickup truck.

air conditioned badge on a 1956 ford f-100
(Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

But here’s what’s curious about this particular truck—an “Air Conditioned” badge under the driver’s window.

While we’re not vintage Ford truck experts around here, we’re pretty sure that A/C wasn’t originally available on these early F-Series models. The Blue Oval had just recently introduced air conditioning as an upscale (read: pricey) option on its Ford/Lincoln/Mercury passenger cars a few years prior, so it’d be a surprise to see it offered on what was then considered a utilitarian truck. But again, we’re not 100% sure on that.

We’re guessing that emblem denotes a retrofit with something like a Vintage Air setup—alas, we couldn’t track down the truck’s owner to confirm, so if you have any insight, let us know about it in the comments section below.

1956 ford f100 rear view
(Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

In addition to its gorgeous authentic patina, this 1956 Ford F-100 also has some subtle custom touches, like flush-mount taillights in the rear fenders and a nice suspension rake, so we’re calling this a restomod regardless of the A/C anyway.

The chrome grille up front is a factory option too, as a substitute for a painted grille offered on base models.

All together, this classic 1956 Ford F-100 combines a lot of slick, discreet upgrades and a mix of some interesting factory features—making for one cool retro hauler.

That’s why it had to be one of our regular Lot Shots features.

1956 ford f-100 parked at Summit Racing
(Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)
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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.