Classic Trucks Finest Five 2013

Rodney Carter's Shady Shores, Texas-based 1971 Dodge D-100 ain't a trailer queen; it's more like a trailer king serving as an occasional tow vehicle for any of Rodney's fully restored Mopar muscle cars. The Dodge sports a surprisingly powerful 225-cube slant-six backed by a 727 automatic, and its beautifully restored cab (fitted with a 1968 D-100 hood) and bed ride on a quartet of polished Halibrands wrapped in wide whites. The D-100 is still fitted with its original bed wood, and a completely restored interior sporting a Classic Auto Sound stereo system that helps while away the freeway miles.

Lloyd Lang is a firm believer in going big or not going at all. And Mr. Lang sure went big with his arrow-straight 1963 Unibody. Above and beyond good looks, Lloyd's F-100 is chock full of engineering tricks like mating the complete front suspension from an 2004 Crown Vic with a 32-valve, 4.6-liter Lincoln V-8 backed by an AOD transmission. Not to be outdone, the rear of the customized frame received an equal amount of attention with the addition of a 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII independent rear suspension system. With a gorgeous exterior restoration, a chassis and suspension system that serves up a luxurious ride, and a modern driveline with plenty of horsepower, the crowning addition is a beautiful 1963 Ford Galaxie XL 500 interior that'll knock your socks off.

Poolville, Texas-classic trucker Cliff Beckner pulled out the stops when he built his blinding-yellow 1966 GMC. Cliff started out on the trucks foundation, installing a No Limit Engineering IFS setup with Wilwood discs. Out back he used a Currie 9-inch, No Limit four-bar coilover rear suspension, and RideTech air ride at all four corners. For motorvation Cliff chose a monstrous, balanced and blueprinted 455-cube Olds motor. With the chassis, suspension, and driveline handled Cliff turned his attention to the pickup's sheetmetal. The cab and bed were massaged back into shape and coated with a glass-smooth coating of bright yellow followed by a few licks of gold pearl ghost flames.

Now here's a nifty classic pickup. Gil Ragland built himself this way-cool Finest-Five pick, Ada, Oklahoma-based 1961 Studebaker Champ. Gil's awesome Stude is powered by a healthy 305-cube Chevy small-block backed by a TH350 trans. The Champ's fully upgraded chassis and suspension utilizes a Fatman Fabrications IFS system and four-wheel disc brakes. Body-wise Gil not only massaged the cab and bed back into pristine condition, he also added a bunch of custom touches as well. Up front there's a quartet of vintage Buick-style portholes in the hood and a pair of 1954 Merc headlight assemblies Frenched into the fenders too. The cargo bed features a beautiful maple bed floor, and the whole rear section of the bed was sliced and tilted forward a full 3 inches before being fitted with a pair of custom LED taillight assemblies.

When builder/fabricator Wrangler Hammond decided to build himself a cool classic pickup he knew from the start that he wanted to end up with a rocker-panel-grinding hot rod built in the traditional style. And the talented young Mr. Hammond hit the nail on the head by revamping his old high school commuter. With a bunch of neat ideas and a good-sized helping of elbow grease he transformed his battered old work truck into this shaved, slammed 1964 C10. The Chevy is powered by a hot little vintage 283 backed by a four-speed stick, and a set of 20-inch steelies wrapped in skinny whites fill the wheel openings whenever the air is bled from its quartet of bags (via an artful tangle of copper hardline). Wrangler's shop truck is destined to serve him well, just as it has every day since high school.