It's hard to improve on a truck design that's as pleasing as the '53-56 F-100, but hot rodders have been using several successful modifications for decades. A tried-and-true first step is to lower the suspension as much as possible. The second is to get rid of some excess chrome. And if you really want to distinguish your Effie, you'll take a few inches out of the top.

Ray Osborn, of Ralston, Nebraska, employed all three of those elements when building his '55 F-100, but he put most of his emphasis on the top chop. There's a whopping 7 inches missing from the roof's height, which certainly lends a sinister element to the truck's appearance. But the top chop is far from the only body mod on this beast. It's also missing most of its trim, as well as its bumpers. The bed is a '79 F-100 item (with '55 fenders, of course), and has been treated to a custom metal bed cover, '89 Trans Am wing, smooth tailgate (with handmade, full-width louvers), and custom taillights in a rolled pan. D&B Street Rod in Omaha takes credit for the bodywork, as well as the yellow DuPont paint.

Underneath all that sliced-and-diced sheetmetal is a chassis that's been modified an equal amount. Ray parted out a '77 Cougar to get most of the truck's mechanical gear, including the front frame stub (with IFS and disc brakes) and the 351-inch V-8 engine (which was rebuilt using an Engle cam and Edelbrock induction). He even used the Cougar steering column. Out back there's an 8-inch Ford rearend, and the truck rides on a quartet of Center Line wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber.

If you're getting the feeling that Ray doesn't like to leave things stock, you're right. The interior is also a custom affair, sporting a Tea's seat (covered in leather by the Recovery Room in Omaha), Dakota Digital gauges, a Grant wheel, and a stereo system pirated from a Lincoln Mark VIII. The dash is painted to match the truck, and the carpet is tan cut pile.

A slammed suspension, smooth body, and lowered lid are sure-fire ingredients for a hot rod Effie. Ray's '55 has all of those elements in abundance. And while the 7-inch chop may seem a little extreme to some folks (particularly purists), Ray doesn't seem too concerned about outside opinions. After all, he's having too much fun cruising with his buddies to shows across the country.

CHASSIS
Frame / Manufacturer modified stock/Ford
Modifications '77 Cougar front clip
Rearend / Ratio 8-inch /3.00:1
Rear suspension leaf spring
Rear brakes drum
Front suspension '77 Cougar IFS
Front brakes disc
Master cylinder power
Steering Cougar power box
Steering column '77 Cougar
Front wheel make, size Center Line, 15x6
Rear wheel make, size Center Line, 15x10
Front tire make, size BFGoodrich, 205/60R15
Rear tire make, size BFGoodrich, 285/70R15
Gas tank homemade, 22gallon