There's a certain amount of truth in the stereotype of hot rodders being a bunch of overgrown kids. Take, for instance, the universal tendency to bury ourselves under multiple projects. Like children in a sandbox, we're never quite content with our current toys. Someone else shows up with another toy--not necessarily newer or shinier, just different--and we want it, too.
Robert Garrison can relate. His '56 F-100 took six years to build because he kept pushing it aside to take on new projects. First it was a partially completed '69 Camaro that he bought and finished. Then he sold it and bought another Camaro in need of a rebuild. Meanwhile Robert's friends--a group of guys who wrench on each other's projects--weren't helping matters. They diverted his attention to help get Larry Holmes' '55 Chevy and Jackey Hawkins' '32 Ford on the road. After four years of floundering, it was starting to look like the old Effie might never see the road.
But Robert never gave up hope as he continued collecting parts and occasionally spent a few hours on the old Ford. After nearly four years as an "on again, off again" project, the F-100 finally became a primary focus again. Larry and Jackey reciprocated Robert's assistance on their projects, digging in along with fellow friend Phil Bailey to help finish the truck.
The crew didn't spare any effort, either. They attacked the pickup with modifications ranging from a five-inch top chop, suicide doors, and rolled pans, to more subtle enhancements like filled seams, tapered drip rails, and shaved trim. Everything that could be smoothed is, from the firewall to the doorjambs. These guys even went so far as to make their own distinctive bed wood by laminating thin strips of bamboo together. Their collective exterior efforts are covered in two tones of PPG paint--Chevy truck teal-green and Pontiac beige-cream.
The Ford's skin isn't the only thing that's heavily modified. Inside you'll find a custom seat stitched in cream-colored leather (Robert's first upholstery job!), surrounded by matching door panels. Equally impressive is the filled and smoothed dash that's home to A/C controls, billet vents, and Auto Meter gauges--four of which reside in custom pods. Those instruments keep track of a healthy big-block Chevy residing in a heavily modified frame (boxed and C-notched rails, and a '78 Malibu subframe) and sending power to a 9-inch rearend.
Colorado Custom wheels and BFGoodrich rubber transfer that power to the pavement and complete the truck's visual statement in one fell swoop. It may have had a slow start, but this slick '56 finally came through with flying colors. Now that it's finished we can't imagine anything diverting Robert's attention from driving and enjoying it. Because with a toy like this, he'll rule the sandbox!