Austin Parker is a dyed-in-the-wool car guy. His first car was a mildly customized '57 Chevy--that didn't last long. In 1964, he traded it in for a '40 Ford coupe that he still owns. He's been having fun building street rods ever since. In 2000, Austin was building a '37 Ford coupe with his cousin J.R. Spurlock and friend Mark Newman when he attended the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, for his twentieth year in a row. In the Downs' Manufacturing display was their new product, a zoomie version of the classic '37 Ford pickup truck.

The attractive fiberglass body comes out of the mold with a 3-inch chop, longer doors, and slightly exaggerated proportions. As soon as the coupe was finished, he sold it to start on a Downs' truck. While at another show in Indianapolis, Austin discovered the '40 Ford version of the Downs' "pick 'em up." He absolutely loved the new styling and immediately struck up a deal with Jimmy Downs for the truck the way it sat at the show. It was the first one out of the mold and was optioned up for the show tour with the glass, steering column and wheel, wheels and tires, and a few other goodies--making it faster to finish. He then had to wait the longest month of his life to take delivery, as the wild display truck needed to make a few more stops before arriving in Austin and at his wife Janet's house.

The sturdy Downs' chassis was modified by Tim Taylor of Taylor's Rod Shop in New Miami, Ohio, and features a proven Mustang II-style Downs' frontend with an Air Ride Technologies' airbag setup. Under the bed resides the venerable 9-inch Ford with a four-link Air Ride system.

Perched at the front of the chassis is a stock '97 Chevrolet LT1 extracted from an expired Corvette. Austin figured that if 300 ponies are good enough for a Corvette, why change it? A beautifully polished aluminum Griffin radiator keeps engine temperatures in check. All of the shiny bits were allocated from Street and Performance, as were the headers. Melodious exhaust gasses then travel through Flowmaster mufflers and out 2 1/2-inch pipes custom-built by Mike's Muffler Shop in Connersville, Indiana.

Austin liked the sexy shape of the truck so much that he didn't change a thing. After fitting and gapping the truck, Mark Newman of Cincinnati, Ohio, applied the gorgeous black PPG paint. Wade Hughes and Josh Shaw of Ohio Flames (also in Cincinnati) roasted the truck in traditional yellow-to-red flame colors. Underneath that deep paint is a Pro's Pick electric tonneau cover and a Pro's Pick oak bed that hides a 20-gallon Rock Valley stainless-steel fuel tank. Exterior jewelry consists of a Downs' polished stainless-steel grille.

Once "the look" was achieved, attention was focused on the interior. Pontiac Fiero bucket seats were employed for comfort. The talented Steve Holcomb of Knoxville, Tennessee, formed the wild door panels and curvaceous console, and then covered everything in red and black leather and vinyl. The floor is lined with rich black wool carpeting. Brian Boomershine of Hamilton, Ohio, installed a boomin' Pioneer stereo system for the long drives and a Pioneer DVD player for passenger entertainment. A deep-cycle Optima battery provides plenty of reserve power for the stereo equipment and airbags.

Now that Austin's dream truck is finished, he's mopping up the accolades. His truck has even been a star on Street Rodder TV! The question is, will it be a permanent part of his collection alongside his old '40 coupe? We think so.

F A C T S & F I G U R E S
Austin and Janet Parker
Oxford, Ohio

1940 Ford

CHASSIS

Frame Downs' Manufacturing
Modifications airbag brackets installed by Taylor's Rod Shop, New Miami, OH
Rearend / Ratio Ford 9" / 3.70:1
Rear suspension Air Ride Technologies airbags and four-link
Rear brakes Ford drum
Front suspension Downs' Manufacturing Mustang II tubular A-arm
Front brakes GM 11" disc
Master cylinder GM
Steering Mustang II rack-and-pinion
Front wheel make, size Billet Specialties Vintec, 16 x 6
Rear wheel make, size Billet Specialties Vintec, 17 x 8
Front tire make, size BF Goodrich 215/50R16
Rear tire make, size BF Goodrich 255/50R17
Gas tank Rock Valley 20-gallon

ENGINE

Year and make '97 Chevrolet LT1
Displacement 350 ci
Camshaft stock
Heads stock
Valve covers Street & Performance
Manifold / Induction GM fuel injection
Ignition / Wires HEI / stock
Headers Street and Performance
Exhaust / Mufflers duals by Mike's Muffler Shop, Connersville, IN / Flowmaster

TRANSMISSION

Make and model GM 4L60-E
Modifications stock
Shifter Flaming River column shift

BODY

Body style / Material pickup / fiberglass
Manufacturer Downs' Manufacturing
Fenders front/rear Downs' Manufacturing
Modifications none
Hood Downs' Manufacturing
Grille stock, Downs' Manufacturing polished stainless steel
Bed Pro's Pick with white oak floor
Bodywork and paint by Mark Newman, Cincinnati, OH
Paint type / Color PPG / black
Graphics Ohio Flames, Wade Hughes, Josh Shaw, Cincinnati, OH
Headlights / Taillights stock / LED
Outside mirrors custom
Bumpers none

INTERIOR

Dashboard Downs' Manufacturing, custom console
Gauges Dakota Digital
Stereo / Speakers Pioneer CD/DVD / Pioneer
Air conditioning Vintage Air
Wiring EZ Wiring
Steering wheel Flaming River
Steering column Flaming River
Seats Pontiac Fiero
Upholsterer Steve Holcomb, Knoxville, TN
Material / Color leather and vinyl / black and red
Carpet black wool