For as long as I can remember, I've always dreamt of finding an old hot rod or custom that's been stashed away, hidden from the public's eye for decades, just waiting for somebody (me) to resurrect it. Suffice it to say, it's still a dream, but year after year, I continually hear stories of people who have had such luck. For the most part, Dan Collins is one of those people. I hate Dan Collins and everyone else who's been fortunate enough to stumble upon a buried treasure!

Yeah, OK, so I'm jealous, big deal. At least it's comforting knowing that not all, but most people do the right thing with their cherished finds rather than treating them like just another old car or truck. Like historical landmarks, I think old customs need to be preserved, especially since our natural resources are becoming scarcer as each year passes. Because Dan Collins is a "traditional" type guy, he did the right thing when he acquired his latest, a '38 Ford pickup that had been hot-rodded back in the '50s. It's been said that the truck, which was purchased in the Bay Area from Dan's friend Paul Borman, belonged to a sailor who used a military louver punch to vent the hood, put a dropped axle under it, and add juice brakes from a '40 Ford. Between then and now, it's probably anybody's guess who did what, but by the time Dan got his hands on it, the truck wasn't in the greatest condition.

Initially, the plan was to build a basic beater, but as many a project does, this one snowballed big time. From its shiny paint to its finished interior, the truck is now anything but a beater, as you can plainly see. Actually, Dan went the whole nine yards and then some, as he ended up chopping the top and even throwing in a '67 Corvette 327--complete with an Offy/Stromberg 97 six-two setup. The custom-mixed Wasabi Gold pearl applied by Dan's friend Nick O'Teen is complemented by an off-white and black tuck 'n' roll job and a set of '40 Ford steelies mounted with Firestone whitewalls and stainless Mercury caps.

Basically, the truck's a classic example of a period custom done right.This past December, Dan's truck was invited--and participated--as a special guest at the Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show in Yokohama, Japan. Having attended this very show with my Harley-Davidson a couple of years ago, I know what an honor it is to not only attend this unique event, but to do so with your own vehicle. And now, so does Dan. All that's left is for me to finally stumble upon that elusive barn find!