e all know that "ultra-low" is not the priority of the average classic truck enthusiast. But there are those (usually on the extreme right or left coasts) who aspire to achieve the ultimate suspension alterations, and as non-biased truck folk, we must give them a little love, too. (Actually, the majority of CT's staff is into the lower-than-low haulers, for what it's worth!)
As you can clearly see, we've found what may be one of the lowest F-250s to ever be featured in this magazine in finished form. And when we say "low," we're not just talking airbags and a heavily Z'd frame. No sir--take a close look and you'll see that Russ Conway's '65 Ford is literally laying its rocker-less sheetmetal on the ground...and it can be driven that way!
To give credit where credit's due, Russ got his Ford with the suspension altered to the max. Neighboring El Cajon, California, builder David "Li'l D" Chappelle, whose shop is aptly named The Lowering Block, began the longbed project a few years prior. With his specialty being extreme suspension, that remained his primary focus. When he first purchased it, though, he had to do a little selling in the classifieds--camper shell, 31-inch all-terrains on Jackmans, 352/FMX, and the complete front suspension--before he got busy with the alterations. With the unneeded parts off'd, Li'l D located a '76 Camaro, from which he robbed the front clip and running gear (yessir, this'un is Chevy powered!). With bodywork not even on his mind, the goal was to get the '65 up and running for a trip from San Diego to Austin, Texas, back in April of 2004. The day and night backside busting consisted of not only grafting the 'bagged GM front suspension on with an enormous step notch, but also locating the 10-bolt rearend via a custom-made triangulated four-link with 'bags. While many think the Ford's been channeled, it hasn't; it's had 2 inches of framerail removed from beneath the cab area in order to allow the sheetmetal to rest on earth. The rear portion of the frame was equally as notched as the front, and to aid in frontal lowness, a set of Superior 2-inch dropped spindles was used. Of course, all of these modifications steamrolled into further must-do mods, like the front wheelhouses being removed and pretty much most of the bed space sacrificed for a large sheetmetal cover, with the fuel tank relocated from behind the seat to in front of the notch cover.
Li'l D threw on a set of wide whites, had friend Brandon Luffe completely go through the Chevy engine, did some various exterior jobs, like shaving the handles and using cold-roll for a driprail reveal, and along with ex-Mini Truckin' editor, Courtney Halowell, (now feature editor for Street Trucks), Li'l D hit the highways en route to the Lone Star State for the Lone Star Round Up in Austin. Coincidentally, this was the truck's maiden voyage; not so coincidentally, it made it back unscathed! Once back in San Diego, D was tied up in shop work. So the '65 went on the back burner. Even he admits that it would probably still be in primer if he had it to this day and that selling was never really the intention. Nevertheless, things happen for a reason, and Russ Conway was at the right place at the right time when the decision was made.
It also helped that Russ had just sold a shoebox Ford of his, so financially he was in a good position. And with the suspension complete, all that needed to be done was the bodywork, paint, upholstery, and finishing details. No problem--matter of fact, Russ was able to coordinate the completion of the '65 in a fraction of the time that Chappelle owned it!
Right off the bat, no time was wasted with the exterior re-do. With the help of Nathan Chalberg, the fenders were welded to the cowl, core support, and lower valance; bed seams welded; trim holes (115 of 'em!) filled; rear sheetmetal finished; and everything primed and blocked smooth. Nathan continued his work by shooting the dash and the jambs in Russ' garage, after which he completed the paint from within a heated downdraft booth at his workplace. The end result is a combination of PPG Cherry Bomb Candy over a black base, with silver-based scallops, overlaid with House of Kolor Ultra mini flake. Separating the colors, as well as adding a bit of Dutch flair, you'll find pinstriping by Manni Cisneros, while Line-X handled the bed lining appropriately.
Finally, Russ asked Roger Starkey to do the interior up in suiting fashion. To accent the exterior's scalloping, as well as the dash top, Roger used silver Zodiac with black vinyl and glitter piping over the bench seat and door panels along with black wool carpet also trimmed with silver flake. Stewart Warner gauges, a Moon tach and silver metalflake steering wheel, Speedway Smoothie stainless column, and a skull-topped floorshift round out the innard's amenities.
Much to Li'l D's surprise, Russ had the truck whipped out in no time flat! He was, however, glad to see it finished, and in the appropriate style no less.
|Facts & Figures |
|Russ Conway || |
|El Cajon, California || |
|1965 Ford F-250 || |
|CHASSIS || |
|Frame ||stock, but heavily modified |
|Modifications ||Camaro front clip, notched front, and rear, pie'd in center, all by the Lowering Block, El Cajon, CA |
|Rearend ||10-bolt |
|Rear suspension ||triangulated four-link, airbags |
|Rear brakes ||GM drum |
|Front suspension ||Camaro, Superior dropped spindles, airbags |
|Front brakes ||GM disc |
|Steering box ||Saginaw |
|Front wheel make, size ||US Wheel, 15x6 |
|Rear wheel make, size ||US Wheel, 15x8 |
|Front tire make, size ||Denman, G78 bias-ply |
|Rear tire make, size ||Denman, G78 bias-ply |
|Gas tank ||relocated to bed |
|ENGINE || |
|Year and make ||'76 Chevy 350 |
|Machining / Assembly ||Brandon Luffe |
|Valve covers ||stock, painted |
|Manifold / Induction ||Edelbrock |
|Ignition ||HEI |
|Headers ||Patriot |
|Exhaust / Mufflers ||custom / glasspacks |
|TRANSMISSION || |
|Make and model ||'76 TH350 |
|Modifications ||B&M shift kit |
|Shifter ||Daytona floorshift |
|BODY || |
|Modifications ||filled seams, peaked driprail, shaved handles and trim |
|Front fenders ||stock, welded to body |
|Hood ||stock, nosed |
|Grille ||stock, polished by Romero's Custom Polishing |
|Bed ||stock, modified floor for suspension clearance |
|Bodywork and paint by ||Nathan Chalberg |
|Paint type / Color ||PPG, House of Kolor / Cherry Bomb Red, silver mini flake |
|Headlights / Taillights ||stock |
|Bumpers ||stock |
|INTERIOR || |
|Dashboard ||stock, custom painted, filled insert |
|Gauges ||Stewart Warner |
|Stereo ||Sony CD |
|Steering wheel ||Mooneyes metalflake |
|Steering column ||Speedway Smoothie |
|Seat ||stock |
|Upholstery by ||Roger Starkey |
|Material / Color ||vinyl / black, silver Zodiac |
|Carpet ||black wool |