It really does seem to be who you know in life and not so much of what you know. You could be the smartest person in the world, and if you had never set foot outside the house, how would anyone know? It's all about networking. Taft Asher from Manchester, Kentucky, can attest to what happens when you begin to network. While he and his son-in-law Terry were at a car show, they spoke to a guy who knew of on old Ford truck that was sitting on a farm in London, Kentucky. The two looked at each other and agreed to check it out. The following Monday, they shot over to that farm and, like the man said, found a '53 Ford F-100 that seemed to be waiting for them. Just like that, the farmer told them what he wanted, and they handed the thousand bucks over.

Not wasting any time, they got to work tearing it apart. A call was promptly made to Fatman Fabrications to order one of their IFS frontends. With the delivery time a few weeks away, the guys started boxing the stock rails and narrowing the '66 Ford 9-inch rearend by 3 inches, followed by spraying primer and paint on the housing. By this time, the front-end showed up and was now one with the rest of the chassis. The Mustang II-based kit was complete with 2-inch dropped spindles, shorter springs, 10-inch disc brakes, and rack-and-pinion steering.

Between the fenderwells is a bone-stock 350hp '95 LT1 that dresses up with Advance Plating's valve covers and air cleaner. A set of Sanderson short-block headers help the small-block breathe, followed by a custom 2-inch stainless steel exhaust that dumps into Flowmaster mufflers on either side of the 4L60E trans.

Now, the daring duo wanted to try their hands at chopping the top. Neither one had experience in this department, so they took a few words of wisdom from Taft's cousin, David Smith, who suggested they take 3 1/2 inches out of the front, and 3 inches from the rear of the cab. With that in mind, they dove in and just went for it, armed with a Skilsaw and a MIG-welder. Taft and Terry were pleased with the results. Even the glass guy, Mr. King, was impressed and told them it was one of the best chops he'd ever seen. The glass fit perfectly; what a relief.

The body and paintwork was tackled by a high school senior in Manchester, Kentucky. Not letting age get in his way, Robbie Byrd went at the truck with the same can-do attitude possessed by the owners. Robbie repaired the usual rust, widened the stock rear fenders by 3 inches, and incorporated Jaguar headlights and custom-made taillights. The F-100 also got roll pans, front and rear, from Dennis Carpenter who also manufactured the new bed. After countless hours blocking out the body, Robbie shot everything in Erica Red. Taft's late brother-in-law, Doug Smith, concocted this mix when he was trying to achieve Dana Red and Boyd Red; both discontinued because they were lacquer-based. The name Erica Red was taken from Doug's granddaughter, and is a "tri-coat system." It wound up taking three coats of base, three coats of tint, and three coats of clear to bring the F-100 to its intended brilliance. Since then Robbie took everything he learned in his teens and has opened his own body shop there in Manchester.

The Boyd Coddington 17- and 20-inch hoops set off the color like a nice set of diamond earrings. Advance Plating in Nashville, Tennessee, handled the rechroming.