Venturing off the stable path of F-100s and almost any old Chevy, we find cast off in the nether regions the runts or "novelty" haulers, such as the Econoline, Corvair, and A100 trucks. When one of these are brought up in conversation most people chuckle and follow that with a sorry shake of the head, but this family of castoffs has had to work hard all these years to keep up with the rest of the pack. If we even knew how many of these serviced our phones and utilities over the years, maybe they'd be a little more appreciated; this author had a '61 Econoline that was an old Southern Bell truck.
Thankfully, there are guys like Jeff and Howard Hyman, a father son team from Laguna Niguel, California, who have owned no less than three Econoline trucks. After selling the second one, an itch for another mini-cabover made itself known. The two searched for a candidate that wasn't too far gone, having learned what to and not to do during their previous builds.
Not too far away, Gregg Coddington picked up a '65 Econoline Deluxe at the Pomona Swap Meet that was already painted and lookin' sharp. It still had the stock drivetrain, but it needed an interior. Gregg got the interior done in nice black and gray leather to match the black and silver paint scheme the pickup already wore, but was soon too busy with other projects and sold it to Don Christie, president of NADA, the Blue Book people.
Don took the '65 to his longtime friend/builder Jim Van Gordon in Upland, Cailifornia, for a new drivetrain. The cramped doghouse between the seats was soon stuffed with 302 inches of small-block power. Jim built the roller motor, born in 1990, and balanced and blueprinted it before he got out the shoehorn. To aid in the transplant, he made a custom stainless exhaust system that employs Dynomax mufflers. The 320 ponies punch through a C-4 Jim built along with the limited-slip Ford 9-inch rearend that easily smokes the American Racing Torq-Thrusts
In a bold but good move, the straight axle still resides under the toes of the occupants and fits with the overall modernly clean '60s-style unibody that happens to be quite rare in its own right. Supposedly, these Deluxe models were only built for a period of two months in '65. Depending on what you read, 90 to 200 Deluxes were built in June and July that summer!
The inside of the plush cab was topped off with some Auto Meter gauges mounted on the dash in chrome cups in addition to the stock cluster. Once the chrome work was finished and the Alpine stereo was in, it was time to cruise! The guys jump in the practical yet showy Ford any chance they get, including attending many Southern California shows and using the little guy to run errands for their classic car appraisal business. If you're in the area, Jeff and Howard aren't hard to spot-just look for their grins!