In 1958 Doug Bentz was introduced to the world of fast cars while attending the Howard Stamp Memorial Drag Race with his dad at the Famoso dragstrip just outside of his hometown of Bakersfield, California. Now known as the famous March Meet Fuel and Gas Championships, the race planted quite a seed in a young and impressionable Doug. And after cruising with a friend in his lowered F-100 in the late '50s, it was hook, line, and sinker!
In '60 and '61 Doug won the Mobil Oil Co. Safety and Economy Run for high school students in a Ford Falcon that turned out an impressive 24.93 mpg. Later in life Doug raced Mini Stock from '77-87 at Mesa Marin racetrack, where he took two track championships and moved up into Open Competition Camaro, where he ran in the Top Ten in points for 10 more years. He also graduated from the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in '80, where he learned more than a few tricks, I'm sure.
Doug doesn't race anymore, but he still enjoys all forms of racing, and thinking back on those days in high school tooling around in the slammed F-100, he thought he'd like to have one to put his foot into. After a long period of searching he finally pulled the trigger on an uncompleted project in a local paper. Kind of like trying to hold a sandwich that's falling apart in your hands, Doug put the pieces together enough to drive the truck around town for about two years while battling countless gremlins like the fuel pump falling off while out with his son, fixing it with a Swiss Army knife and a spare bolt. It was common for Doug to keep his bike in the bed for some involuntary peddling home.
Finally, the truck was blown apart to box the frame, weld in a Volare front clip, and install a No-Limit four-bar out back to hold the mid-'80s Lincoln rearend in place. The chopped top was finally finished after driving around with no side glass for a while. Kyle Gann at K-Daddy's Kustoms in Bakersfield sorted out the rest of the bodywork, including molding the rain gutters, shaving the door handles, pancaking the hood, welding the cowl and side vents, channeling the cab 4 inches, shortening the bed 2 1/2 inches, and sectioning it 3 inches. Once the welder was cool, Kyle painted everything in DuPont Viper Red.
Since Doug had his fair share of going really fast on the track, he kept the '55 tame with a pretty stock 350 Chevy bored 0.030-over, balanced, stuffed with a COMP Cam, and capped with a four-barrel Holley. The ram's horn exhaust manifolds dump into a 3-inch MagnaFlow system that stops out back thanks to Mike Keene at Bakersfield Muffler.
Inside, the Effie is simple and effective with VDO Heritage Gold gauges, a GM tilt column, and a Lecarra Hollow Point steering wheel. Kool Auto Air installed the Vintage Air system that's mandatory around Kern County for summertime fun. A Ford LTD bench seat with a built-in armrest was covered in bone color tweed, and light camel carpet ties the floor in nicely.
Nowadays, you won't find a bike on the polished bed floor, you'll just find trophies, if you can catch the truck standing still. To help keep the family tradition going, Doug spent plenty of time with both his son and grandson in the truck as well as at the track. Keep up the good work, boys.