In two words, this feature is pretty much complete: Pat Ford-'nuff said. Some of you might not know who he is right off hand or have never met him, but I'm sure you have all heard of the F-100 Supernationals that have been running for almost 30 years, which Pat Ford Promotions has been in charge of since day one. But the man is more than a successful promoter-he's a trucker!
To prove this, let's do a little test for those at home reading along: Raise your hand if you like Fords. Now raise your hand if you like F-100s. OK, now keep your hands up if you've owned over 20 F-100s. Now, 30? How 'bout 40? Well, it looks like Pat still has his hand up, and he might be the only one at this point. Pat has had them all over the years, from stockers to mild and on into the wild. Once he had a '56 big- window called the "Turbo F-100" that had a crazy turbocharged 351M engine, a Jag rearend, and a stainless steel whale-tail of a spoiler out back that was ahead of its time. With the Supernats now being the world's largest classic truck gathering, Pat has his hands pretty full these days and doesn't quite have the time to pour into an intense project. It just so happened he found a stock '57 F-100 sitting beside a body shop that he thought was probably there for a restoration, but he stopped just to make sure. It turned out the body shop's owner had taken the truck in on a debt owed to him, and it was just collecting dust. Needless to say, a deal was made and Pat added another set of keys to his pocket.
The old Ford wasn't too bad, and it still wore its original paint, but a few things needed to be freshened up. He took the tired 292-inch Y-block to Heintz Brothers Automotive in his hometown of Statesville, North Carolina, to have all the necessary machine work done for a stock rebuild, after which he carried everything over to his friend Joe Montaigne for assembly. A full synchromesh three-speed trans from a '63 Ford took the place of the stock unit, and Sanderson headers and a custom-built stainless steel exhaust system were thrown into the mix with a bang. When he heard that fresh Y-block fire up for the first time, it just about knocked his socks off! It sounded meaner than most big-block Chevys.
The body- and paintwork were to be fairly straightforward, except for one detail-it would soon be transformed into a Mercury. Jeff Coggins got to work smoothing out the bumps and bruises in the body, while Pat conspired with his old friend and longtime trucker Gray Pratt from the Great White North. It looked like Gray had enough parts to turn Pat's truck into an M-100, Ford's Canadian brother sold under the Mercury banner.
The plan was going to be a success, but things would be a little different this time around. Pat has a bit of hot rodder mixed into his trucker genes, and he wanted to mix the old-time spirit of the two in the form of a service station/parts getter/ dragstrip push truck all wrapped up in worry-free primer and lettering on the doors like you'd find on any of the previously mentioned haulers. So after the last coat of the grey stuff was laid down, Pat had the Tommy Stevert Sign Shop ink up the doors. All that was left was a dropped axle, whitewalls, spun aluminum Moon discs, and it was done. Pat knows how to get the word out, and he does it well in the '57, which he drives five or six times a week, and he's not afraid to let that 292 sing, either! He even handed me the keys for this photo shoot and said, "Have fun." If you want to see more of Pat's truck while it's sitting still, you'd better be quick about it!