Whether they knew it or not, The Ford Motor Company created more than a legendary pickup truck when they introduced their second version of the F-100 in 1956. Some would speculate the model wasn't particularly liked by the company, as they would immediately turn around and completely redesign it the following year. However, others disagree, preferring to think Ford knew all too well that this one-year-only Effie would one day become a poster child a generation later, creating a cultlike following that pretty much became the business model of what is now the world of classic trucks.
You don't necessarily have to be a true-blue Ford nut to understand the phenomena--the '56 F-100 is simply a great-looking truck. But the deeper you delve into the fraternal order of Effie owners, the more you see how important the full FoMoCo aspect really is. In other words, the "C" word is not acceptable under any circumstances.
Since the age of 13, Oklahoman John Dunn has had an affinity for '56s. In all, he's owned four since the early '80s--no fanatic by any means, but then again, some people would be happy to own just one in their lifetime. His latest is a truck he'd known about for some time, as he continually crossed paths with it at various shows throughout the '90s. Like a paparazzi on a pop star, John kept close tabs on the truck. His persistence paid off in June '04 when the previous owner decided to end the F-100's recent hibernation and willingly turned the keys over. To this day, the '56--Dusty--still wears its Man in Black DuPont enamel paint applied by Dan Lashley well over a decade ago (it looks fresher than some new paint jobs!), but beneath the truck, it is nothing like it used to be.
Together with Ronnie Barkley (who has since passed away) and his son, Ronnie Jr., John built a completely new chassis for the truck. A Fatman Stage III IFS occupies the forward portion of the perimeter, while a No Limit Fatbar four-link hangs a 9-inch rearend on the opposing end. Now resting above the frontend is a .030-over 351W backed by an AOD overdrive--an excellent combination of Blue Oval drivetrain components.
After the sheetmetal was carefully installed onto its new platform, John had Jimmy Gowen redo the truck's interior. To complement Wheel Vintiques steelies, the guts were done in true hot rod fashion: bright red UltraLeather from top to bottom. His son Eric finished up the cab's internals by installing a complete Kenwood sound system.
Though the wheels were the only real visible indication at first glance, in a year's time, the truck had undergone a serious transformation--but Dusty still possessed the natural charm that attracted John to her in the first place.