The paint alone will make your eyeballs pop clean outta your head! Originally an old ranch truck from Wyoming, Don Brocopp dragged this F-100 home for $100. Now his radiant 1956 Ford embodies taste with a classic blend of old and new. Subtle and sexy, the ghost flames lay perfectly on the explosive lime green paint applied to a shaved hood. Fitted with unexpected wheels, the Mehelich knock-offs complement the traditional stance, the exhaust pipes cut into the running boards, and the frenched blue-dot taillights elevate this build to a higher level.
Growing up in the '50s, Don still hangs out with many of his ol' school friends. Each Saturday they get together at his shop on the south side of Billings, Montana, to wrench on each other's hot rods. As he explains laughingly, "It's just a bunch of 'young guys' in their 60s!" With several builds going at once, it's a place where ideas get pushed around and rides become realities. Longtime friend Ronn Duty's custom Studebaker sits completed next to the garage door, farther down is Ronn's '39 Ford Tudor sedan and Butch Bailey's '63 Corvette in mid-construction, while a string of Don's previous pristine projects rest quietly against the shop wall.
With an emphasis on Chevy products in his collection, it is easy to follow Don's footsteps to swap the Bow Tie small-block into the Effie. Lifting the Ford's hood reveals a streamlined GM Ram Jet crate motor with all the chrome and billet stylishly painted the body color. Almost every part in the engine bay is sprayed Planetary Green. From the valve covers to the master cylinder, only the induction box and radiator stand as the sole naked survivors.
Like most five-year projects, this build required an owner with vision and tenacity, along with the ability to select top-drawer talent for the specialty work. After carefully stripping the frame and welding all the holes, Don grafted a Plymouth Volare front clip to the modified Ford frame. Then he gave the cab and bed over to a talented young bodyman, Kevin Van Laarhoven of Shepherd, Montana, for prep and paint. Selecting the unique Planetary Green color and giving him specific instructions on the ghost flames, Kevin carefully applied the paint using three House of Kolor hues to achieve the visual shockwave. Standing in the shop looking at the painter's masterful artwork, Don recounted the inspiration for the flames, "I wanted them very subtle. You have to walk up to see them. Not see 'em and then walk up!"