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!"
To assist with the wiring and put the finishing touches on the truck, Don enlisted Ron Tesinsky of Westside Kustoms in Billings. Explaining their successful working relationship, Ron said, "I kept showing him things and he kept saying, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah!' That makes it really fun for me, because you have to use some artistic flair while you're doing a project." A veteran Bonneville racer and trusted customizer, Ron has a keen eye for detail. Simplifying the engine bay, he developed a panel system that contoured the headers to conceal all the air-conditioning lines and heater hoses. Fabricated out of flat aluminum and fastened with flathead Allen screws, the panels create an elegant environment for the engine.
Inside the Ford cab, Don wanted to utilize a luxurious Cadillac Seville seat because of its convenient built-in shoulder harnesses and added lumbar support. So Ron took the concept and ran with it. Fabricating a one-of-a-kind console between the seats, Ron was able to hide the controls for the air conditioning, headlights, wipers, and ignition. With its brushed aluminum power door, the console closes smoothly to give a sense of space to a relatively tight cab. The kick panels were also handbuilt by Ron, sculpted from foam and fiberglass to incorporate the speakers and air-conditioning outlets. Finally wrapping the seats in rich leather and fitting the wool carpet, Gary Cylmore at Roundup Upholstery completed the handsome interior.
Recently receiving top honors at its first three shows, Don's blistering hot F-100 is prepped for its new incarnation. From its alluring flame job to its exquisite custom interior, watch for Don and his wife, Marilyn, to fill those stylish Foose mirrors with open road, as this truck won't be staying on the farm. Putting a grin on their faces, its white Auto Meter gauges will dance to the beat of 350 hp. Because as anyone can rightfully see, this pickup is more than just a classic truck...it is truly sublime!
|Facts & Figures|
|Don and Marilyn Brocopp|
|1956 Ford F-100|
|REAREND / RATIO|| 9-inch Ford / 3.00:1 gears|
|REAR SUSPENSION|| stock leaf springs|
|REAR BRAKES|| drum|
|FRONT SUSPENSION|| ’76 Plymouth Volare|
|FRONT BRAKES|| disc|
|STEERING BOX|| ’76 Plymouth Volare|
|FRONT WHEEL|| Mehelich knock-off, 14x7|
|REAR WHEELS|| Mehelich knock-off, 15x10|
|FRONT TIRES|| Cooper Cobra GT, 215/60R14|
|REAR TIRES|| Cooper Cobra GT, 255/60R15|
|GAS TANK|| relocated under pickup bed|
|ENGINE|| GM Ram Jet 350|
|HEADS|| Vortec |
|VALVE COVERS|| stock, painted|
|MANIFOLD / INDUCTION|| Ram Jet EFI|
|HEADERS|| DynoMax with Jet-Hot coating|
|EXHAUST|| custom by Terry Collett |
|TRANSMISSION|| GM 700-R4|
|SHIFTER|| Lokar with inlaid pearl grip by Ron Tesinsky of Westside Kustoms|
|STYLE|| F-100 |
|MODIFICATIONS|| Shaved door handles, 1-piece windows, corners rounded|
|FENDERS|| stock front with rear wheel-wells tubbed 3”|
|HOOD|| stock with forward tilt hinges|
|GRILLE|| stock, painted |
|BED|| stock with red oak wood|
|BODYWORK AND PAINT BY|| Kevin Van Laarhoven |
|PAINT TYPE / COLOR|| House of Kolor / Planetary Green|
|HEADLIGHTS / TAILLIGHTS|| stock/ frenched ’56 Chevy|
|OUTSIDE MIRRORS|| Foose Sun Spec |
|BUMPERS|| removed front and rear |
|DASHBOARD AND CONSOLE|| fabricated by Ron Tesinsky|
|GAUGE|| Auto Meter|
|AIR CONDITIONING|| Vintage Air |
|STEREO|| Alpine mounted in overhead console|
|STEERING WHEEL|| Billet Specialties|
|STEERING COLUMN|| ididit |
|SEATS|| ‘98 Cadillac Seville buckets|
|UPHOLSTERY BY|| Gary Cylmore of Roundup Upholstery|
|MATERIAL / COLOR|| leather / tan|
|CARPET|| tan wool |