This is the story of "The Dude". What started as a quickie build for a shop truck turned out to be one cool dude for a customer...not to mention, an adventurous build. For my second official project, I found a '54 Ford F-100 to build into a parts runner and rough cruiser. The plan was to be creative about as many components as possible to keep the build cost down, and it worked-for a while. The independent front suspension is from a Jaguar XJ12 and cost $300. It came with a power rack-and-pinion, big four-piston disc brakes, antisway bar, and a nice-looking double A-arm setup. The Ford 4.6L engine and trans were snagged from a super low-mileage '94 Cougar XR7 and cost $1,500. I had the computer reprogrammed by Powertrain Dynamics in Huntington Beach, California, to maximize the fuel-injected engine's power and make the electronic overdrive shift like a hot rod. Oh, I forgot to mention the 100hp wet shot of nitrous to make things real exciting! The rear axle is a new Ford 9-inch from Currie Enterprises housing 3.89 gears, a Detroit Truetrac, 31-spline axles, Explorer disc brakes, and is suspended by a custom four-link with Martz coilovers. I boxed the front and rear framerails to support the added stress of the newly designed suspension and gave the whole thing a healthy coating of chassis black.
Initially, the body was going to get a rough "put back together" look, but a friend introduced me to a guy who just so happened to be in the market for a '50s truck. I then sketched a new vision for a more finished look for the Ford's soon-to-be proud new owner, Jacques L. Devore. Now the truck was going to get a cleaner, somewhat stock look with some subtle changes to make it street tough and stay daily-driver friendly. The NAsCAr-ready Aero wheels and Hoosier Pro-street tires add tons of attitude, while the exhaust exits through the side steps in a stock car style as well. The homemade shorty headers and dual 3-inch Borla XLs make for a fantastic sound roaring from that 4.6 powerplant.
After debating on what to do with the body, a call was made to Larry at Blue Oval Truck Parts. He helped me get just about everything: all-new fenders, bed kit, bumpers and those thousandand-one things to button "The Dude" up. An aluminum fuel cell was mounted between the framerails and the filler hole in the cab was filled to smooth out that area. The side steps were coated with bedliner so they are actually functional. The color is period-correct '54 Ford Glacier Blue, sprayed in an RM two stage. The door murals hold a personal meaning for Mr. Devore: He is an avid bicycle racer and his father's name is Leroy, so the homage was created borrowing the old Von Dutch winged-eye logo replaced with a bicycle wheel. There are even two bicycle holders mounted in the bed. The wings on the logo are hand-laid silver and copper leaf by Jimmy Eckers, a longtime movie studio artist and cool character.