It's good to know that in this day and age something as basic as the good ol' newspaper still works. De Wayne Pierce of Cleveland, Tennessee, had the itch for another truck after selling his all original '50 Ford, so he put an ad in the local paper announcing that he was looking for a '56 Ford truck. Not too long after the ad hit the newsprint an older gentleman from another county called De Wayne and said he had one. They talked and arranged for De Wayne and his wife, Gayle, to come over and see the old Ford. To their surprise they found a truck pretty much all torn apart, but were amazed to see how clean the '56 was. The Big Window cab was hanging from the rafters in the man's barn, which made it easy for De Wayne to walk underneath it to verify its rust-free condition. The original engine and trans were sitting in a horse stall nearby, while the rest of the sheetmetal was hibernating elsewhere in the safety of the barn.
A deal was made at the beginning of 2006, and De Wayne took everything home in three truck and two trailer loads containing boxes and 5-gallon buckets full of this and that for the Ford. From there, De Wayne began a long and eventually close relationship with David Rongey and his father, Bob, as well as Joey Angelone at Rongey's Restorations in Ocoee, Tennessee. Everyone decided that starting fresh with a rolling chassis from Fatman Fabrications would be a wise move in the right direction. The chassis was ordered with a Mustang II frontend complete with polished A-arms, power discs, and of course rack-and-pinion steering. The rear was setup with a polished stainless four-link that holds a venerable Ford 9-inch rearend with 3.70:1 gears. Each corner rests on 17-inch Billet Specialties Qualifier wheels and Nitto rubber that transfer the road to Carrera coilovers that soak it all up.
The exterior of the truck was in very nice shape when De Wayne pulled it down from the rafters, but after 50-plus years on this earth, it too needed some help. Before David could seal the shop's deft metal and bodywork in a custom sliver mix of DuPont paint, many corners were rounded, things shaved and reengineered, and a custom bed box was crafted to mount the stock fenders.
Once the paint was cut and buffed to a high luster, the truck was taken to Steve Holcomb at Pro Auto Custom Interior in Knoxville, so he could work his stitching magic. Steve crafted a classy landscape of mostly red leather with silver accents that tie into the painted surfaces inside the cab so the Big Window truck flows from the outside in and vice versa. The Dodge Intrepid bucket seats are full power and place De Wayne directly behind a polished stainless steel tilt Flaming River column and Billet Specialties steering wheel. Of course, there are a few vents below the smoothed dash for the Vintage Air so sweating is kept to a minimum in the sultry South.
Just like the surprises De Wayne found when he went to look at the truck, he was astounded at the end of the two year build with the lifelong friendships he found at Rongey's Restorations and only wishes David's dad, Bob, hadn't died before the truck was completed. Since then, the truck has won awards in Chattanooga World of Wheels show in the ISCA class as well as the F-100 Supernationals, but more than anything De Wayne and Gayle hope they can have fun and be safe traveling in the "new" truck.