Billy Williams first found his F-100 out behind a local body shop, it was pretty rough but he’d been pining for an Effie and this one would fit the bill. The truck’s owner agreed to sell it to Billy only if he promised that he wouldn’t chop the top—never having any intention to chop it, Billy made the promise and climbed in for its first trip to its new home.
Billy began working on the pickup a little bit at a time, all the while driving it in between repairs. The drive-wrench-drive-wrench restoration routine went on for quite a while and the F-100 was getting nicer and nicer as time passed. Then, Hurricane Katrina hit and Billy’s pride and joy was totally destroyed by the storms floodwaters. Well, you may find Billy down, but never out. He and his family took the loss in stride and, after the clean up, decided to make use of the pile of parts and components he’d been amassing over the years to totally redo the ’54—this time as a hot rod rather than a resto.
Billy and the boys stripped the truck down to its chassis and began piecing it together again. The first thing they did was find and rebuild a small-block Ford 302 as its fresh motorvation. The fresh engine was treated to a heavy-duty bottom end and a Weiand 174-series blower topped by an Edelbrock carburetor. A fresh Lokar-shifted Ford C6 automatic was bolted to the 302 and a custom driveshaft connected the powerplant to an equally fresh Ford rear end. With the motorvation handled, Billy turned his attention to the rest of the chassis and updated it with a dropped solid-axle and a CPP Toyota power steering conversion. Out back, a fresh set of Posies leaf springs and new shocks completed the chassis rehab, and a quartet of 15-inch Cragar SS five-spokes made it a roller.
With the trucks foundation taken care of, the Williams crew then turned their attention to the pickup’s body. Billy and the boys worked on the body during their free time and after about a year-and-a-half the Effie was prepped and ready for paint. Since Billy had always planned for the truck to be a period piece, which harkened back to his younger days, he figured nothing would do the trick like a jet black finish with flames—and that combo would go perfect with the tried and true Cragar SS’s he’d chosen earlier. After the black base was sprayed and the flame licks applied, the gang began to wet sand and buff each panel as they went. Billy turned his attention to the bed and installed fresh hardwood and stainless bedstrips and, when he completed that chore, turned to installing all new glass in the cab.
The final step in the pickups rodstoration was the cockpit. Billy and the boys recovered the original bench in a combination of black and grey leather and a fresh new carpet from Mid-Fifty truck parts. The dash was treated to a custom insert filled with Ford Motorsports gauges, an ididit tilt column topped with a Lecarra ’40 Ford-style wheel, and working stock ’54 Ford AM radio.
Now that the ’54 is all finished Billy and his sons drive the ol’ gal nearly every day, and each time they do they’re all reminded of the great times the family enjoyed throughout the process. In fact, Billy says that even though he loves his pickup he loved the time spent with his boys even more. CT