Dan O'Shea remembers it well; it was red and had Wesley's Auto Repair & Trim lettered across the door. Yep, his uncle Bob's old Unibody sure did make an impression...
Fast forwarding 10 or so years down the road found Dan taking the scenic route from Cinci to his in-laws' house over in Harrison, Ohio. As he drove along he just happened to catch a glimpse of an old Ford pickup just outside the door of a ramshackle barn. As he slowed he noticed the pickup looked as though it'd seen better days, but as he got closer he realized it was a Unibody, just like the one his uncle Bob had back in the day.
Dan pulled into the farmyard and took a look at the truck. It was pretty rough, but when he realized it was a shorbed Unibody he had to have it nonetheless. After a conversation with the woman who owned it, Dan became the pickup's new owner for a paltry $400. Once Dan got it home, reality set in. The truck really was in poor shape, heck even the rust had rust – what a mess. What in the world had he been thinking?
Needless to say, the truck ended up sitting for nearly 10 years before Dan's pal and coworker, Ray Worley, offered to help get things rolling. The pair hauled it to the body shop they both worked at (Carstar Madeira) and soon got to it. After the initial teardown, Ray started in the truck's engine compartment, while Dan and another pal, Erich, began the seemingly endless rust repair work, including the cab floor, door steps, and numerous patch panels.
While they were at it they performed the metalwork that allowed them to channel the body down over the frame, as well. While the body had been massaged back into shape and readied for paint, Dan had also been scouting for a fresh driveline for the pickup too. He found that by way of a low-mileage Thunderbird donor car that gave up its 302-cube HO engine, AOD overdrive trans, and 8.8 rearend.
With the driveline decided on and acquired, the guys started work on the chassis. The front suspension and steering was stripped from the frame and replaced with a complete Speedway Engineering Mustang II-based rack-and-pinion IFS setup. Out back they swapped the stock leaf springs with slimmed down leaf springs pirated from the Lincoln, a pair of airbags, and a quartet of five-spoke Coys wheels in 18- and 20-inch diameters.
Finishing touches on the Unibody included the eye-catching coating of BASF Porsche Java Green, fresh white upholstery, air conditioning, and a new ididit steering column topped by a Billet Specialties wheel.
As you might imagine, Dan's pretty pleased with the way the Unibody came out and he's thankful for all the help of his pals, his three children (they were out in the shop supplying helping hands and moral support during much of the build), and his bride as well. Without all that help and support he'd still be out in the shop instead of cruising with the family any chance he gets.
1963 Ford Unibody
Frame: modified stock, notched, boxed, custom crossmembers
Rearend / Ratio: Lincoln / 3.50:1
Rear suspension: (7-inch drop) Lincoln leaves, airbags, Monroe shocks
Rear brakes: 11-inch drum
Front suspension: (11-inch drop) Speedway Motors IFS, tubular control arms, drop spindles, tube shocks
Front brakes: 11-inch GM disc
Steering box: M-II rack-and-pinion
Front wheels: 18-inch Coys
Rear wheels: 20-inch Coys
Front tires: Toyo 235/40ZR18
Rear tires: Toyo 255/40ZR20
Gas tank: 16-gallon cell, Mustang GT pump
Engine: 1993 Thunderbird 302ci, 5.0 HO
Valve covers: stock steel
Manifold / Induction: HO Ford / injection
Headers: stock tubular
Exhaust / Mufflers: 2.5-inch custom / Flowmaster
Transmission: 1993 Lincoln AOD
Style: Unibody pickup
Modifications: channeled, shaved, filled
Fenders front / rear: stock
Bodywork and paint by: Dan O'Shea (paint), Erich Leonardi, Ray Worley, Dan O'Shea (bodywork)
Paint type / Color: BASF Onyx water-base / Porsche Java Green
Headlights / Taillights: stock
Outside mirrors: stock
Bumpers: recessed stock front, rear rolled pan
Gauges: Auto Meter
Stereo: Alpine, Kenwood
Steering wheel: Billet Specialties
Steering column: ididit
Seats: 1971 Ford truck
Upholstery by: Wanda's Trim Shop, Cincinnati, OH
Material / Color: Vinyl / white
Carpet: Miami Rubber mat