PPG Citrus Yellow is a wee bit closer to a light shade of Kelly Green than we first thought. We'd be surprised if the winner of the 2004 Syracuse Nationals giveway vehicle didn't think so either.
Mike O'Brien, one of 6,500 entrants, won the Wild Rod Factory Ford giveaway truck. That's like finding the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow! Such luck might make other truck lovers look for lucky shamrocks, or at least wear green to every vintage truck show.
Building Mike's prize pickup took much more than luck. Many talented craftsmen and numerous premier parts manufacturers were involved in the project. From the Wild Rod Factory home in Quebec, Canada, the fiberglass body and fenders were shipped to the initial builder for the project. Work began at California Dreaming Hot Rods in Tonawanda, New York, where Paul Forbes fabricated the chassis. He utilized a Scott's Hot Rods & Customs IFS. Air Ride Technologies supplied a complete ShockWave airbag system for all four wheels. Horton Inc of Breslau Ontario, Canada, provided the four-link setup and Panhard bar, which located a 4.30:1-geared Ford 9-inch from Rolling Chassis of Bernard's Bay, New York. After Paul constructed the chassis, he deconstructed it and had the chassis powdercoated silver at nearby Powder Tech in Schenectady, New York. To hastily halt the state-of-the-art rolling chassis, Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation contributed its new Elite four-wheel disc brake system.
Construction did not stop there, though. Steve Nolan of Riverside Performance in Marcy, New York, built the 347ci Ford stroker engine from a '04 Ford Racing 302ci small-block. The rotating assembly was fully balanced before assembly into the blueprinted block. A Crane camshaft, Edelbrock induction, Ford Racing aluminum heads, and Mallory ignition were some of the speed shop components employed to produce an impressive 375 horsepower on the engine dyno. Before fitment of the new engine into the chassis, TPI contributed a 2,800-stall converter and finned aluminum trans-cooler-enhanced Ford AOD transmission to the cause. By installing the drivetrain between the 'rails, Tucci Engineering in Marcy, New York, took over completion of the project.
Next, the crew at Tucci's performed all the paint prep work on the Gel Coat body and fenders. They sanded and primered all of the body panels to achieve topcoat perfection. Before that could occur, East Coast Truck Accessories of Whitesboro, New York, color-matched the exterior paint and sprayed on a bedliner on the underside of the body, fenders, and running boards. Laying down the topcoats of PPG Citrus Yellow was none other than the owner and namesake of Mike Blair's Paint Shop, also in Marcy. First, allowing the vitamin C-rich paint to cure, Dave Tucci and crew put the truck panels together and began the wiring chores.
An American Autowire harness was used to wire the Haneline instruments before final fitment within the Viper-style fiberglass dash. All from Flaming River, a tilt polished billet steering column, U-joints, and shafts found a home within the cab, before mounting the Colorado Customs tan, leather-wrapped polished billet steering wheel. Once Tucci's crew installed the Lokar Performance Products auto shifter and pedals, the lucky truck was transported to Auto FX in Tonawanda, New York, for some custom stitchwork. Proprietor Dan Fink tastefully trimmed the Glide Engineering bucket seats in tan vinyl. For the finale, Dan covered the pickup bed floor and cab floor with light-brown wool carpet. The giveaway vehicle was ready for the upcoming Syracuse Nationals 2004.
Since you've read this certified true tale about an Irishman's considerably good fortune in the March issue of CCT (say on St. Paddy's Day?), perhaps the luck o' the Irish will shine upon you. If we see you at the next show 'n' shine dressed all in green, we'll know you're trying your luck. If you get to the end of the rainbow before us, will you let us photograph the next pot o' gold pickup for the pages of CCT?