Basic black was Henry Ford's favorite color. Most hot rod haulers that are painted black are anything but basic. All body panels and fitment gaps must be exceptional to wear such a revealing hue. Uneven sheetmetal surfaces are best hidden by light or white paint. Professional fabricators coined the term "bodyman black" as a way of separating their metalworking and painting abilities from collision repair shops. In Henry's heyday, Ford Motor Company's production plants saved money by using limited paint colors on the assembly lines, spraying most vehicles basic black. Hobbyists, on the other hand, spend big bucks for the opportunity of getting a bodyman-black paint job. Few painstakingly learn the craft, collect the requisite tools, and perform the work themselves.

When we spot a custom vintage truck that's dressed in tuxedo black, we inspect the pickup for body panel waves. If the truck is extremely well-built and wave-free, we're put to the challenge. Black is the hardest color to photograph. Vickie and James Stancil of Rabun Gap, Georgia, own a Ford F-100, called '66 Lightning, that made us work harder at the 2005 F-100 SuperNationals and Ford Family Reunion. Everyone involved with the truck had to work harder, so we were only too happy to follow suit.

Two years ago, James and his son completely disassembled the truck and sandblasted every panel, before realizing the project was too overwhelming. James is a custom homebuilder by profession; he knows how to assess the complexity of a project. From being a hot rodder for 30 years, he happens to have good friends who are pro-builders, and buddy Bruce Welch, co-owner of Welch's Classic Customs (WCC) in Mountain City, Georgia, agreed to take on the F-100. Bruce and brother Steve boxed the original frame and added a Fatman Fabrications Mustang II IFS with Air Ride Technologies Shockwave airspring/ shocks. To accommodate 10-inch-wide wheels, they narrowed a '02 Ford Lightning 9-inch Posi differential 6 inches, before installing it with a four-bar suspension system and Shockwave airspring/shock combo. Plumbed with stainless steel lines, WCC installed a No Limit Engineering 18-gallon fuel tank between the rear framerails, for feeding the planned prodigious powertrain.

The reason the Stancils call the Ford a Lightning isn't because of the logo on the front fenders. It's due to the '02 supercharged Lightning engine, AOD trans, and previously mentioned narrowed rearend that encompasses the drivetain.