Now that the backbone for this Effie was stronger than when it rolled off the assembly line, a much stouter powerplant could be dropped within the front framerails without fear of twisting the chassis. Dickie decided to go with a 454ci Chevy big-block, which he sent to Steve Lowder (no relation) to beef up a little. Utilizing Keith Black pistons, roller rockers, and Crane cams, Steve buttoned up the renewed mill with a set of 502 heads and dual four-barrel Demon carbs. David Thomas rebuilt and improved a TH350 trans to handle the big-block's torque and horsepower.

With the engine and chassis set to rights, it was time to get started on the cab and body panels. The owner called upon friend Everett Little, also from Albemarle, to get things on the all-steel body smooth and ready to spray Cosmo Red paint. One of the many unique items to this Effie is the custom Dan Carpenter bed, wider and longer by 2 inches. As of the writing of this article, only one other bed has been built like this-with the custom dimensions and metal floor. Everett had to raise the running boards 2 inches, narrow them 2 inches, and lengthen them 2 inches to get all the body panels aligned and flowing together. He also added custom tailgate latches and smoothed the gate. Harley-Davidson taillights and a stainless rear bumper finish up the mods to the bed. Everett moved to the cab next. He filled and smoothed the cowl and shaved the door handles. For that extra-subtle, smooth touch, Everett rounded the doors' corners. To continue the custom theme, a set of polished stainless steel hood latches were added to either side of the hood, and louvers were molded into both of the front inner fenders.

Much work needed to be done to get the inside as custom as the exterior, since the interior was in its original condition. Everett performed metal surgery on the dash hump. An ididit polished steering column topped with a Carriage Works half-wrapped steering wheel replaced the larger-than-modern-life Ford factory items. Dickie had Phil Clayton build a one- of-a-kind column drop out of an aluminum connecting rod from a pro mod dragster. Bobby McCarter from Harrisburg, North Carolina, trimmed the Chevy Silverado bench seat in light tan Ultraleather.

If you add the five years of construction time to the year it took Dickie and his craftsmen cronies to complete the F-100, that's six years too long for this Ford to be off the road. We're ecstatic to hear it was built to show and to drive. Dickie would like to thank all the people who helped him: David Smith, David Thomas, Steve Lowder, Dan Carpenter, Everett Little, Phil Clayton, and of course his wife Gayle Lowder, who understood him spending late nights in the shop with the guys. He also told us his dream came true at its first show, when the pickup was photographed for CUSTOM CLASSIC TRUCKS magazine.