After the stripping was complete, Rusty started with the frame and worked his way out from there. He cut down the bumper-mounting horns by five inches and powdercoated the frame. When all was said and done he had a 110-inch wheelbase. He added a Mustang master cylinder and brake booster to bring the stoppers up to date, hiding the booster under the floorboard to keep the engine bay clean. He added a steering box from a Toyota 4x4 and utilized stock Ford spindles to mount a set of American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs shod with Falken tires.
His next project entailed deciding on the body modifications, including a chassis buildup to get the body exactly the way he'd been dreaming of. That was followed by some serious bodywork that included filling all the seams, a smoothed firewall, a filled ashtray, and an owner-fabricated flip-open gas access door. Inside, the cargo area was trimmed out with birch slats finished in a rich mahogany stain. The interior was finished in fine leather, and after that it was on to final bodywork and paint. Of course, modern amenities abound inside, including a DVD for the kids, with Old Air air conditioning so they can truly chill out while cruisin'
While the paint was drying Rusty focused on the engine. A '76 Ford 460 Rusty and his dad cleaned up with a .020-inch overbore and Keith Black pistons turned out to be the powerplant of choice. A pair of rare '68 Cobra Jet heads found their way atop the block and were fitted with hardened seats and stainless valves to assist the breathing dynamics. We'd love to tell what Comp Cam grind Rusty chose, but it's top secret. Well, actually, he forgot... But he did tell us he's got a Holman Moody dual-quad intake topped with twin 650 Holleys that sport a double-barrel shotgun aircleaner with a pair of K&Ns mounted on top. Capping off this setup is a pair of eyes starin' back at you like a silent graphic tribute to the hot rodders of the past.
Last but not least, Rusty installed a '76 Ford C-6 trans with a Lokar 18-inch billet shifter. There's also a B&M torque con-verter, plus a high-capacity cooler built into the radiator. Mike Christian in Jefferson City, Missouri, gets the nod for that little piece of artistry. But other than that, this panel was a family affair, with Rusty's oldest son, Andy, helping out by keeping cold drinks handy at all times and soaking in the hypnotic effect his dad and grandpa had on him. It's just this kind of thing that can have a positive, lasting effect on a youngster's mind. And that's how the Baldwins keep it a family affair.
One of the few areas Rusty...
One of the few areas Rusty didn't do himself was the panel's interior. Jim Nichols at Nick's Upholstery in Jefferson City stitched Ultra Leather with crushed velour in cream and teal to finish the panel's internal appearance. Note the bucket seats are a rare pair of '56 originals.
Thanks to a Pioneer head unit...
Thanks to a Pioneer head unit with two Pioneer 6-inch two-way speakers, two Pioneer 6x9 three-way speakers, and a Sony DVD setup, the cargo area has been transformed into an audio-visual area of mobile bliss.