When you get at the root of most folks, you'll find the majority of us are, to put it nicely, creatures of habit. I mean, look at what you do first thing in the morning. After dragging your sorry tail out of bed, you pour yourself a hot cup of mud you'll use to wash down a bowl of Crunchy Flakes or that half-dozen eggs and a rasher of bacon the doctor told you was sending your cholesterol and tri-something or other to the moon. You run some water over your head to help shake out the cobwebs and hose off the day before, stopping briefly to ponder the callouses and scars on your hand, then you start your day. You did it yesterday, and you'll probably do it the same way again tomorrow, no matter what the doc or the little woman says-that's the point I'm making here.
John Maffucci of Dawsonville, Georgia, is one such character who you could say falls into this category. But he's taken this creature-of-habit thing just a little bit further to include more than what he shovels down his gullet at the breakfast table each morning. From an early age John took a strong liking to a certain Detroit family of automobiles, and he has stuck with them as the basis for many of the customs he's put together. He's used 351 Ford Windsor small-blocks (yes, Virginia, they do make Fords in Ontario) to power everything from his '34 Cabriolet to his '65 Cobra replica.
Retired from the "professional" world at last, John now devotes his time to his passion-building street rods. But that idyllic, lazy life of a content retiree suddenly changed for John. Now, a custom '55 F-100 isn't exactly something you just wake up one day and decide to hurry up and build. In John's case, the '55 first had to be retrieved from its hiding spot in a chicken coop in Clemont, Georgia, where it had rusted, er, rested for longer than the owner could remember. The plan was to use this tired old truck as your basic rat rod parts hauler for John's unofficial job as a custom builder-he is retired, after all.
As the years of chicken guano were scraped from the truck, John began to take a liking to it-and so did Ford. As it turned out, FoMoCo was looking for a primo F-100 for the upcoming SEMA show, so with a twist of the arm and fate, the rat rod to be suddenly veered off course and into the realm of custom classics.
To make a long story short, John had a bigger project on his hands than he had bargained for. Luckily, there happened to be a healthy amount of spares left from John's 2003 Mustang Bonneville project car, so he wasn't starting from scratch when it came to upgrades for the F-series-in fact, cannibalism would be closer to the truth when it came to the Mustang. The 'Stang had run and won and was now ready for a new lease on life. Once the truck was stripped, John decided to have his buddy Graeme Bartils from North Georgia Fabrications lend him a hand. The pair decided that in order to make the project SEMA-worthy, they should use as much of the Mustang as possible, thereby creating a truly one-of-a-kind truck.
To start with, Bartils boxed the F-100's original frame for strength, then modified the assembly further in order to fit the Cobra independent rear suspension they pirated from the record-setting Mustang. Both the 13-inch and 11.5-inch brakes, front and rear, respectively, are genuine Mustang Cobra Power units made to fit with the aid of Mr. Bartils' torch. Of course, the pair couldn't very well leave a barely used six-speed transmission behind, so it, too, found a new home in the old F-100.
John took another look at the Bonnie car and figured, "We might as well use its Cammer motor to power the truck." Out it came to be reconfigured to 306 cubic inches by Tim Metherly at MV Performance in Statham, Georgia. This little beauty of a mill is fed by a ported and polished Eaton blower with Bosch fuel injection and pumps around 13 pounds of boost. The motor pushed the Mustang to 173 mph at Bonneville, so it ought to make fetchin' parts in the truck a snap.
The body itself was in good enough shape to use, but the truck's bed needed repair, and the fenders needed to be replaced. The chickens had taken their toll, so a set of fenders from Dennis Carpenter replaced the badly dinged and rotted original pieces, and the bed floor was cut out and replaced with a sheet of Lexan so admirers can peer at John's handiwork in the independent rear suspension and gaze at the stainless steel hydraulic lines.
With all the mechanicals sorted out and the body repairs finished, it was time to choose a color scheme and an interior. Randy Powell, the man behind Powell's Auto Body in Dahlonega, Georgia, artfully sprayed the Fort GT Tungsten grey finish to the nearly complete truck. The final touch was luscious Porsche Lipstick Red leather that just plain caresses you as you slide behind the wheel. The truck's electronics are stashed in the glovebox, and John even tucked a Valentine radar detector into the overhead console. Not that this retired, proper Southern gentleman would ever think of exceeding the posted limit... Or, at least, so we're guessing. CCT
The DOHC Cobra motor with...
The DOHC Cobra motor with its polished Eaton blower looks right at home.
The one-piece BBS RGR wheels...
The one-piece BBS RGR wheels received a diamond graphite finish to complement the paint.
John's Cobra dash cluster...
John's Cobra dash cluster was fitted with Auto Meter gauges. Note that the tilt steering column provides plenty of head and leg room.
Award-winning luscious lipstick...
Award-winning luscious lipstick red leather-need we say more?
John couldn't resist adding...
John couldn't resist adding a final Cobra touch. (For a view of the build, visit www.fordracingparts.com/builds/ racingbuilds.asp and click on "builds.")