When a guy is just crazy about anything with wheels, the odds are he will want to share his joy with his family and friends. Such was the case when Jeff Schwierman of Sharpsville, Indiana, decided he would take on building a daily driver hot rod pickup for his wife, Connie.
After Jeff gave Connie the good news, step one was to locate the right truck. About five years ago while Jeff and Connie were in Knoxville, Tennessee, attending the F-100 Supernationals, the couple walked the entire grounds and picked out the series of Ford pickups they wanted to start with. Connie liked the looks of a '35 Ford pickup, and she kind of liked the F-1s, but the final decision came down to a fat-fendered F-100. Connie said it couldn't have been more than two weeks after they returned home from the Supernats that Jeff appeared in their driveway standing next to a timeworn stock '53 Ford 50th Anniversary F-100 pickup.
Excited to get the show on the road, Connie picked out a Ford Racing 351-inch engine, and Jeff got a hold of Brent at Fatman Fabrications and ordered a chassis. It wasn't much longer after ordering the frame from Fatman that it was time to drive down to Charlotte, North Carolina, to haul the bare-steel beauty home. In no time at all things were beginning to take shape, and it looked like Connie was going to have her hot rod pickup for the street.
Then, like a TV channel during a commercial, things changed. Jeff started to hang out at Gordon Riley's Rod Shop in Kokomo, Indiana, and before anyone knew it the '53 was headed straight toward a full-on street-rod-styled future. Every time Connie heard the latest news about her truck, it involved some supertrick part Gordon had just whittled out for it, or some goodie Jeff wanted next. Sensing that Connie was getting kind of bummed out about how long the '53 was taking to complete, and realizing it wasn't exactly what he had promised her, Jeff found Connie a '67 Ford Mustang fastback to hop into for her daily driving.
With the good deed done, it was time for Gordon and Jeff to really kick out the jams. First thing, the Fatman chassis got its framehorns shortened, modified motor and tranny mounts, and an air-ride setup from Air Ride Technologies. For stopping and stance, the '53 depends on Wilwood disc brakes at all four corners tucked behind a foursome of Intro Pentia 20-inch billet wheels. BFGoodrich tires handle the rubberized chores.
With the chassis well underway, the next major task was to handle the body modifications, which when it was all said and done totaled up to over 20. A number of local talents were involved in the bodywork. Starting with chopping the top and 'caking the hood, the props go to Scott Little. Another guy who had a lot to do with making the sparks fly and banging the metal into shape was Ramon Cassis, along with, but not necessarily in this order, Chris Merryman and Brian Childers.
With the basic form almost finished, but not in paint or upholstery, the '53 Effie got a flatbed ride down to Coleman, Alabama, where Gordon's friend Jesse Greening at Greening's Auto Co. final-prepped the '53 and laid on a super-slick custom mix of Burgundy and Champagne PPG paint. With the show-quality paint handled on the outside, the '53 went on a ride across town to Paul Atkins' upholstery shop in Coleman so Paul could stitch up one of his trademark super-bitchin' leather interiors. Regular Street Rodder readers are already familiar with Paul's name-he's one of the best trimmers in the business.
Twenty-inch Intro Pentias...
Twenty-inch Intro Pentias sit at all four corners wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber, which has absolutely nothing to do with B. F. Skinner, but it sounds kind of similar.
Paul Atkins of Coleman, AL,...
Paul Atkins of Coleman, AL, stitched the genuine bovine interior and covered the floor with fine sheep's wool from Yurup. Gordon Riley made the center console; he's from Kokomo, don't ya know?
Painted and upholstered, the '53 was back on the road to Kokomo and in the hands of Jeff and Gordon once again. From there their job was to hang it all back together and complete the build. Connie told us it didn't happen overnight; it was three years' worth of Jeff working almost every night over at Gordon's shop chewing on the big bite the two had taken on. When it came time to run the electrical system, Jeff turned to Frank Graves for a helping hand to string the wiring harness from American Autowire.
At the 2007 F-100 Supernationals, the '53 made its debut. To make a long story short, the pretty little truck took home top honors, garnering the highly coveted F-100 Of The Year award. Leaving the stage after accepting the trophy, Jeff turned to Connie and said, "You know, honey, I think we ought to build you a truck."
The '53's flat motor was replaced...
The '53's flat motor was replaced with a 351-inch OHV from Ford Racing. A super-slick custom-fabricated airbox hides an Edelbrock 850 carb. Hooker headers pass spent gases to the world behind.
A Billet Specialties half-wrap...
A Billet Specialties half-wrap steering wheel sits on a custom-made steering column by Gordon Riley. The gauges are from Classic Instruments of Boyne City, MI, and the air conditioning is by Vintage Air.