With a name like Norman E. Watters III, you'd think the guy's family would present him with the keys to an old Rolls-Royce with a jar of Grey Poupon inside as a high school graduation present. Thankfully for all the Slick fans in the world, this wasn't the case when Norman, of Winchester, Virginia, graduated from high school in 1981. His mom and dad handed him the keys to the longbed '66 F-100 Ford pickup gracing these pages. For Norman, it was love at first sight-the old Slick was just about perfect. Well, almost perfect, that is-it wasn't long before Norman starting swapping out standard equipment items for hot rod parts.
For 14 years after high school, Norman ran the wheels off the trusty '66, using the truck for both work and recreation. Then he decided he would reinvent the pickup's look and treat it to a complete restoration that would include lopping the tail off to turn it into a shortbed. This was in '95, when the project was a joint effort shared by Norman's friends Corey, Marshall, Tom, Iffy, Clif, Michelle, and Mark. It was Doug Butler of Clear Brook, Virginia, who spearheaded shortening the F-100's long-wheelbase frame. Norman told us Doug was fanatical to the point that he made everyone take turns with a hacksaw hand-cutting the frame into two. Norman said he had a Sawzall handy, but Doug didn't want to chance screwing up anything.
Once the frame was welded back together, it was time to hang a rearend under it. Norman used stock '66 F-100 leaf springs and stuffed a set of 3.89:1 gears into the truck's 9-inch Ford rearend. Monroe shocks were selected for damping.
With the tail-end details handled, it was time to outfit the front. Norman dug around and came up with a front disc brake upgrade simply by robbing the frontend from a '76 F-100. With his truck positioned to sit at stock height, Norman scored a set of Weld Scorpion wheels and had them mounted on Goodyear tires to lose some of the '66's stock stink. With its new shorter footprint and new tires and wheels in place, the truck was really beginning to take shape.
Next on the agenda was to get the truck ready for paint. All in all, the sheetmetal wasn't all that bad; the only serious rust repair involved replacing the cab mounts. Once the truck was prepped, Randy at United Auto Body squirted the '66 inside and out with a slick coating of Marlin Blue and Wimbledon White.
After the paintwork was completed, it was time to start reassembling the newly shortened Slick. All the original glass was in excellent shape, except for the windshield. After refitting the rear and side windows, the brand-new windshield was installed. To handle reupholstering the '66, Norman had A&S Upholstery in Clear Brook stitch up the '72 F-100 bench seat and related trim items in white and blue vinyl. For engine info, Norman relies on a full complement of Auto Meter gauges tucked into the F-100 dashpod. Steering chores are handled via a '78 Bronco steering wheel plopped onto a tilt steering column. For the sounds that don't come from under the hood and out the Hooker headers with Flowmaster mufflers, Norman listens to a Custom Auto Sound stereo plumbed into 6-inch Pioneer speakers backed by a Bose subwoofer hidden under the seat.
A quick glance at the outside of Norman's '66 and anyone can easily tell the truck is a completely cherried package from bumper to bumper, but it's what's under the hood of Norman's '66 that really makes it the ultimate street sleeper. On April 27, 2007, Norman hit the key and lit up for its first breath of life a '66 427-inch Wedge engine fresh from Hottle Engine Development of Winchester, Virginia. Once the 427 Wedge was returned from Berger's Machine Shop with eight holes punched .030-over, Mark Hottle commenced the build by laying a 428 crank into the fully prepped block. For slugs, Mark stuffed in a set of 9.5:1 JE Pistons, then installed a custom-grind solid roller cam to handle valve timing. Induction to feed the iconic FE motor is handled with an 830 Holley mounted on an Edelbrock Victor manifold flanked by a pair of fully polished Edelbrock aluminum heads. Ignition is provided by an MSD 6AL distributor. Norman reported that the 427 should be making around 550 horsepower at 7,200 rpm.
Since Norman turned his '66 into what most people would describe as a show truck, he picked up another '66 F-100 that he uses as a daily driver, but when the sun is shining and he gets the urge, Norman likes to fire up his original '66 and blast down the dirt road he lives on to have some good old-fashioned 427-inch Ford-powered fun.
The carb is an 830 Holley sitting on an Edelbrock intake flanked by fully polished Edelbro
A custom-upholstered '72 F-100 bench seat and interior were stitched by A&S Upholstery of
The steering wheel is just like the one in O. J. Simpson's good friend Al Cowlings' Bronco