Although Lonnie Craddock's '66 Ford isn't exactly CCT's bread-and-butter type of truck, his story definitely is. His story lies along the lines of guys who love trucks and, more importantly, love building them. Check it out, we think everybody can relate.
"I'm employed as a cable splicer with Embarq Telephone Co. in Williamston, NC, and have owned this truck for 16 years. It's not the first Slick I've owned. The first was a '63 unibody SWB that I never started on, and the second was a '66 SWB Styleside 4x2 that I installed a 302 with a C4 trans. When I ran across the '66 SWB Styleside, pictured here, it was in better shape than the one I was driving. I bought it the next day. It came from Ford with a 240ci 6-cylinder and three on the tree. My plans were to update it with power steering and power disc brakes, paint it, and redo the interior. Then two months later my wife found out she was two months pregnant, and seven months later we had a baby boy with no money to spend on a truck. The body of the truck went down hill over the next 10 years. But, those 10 years gave me plenty of time to plan, and to see what would, and would not, work as far as the updates for the truck go. All that time I went under a lot of different year model F150 trucks, and they all looked pretty much the same. So the disc brake and power steering looked like a 'can do' with factory parts. Somewhere along the way I thought, 'Why not make it a 4x4 while I'm at it?' So then I had to figure out about the different chassis, and found that they are almost the same as well.
"I started searching the Internet for repo parts, NOS parts, or whatever I could find. Come to find out chassis from '65 to '79 were almost the same. However, the '73 to '79 chassis rails from just behind the cab to the back bumper are a little wider apart, but that's a minor problem. The forward part of the chassis is a bolt-on, and eventually I found a '77 4x4 chassis and a 351 Windsor motor. Just by putting the '66 body on the '77 chassis I had the upgrades I wanted: disc brakes, power steering, and four-wheel drive. I did all the work with the exception of the seat and spraying the basecoat/clearcoat. The seat was covered by Steve Hoggard from Windsor, NC; and the PPG Candy Apple Red was sprayed by Larry Brickhouse from Columbia, NC. About 90 percent of the entire truck was sandblasted-the dents were repaired, the rust holes were filled, and a heck of a lot of sanding was done to get a straight body. The project took six years in my spare time, and I have a few more things to do before it's finished, if ever. As a result of building the truck, I have a sideline business in my shop; I call it Bear Grass Motor Sports."
And once again the international language of custom trucks prevails! After all, Lonnie's truck is technically custom ...