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 ...
Eye Of The Beholder
For Earl Miller, of Shelbyville, IN, one of his lifelong dreams was to own his buddy's "ugly truck." So you can bet when the time came, that ugly truck became his ugly truck.
"Recently I've finished my truck, a 1954 International R-100 pickup. This truck was born the same year I was, and I had admired it a long time. One of my oldest friends had it out in Palm Springs, CA. When the opportunity came along, I offered to buy the truck, because it was different and unusual. I do believe that 'ugly trucks' are a beautiful thing.
"Over the past three years I have gone from the bottom up and refinished and replaced everything to what you see in the pictures. I've tried to keep an old-school look with a lot of modern day upgrades underneath. Modifications include allnew wiring, and a conversion to 12-volt, with a new 100-amp chrome alternator. I also redesigned the rear suspension with traction bars, a new performance driveshaft, and a completely rebuilt Ford 9-inch rearend with 3.50 gears. The body was taken off, and a new paint job, basecoat/clearcoat Corvette red, was applied. The interior and gauges were refurbished by Williamson Instruments. All the cracked glass was replaced and all the rubber seals have been replaced. One thing I have found out is that parts are not readily available for Internationals, and at times this can cause a challenge. Since this was my first custom, I learned a lot.
"The truck is unique in that it has a one-piece tilt-up hood, which was fabricated by the original builder, made out of the original hood and front fenders. Under the hood is a '79 Corvette 350 with 4-bolt mains, which moves it along very well. From the Edelbrock valve covers to the chrome oil pan, transmission cover, water pump, and a lot of chrome under the hood-the engine is dressed up. The cooling is handled by a 16-inch electric fan/shroud combination that keeps the engine running well even in traffic situations. Topping things off are the Wheel Vintiques rims I threw on."
Editor's Note: Getting your truck into Readers' Trucks is a snap, of the camera, that is. All it takes is a stack of good-quality photos of your ride that are in focus and well lit. Due to the volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot return photographs. Send photos of your truck (no Polaroids or printouts) to: CCT, Readers' Trucks, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870. It is important that you include a detailed description of the modifications you have made to your truck, including any interesting stories behind it.