It doesn't seem to matter if it's a Corvette, Harley-Davidson, or an old pickup truck, there always seems to be some guy who will walk up and tell you that he used to have one just like it. The next words that usually babble out of his mouth are about how his wife made him sell it. In reality it's always a pathetic story, but for Mike Browne of Friendswood, Texas, he was lucky enough to be directly involved in a new twist to an old tale.
The saga of "Miss Daisy" began in 1966 when a farmer walked into the Ford dealership in McGregor, Texas, and bought the pretty little red-and-white '66 F-100 shortbed Styleside to be his farm truck. Stereotypically, farmers always seem to buy the cheapest truck they can get their hands on, which is a stripped base model. With the equipment "Miss Daisy" was packing, she was anything but stripped. Under the hood was the optional 352-inch big-block FE engine backed up with a standard three-speed column-shift and a standard 9-inch rearend. In '66 a padded dash became standard, but the factory AM radio in "Miss Daisy" was an option that required the factory to punch out a hole for.
In 1990 the farmer died. After 24 years of service the trusty old "slick" was pushed into the barn and only fired up when the farmer's son got a chance to visit his inheritance. As fate would have it, the farmer's son moved into Mike's neighborhood. In early October 2004, the son mentioned to Mike that he would like to keep the '66, but his wife had told him that he had to sell it. Mike expressed a definite interest, but told him didn't have the coin to buy it.
Mike went back to his house and told his wife and mother-in-law, who just happened to be visiting at the time, all about the truck. Before Mike could say "I really want to buy that old Ford" his mother-in-law shattered all notions of a stereotypical mother-in-law and offered to give Mike the $3,500 he needed to buy the '66 Ford. The rest is history.
Mike hadn't been driving the '66 for a month before he decided the old girl needed a little attention. Typical of a central Texas vehicle, there wasn't a lot of rust. However, she did have some rot around the cowl where the drain holes had plugged up. In the early stages, Mike just wanted to take care of the rust. Before he knew it the cab was off and his '66 was down to the bare frame. While the cab was at a guy's shop having the rust damage repaired, Mike tore into the chassis. He told us that it was about this time that he met "Uncle" Skip Porterfield, who, in Mike's words, got him into the Slick 60's club. For anyone interested, just log onto www.fordtruk.com and it's easy as pie to join.
"Uncle" Skip, "Bronco" Tom Henson, and Richard Winters were instrumental in tracking down a lot of choice parts for the truck-in addition to being around when the cab needed to be lifted on and off. Up front, "Uncle" Skip helped big-time with the front suspension and brake upgrades. In place of the stock '66 F-100 drum brakes and spindles, a set of '79 F-150 disc brakes and spindles were installed. Another upgrade that Skip swears by to help a "slick's" handling immensely is the addition of a front sway bar. In the near future Mike will be adding a sway bar and radius rods glommed from a '76 F-250 Camper Special. Out back, the '66 is already sporting an '80 Bronco sway bar tucked close to a pair of Monroe shocks. Art Montgomery at Art's Parts in Houston is a real good guy-and he's responsible for going through the 3.25:1 9-inch Ford rearend on Mike's truck.
Under the hood, Mike kept the original 352-but between the guys at Clearlake Speed Parts and USA Racing Engines things have heated up a bunch. Starting from the top down sits a 600-cfm Edelbrock carb mated to an Edelbrock intake manifold that is flanked by a pair of Edelbrock custom valve covers. The ignition is from MSD, while a Lunati cam, with adjustable rocker arms, handles the valvetrain. A set of Hooker headers dump into Flowmaster mufflers to handle the exhaust chores. Inside the bore of Mike's USA Racing Engines-built FE lives a set of eight 0.30-over pistons. When all of these high-performance parts are added up, "Miss Daisy" must have over 300 hp at the crank. For a transmission, "Uncle" Skip dug up a Ford four-speed Top Loader intended for a '69 Cobra Jet, complete with a Hurst Competition Plus shifter. The leather interior in the '66 was done by 5 Star Upholstery in League City, Texas. A lot of the new parts, including the beautifully chromed bumpers on "Miss Daisy," were sourced from LMC Truck of Lenexa, Kansas.
Pretty like a pack of Marlboros, Mike painted "Miss Daisy" her original Rangoon Red and Wimbledon White using DuPont Imron for paint. What's really amazing about "Miss Daisy's" story is that Mike did everything, including the paint and bodywork, in an itty-bitty single-car garage in only 18 months. He must be half crazy.