In keeping with the "old-school" theme of this month's Custom Classic Trucks, we put Jeff Costa's flamed '54 F-100 from Petaluma, California, on the cover. That said, we'd bet it wasn't two seconds before some of you jumped right out of your seats, and roared: "It's a '55, not a '54!" That was our reaction too, so we asked Jeff if he would fill us in on what he knows about his Ford F-100's history, and it went something like this:

Jeff became aware of this old Ford after a friend had spotted it sitting derelict in front of a house on the outskirts of town. Almost completely camouflaged from the street in a faded Metalflake Green, it displayed all the trappings of a '70's-style hot-rod pickup. Underneath the hood sat a crusty 460 Lincoln backed with a C6 Cruise-O-Matic and a Ford 9-inch bringing up the rear. Inside the cab, true to the era, rested a 12-inch Covico steering wheel plopped on top of a candy-green steering column that matched every interior piece that wasn't covered in black tuck 'n' roll. When Jeff knocked on the front door, the youngster who answered it confirmed the truck was $1,500. He went on to explain that the F-100 once belonged to his dad, and that his grandfather bought the truck brand new in late '54 from Sanderson Ford in downtown Petaluma. Bearing in mind that anything is possible when it comes to old trucks, Jeff believes the kid's story that his Grandpa's '54 came new with a '55 grille.

By profession Jeff works as a building contractor who specializes in constructing monumental custom homes. When Jeff brought the '54 home, he intended to use it as a shop truck for Sonoma County Street Rodz-his hobby shop that, thanks to a circle of great friends and family, is fast becoming a second business. The original plan was to get busy and knock out a flat-black beauty in record time. The Sonoma County Street Rodz crew stuck to their punctual timeline by cranking the truck out as it appears here in only five months, but everything else about the build snowballed from basic to wild. Instead of the intended flat-black finish Jeff was planning on, his friend Jimmy Warren, a gifted custom painter with a knack for turning out showstoppers, convinced Jeff to go the high-profile glossy route. The first step to ready the '54 for paint before it went to Jimmy was to strip the Metalflake Green and original white paint down to the bare metal. Once the cab, doors, front fenders, and hood were media blasted, next in line was to procure a new set of rear fenders and a custom bed from Sacramento Vintage Ford Parts. From here, Jimmy proceeded to lay down the finest paint job he could, using as many economical materials as possible. For primer, Jimmy used Evercoat Feather Fill, a sprayable polyester that isn't prone to shrinkage. After blocking the primer out, Jimmy sprayed 3 gallons of DuPont Imron Fire Protection Red sourced straight from DuPont's industrial color chart. Following Jeff's desire to create an "old-school" look, Jimmy engulfed the '54 in what he calls "Von Dutch"-style flames, using House of Kolor's Sunrise Pearl spiked with Tangelo and then masking off Process Blue pinstripes. The finishing touch was a heavy topcoat of DuPont 72500S urethane clear.