At an early age, Jack Andersen's dream was to have a truck when he grew old enough to get a driver's license. Jack told us that during the course of his father's job as a bus driver he spotted a '57 Ford F-100 Big-Window parked next to a barn in the little farming community of Murtaugh, Idaho. For years Jack's dad drove past keeping an eye on the immobile '57 until one day in 1975 Jack turned 16 years old and his dad said it was time to go take a look at the truck. They learned that the white Custom Cab '57 Flareside had originally come from California, and that one night the truck's owner disappeared in the back seat of a police car and was never seen again. The cute little blonde that lived in the farmhouse sold Jack and his dad the '57 Ford for $100, and said if they ever spotted a 7-foot tall biker named "Animal" nosing around the truck, it would be a good idea to run.
Jack and his brother Casey worked on the '57 and got it to fire up. It was a constant process that left the truck with more horsepower every time they touched it until one day when Jack was about 25 years old he sold it. Ten years went by, and then Jack decided he wanted to get the truck back. The search ended when he tracked his '57 down to a guy in Hawaii that didn't want to sell it. Several years passed until around 2003 when Casey found the beginnings of Rapid Reptile. The '57 Ford pickup seen on these pages was bought brand new by a ditch rider, and it had only 56,000 original miles on it when he passed away. Casey and Jack paid the ditch rider's daughter $1,500 and hauled the truck home to Casey's restoration shop in Burley, Idaho. The Andersen boys blew the '57 down to the bare frame, and the build was on. Because this one was a small-window, and Jack wanted to reproduce his original '57, the first body mod was to graft a Big-Window section cut out of an F-500 Jack found next to a barn and bought for $150, and risked life and limb to haul home. To set the stance, the stock '57 F-100 frame was freed from its archaic straight-axle frontend, and a Fatman Fabrications IFS, complete with Fatman 2-inch drop spindles and polished stainless steel upper and lower control arms were welded into place. Since 1957 was the first year for Ford 9-inch rearends it wasn't necessary to pitch the stock differential only upgrade it with Moser axles, and swap in a set of 3.50:1 gears with Trac-Loc. For stopping power, the puny stock Ford drum brakes were tossed at all four corners and a quartet of 13-inch Wilwood disc brakes with aluminum hubs were put in place. To clear the monstrous Wilwood discs, 18-inch Boyd Coddington Junkyard Dogs ride in front shod with Nitto tires, and ditto for the rear.
The old saying, "it's what's up front that counts" really takes on a whole new light when the hood is popped on Jack's '57 and reveals its motor. This is thanks to a new 4.6L DOHC Ford SVT crate motor with 4-valves per cylinder intended for a 2000 Cobra backed with a Tremec five-speed tranny. The extreme width of the Cobra mill dictates utilizing block-hugging BBK ceramic-coated headers to make use of what little space is left in the engine bay. Once spent exhaust gases exit the BBK headers they flow into a custom exhaust system fabricated by Loren at Ray's Muffler in Burley, Idaho featuring MagnaFlow stainless steel mufflers.
Jack and Casey figure it took around 4 years to complete the '57, and how many miles Jack drove transporting the truck between Utah and Idaho during the course of building it they wouldn't even venture a guess. There is one thing for sure, and that's between Casey's Auto Restoration and Ferril King at Crawford's Auto Body, both in Burley, Idaho, the PPG Viper Red '57 is one bad snake. Moving inside the '57's Big-Window cab the Cobra theme continues with a custom Cobra shift lever by Glen Dilworth of Jet Dynamics attached to a Lokar shifter, accompanied with Lokar pedals, and throttle linkage. To provide all of the comforts normally found in a modern luxury vehicle, Jack installed power windows and wipers from Specialty Power Windows, along with ice-cold air conditioning from Hot Rod Air. The level of luxury didn't drop a notch when it came time to upholster the '57 and the truck was hauled to Bountiful, Utah where Mike and Jason Bessy of D&M Upholstery stitched a Spice-colored leather interior with snakeskin accents that would do a designer series Lincoln proud. The seat frame from Glide Engineering intended to fit a '56 F-100 went right in, and the Auto Meter gauges look perfect stuffed into a custom billet-aluminum cluster. Mike and Woody at Woodruff Auto Service in Ogden, Utah installed the Ron Francis wiring harness.
In closing Jack told us "my brother Casey is awesome, he's an awesome builder, and he made this truck what it is. I helped, but it was his vision, and it has brought us very close."