At the tender age of 8 Tony Bowling fell in love but not with the girl next door, rather with the '56 Ford F-100 owned by his neighbor. By the time he was 15 Tony owned his first truck, a '49 Ford F-1 and not long after dragging it home the teenager learned that building a truck on the money generated by a job at the local car wash meant that he would have to gain the skills to do most of it himself. Thanks to his patient older brother Donald, Tony learned about the mechanical aspects of building a truck while knowledgeable friends and family members coached him on bodywork and painting. Rebuilding a variety of rust buckets helped hone his skills as Tony continued to learn by doing.

After graduating from college Tony was able to buy a completely stock, and completely disassembled, '56 F-100. While he now had the truck of his dreams, financial reality dictated that the reconstruction was going to be done without the benefit of hired help. As he explains it, "I spent 3-1/2 years of nights and weekends before I finally got it all back together." With no formal training Tony did all the bodywork then shot the paint on the frame and body in what could be loosely described as a spray booth in his garage made from plastic sheets and a $10 box fan. After all the body and bed panels were coated with two-stage Ford denim blue, the painstaking job of reassembly began with wife, Stacy, lending a hand.

During construction a short list of chores were handed off to others-Larry Weimer built the 302 Ford that replaced the original Y-block, Bobby Reynolds was responsible for the overhauling the C4 automatic trans that backs it up, and Don Smith's Auto Glass and Upholstery stitched up the interior. Other than those exceptions everything on this truck is the result of one man's talents, perseverance, and dedication. This really is an F-100 that as Tony describes it, was built, not bought.