When it comes to in-your-face trucks, Paul Dawkin's Kustom '54 Ford F-100 panel, with its bright red and silver metalflake paintjob would stand out at most any show here in the U.S. but imagine the heads it turns in dear old England!
This unique kustom truck has been nosed and decked, the handles and badges shaved, the heater louvers welded up, and the side light/turn signals removed and fitted into the P700 headlamps. The running boards are now cleverly formed lakes pipes' housings, welded and leaded into the front and rear fenders, which helps the truck's profile to flow like a true kustom should. The rear of the truck was a major project by itself. The ugly door hinges had to go, so Jim Turnbull of Royal Kustoms in Poole, Dorset, England, braced and welded the back doors together, shaved the handles, and the "Ford" embossed script, rounded the corners, and came up with the cunning idea of leaving a fake seam in the tailgate so the conversion from side to top hinging wasn't so obvious. The driprail on the back also had to be shaved to give hinge clearance and then a new lip was fabricated to stop water ingress which is essential with dear old Blighty's weather! To finish off, '60 Impala rear lights were frenched into the now smooth tailpanel. Just check out the rear of a standard F-100 to see how much work went into this rear end.
The truck was then silver flaked, the scallops masked out, and the rest of the body shot with House Of Kolor Kandy Apple Red. Gold flake detailing was added to the rear of the lakes pipes and taillights and a flaked V8 badge was added to tie in with the gold mesh grille and stars on the '54 New Yorker hub caps; all finished off with 25 coats of clear. The scallop's gold striping and the 'Kripple Kart' lettering was added by "Tootal" Paul Dorrington.
Why the name Kripple Kart? Well, Paul completely severed his spinal cord in an accident at work in 2003 leaving him wheelchair bound. Paul's life before had been one of rock 'n' roll, cars, bikes, and cool '50's threads and his life after the accident seemed far from that. Faced with being a passenger in a wheelchair-adapted-van, Paul felt like he'd sold out every time he ventured out to a rockin' gig or car show, worsened still by the fact it also made him travel sick. This made Paul and his family and friends realize that he needed to find the right vehicle to fit in with his old lifestyle and one that would cater to his disability.
Paul's quest had begun with many evenings spent searching eBay for a classic vehicle that was man enough for the job. Eventually a black and flamed F-100 running a 351 Windsor from a '69 Torino coupled to a C6 street /strip auto was found. After much measuring up by its American owner Robert Enyeart, the truck was shipped to the U.K. where Paul's good buddy Jeff Marshall of Marshall's Fins 'n' Chrome began the process of adapting the truck to Paul's requirements.
Firstly, the rear shocks were remounted outboard of the framerails to allow for the floor drop, the rear gravel pan was then sectioned and the center piece mounted to a 7-foot foldaway wheelchair ramp. Electric lockable wheelchair restraints were then mounted to secure the front of Paul's wheelchair and removable sliding rear restraints mounted on the ramp behind the differential. A differential access hole was also cut, and a rubber diaphragm fitted to allow movement without the truck bottoming out due to it having being lowered 3 inches all round. The entire steel tray was covered in aluminum checker plate and extra storage boxes then fitted for medical equipment.
After two years of being back on the road and feeling once again part of the '50s scene, Paul discovered kustoms and in particular Craig Hahn's Poison Dart Frog F-100 and felt the need to make more of a statement with his ride resulting in the truck that you see here.