Barry Blomquist knows his metals and precious stones. The owner of a steel fabricating company for 39 years, Barry’s laid his hands upon plenty of the cold blue stuff and his latest hot rod is what connects him to those other highly sought-after ores in the ground. As a youngster, Barry’s father had a ’56 F-100 that left the easily influenced tyke with a soft spot in his heart for the voluptuous Ford brethren and for that matter, all things four-wheeled.
It was shortly after the guys at the Roadster Shop, in Mundelein, Illinois, finished Barry’s Dearborn Deuce roadster, Passion, when his interest in finding a ’56 was actually peeked. After trying unsuccessfully to buy a very nice F-100 at the Barrett-Jackson auction, Barry decided to reunite the team that he’s used on past projects with quite a track record: Eric Brockmeyer and The Roadster Shop.
Eric worked up a rendering for The Roadster Shop crew to use in building Barry’s dream truck as Barry himself began to look for just the right candidate. He managed to find a truck in Tacoma, Washington, with the help on the 20th century’s greatest invention: the Internet. With truck on hand, the team geared up to get the build started, firing off ideas back and forth until it was decided to incorporate some of the same design elements from Passion into the ’56; thus Obsession was born.
Eric designed a similar logo and nameplate for the pickup, while the build team decided what elements to carry over from the Deuce to the ’56. The paint scheme was an obvious candidate for the carryover as well as the moldings on the dash, hood sides, and running boards, taillights, square exhaust tips, and the use of mesh grille throughout. Similarly styled wheels, gauges, and upholstery would further tie the two hot rods together.
With the juices of creativity flowing freely, the team set off to work, putting their ideas into motion. The boys at The Roadster Shop started off with a pair of boxed framerails tied together with custom crossmembers before bolting on a fully independent Heidts suspension setup. RideTech air springs were also utilized at all four corners allowing Barry to adjust the truck’s suspension as needed. Wilwood brakes were also added at all four corners peeking out between the spokes of the 20- and 22-inch Billet Specialties Steletto wheels.
Necessitating those high-performance binders is a World Products Merlin 509ci engine topped with a Hilborn EFI induction setup controlled by a Big Stuff 3 engine management system. The downdraft runners capped by Hilborn air cleaners definitely give off a performance vibe and with 560 hp to boot, Barry’s truck has no problem backing the looks. But when it comes to looks, all those plated and polished components sure don’t hurt to dress up the engine compartment either! All that power is directed through a Tremec five-speed trans on out to the Heidts independent rear.
The exterior of Barry’s ’56 is where things start to really get interesting. A number of the sheetmetal components have actually been fabricated of aluminum from scratch including the running boards, the tailgate, and bedbox, which has been heightened and widened to further enhance the truck’s aesthetic. Stainless steel was also used throughout the truck on the miscellaneous custom moldings that abound. Major body mods include the pancaked and chopped top and the modified cowl top as well as the shortened doors, whose corners have been radiused, and the one-piece side glass. The front end also contains a number of mods including the pancaked hood and relocated wheelwells. When Barry was done working his magic on the body components, the truck was rolled over to The Roadster Shop where they knocked the body perfect before it was sprayed with Black and Tan PPG paint.
Moving inside the cab, Barry further worked the sheetmetal by building a completely custom dash with a trio of Classic Instruments gauges plugged right into the center and flanked by stainless trim and a pair of Vintage Air A/C vents. An ididit steering column mounts under the one-off dash topped with a Budnik steering wheel wrapped in black and tan leather matched to the rest of the cockpit. A pair of bucket seats were hand-fabricated as well as the center console that splits the cab right in half. Steve Pearson at Upholstery Unlimited gets the nod for wrapping the interior in Mercedes-Benz tan wool and black and tan leather.
Parked in Barry’s garage next to his Dearborn Deuce, it’s easy to spot the similarities between the two hot rods. What started out as a Passion, but soon turned into an Obsession, is something Barry knows all too well. But when your obsessions yield such accolades as a Goodguys Street Machine of the Year Award in 2009 for his Roadster Shopbuilt ’62 Corvette C1RS or the Goodguys Truck of the Year award for Obsession this year, it’s hard to put a negative spin on that kind of thing. CCT