Lots of things can trigger the urge to build a custom classic truck, but hanging out with friends already in the hobby tends to speed things up. Mike Snider from Honea Path, South Carolina, is a restaurant owner who has always enjoyed classic trucks. The dream gathered momentum thanks to several of his friends who owned classic rides and before long, Mike decided it was time to build one of his own.
As it turned out, a popular local car show changed everything. While attending Shades of the Past in Tennessee, Mike was looking for a suitable project vehicle from the ’50s; that choice was quickly forgotten, however, when he spotted this ’66 Ford on the very last day. For some reason, it was love at first sight, even though the teal green paint was flaking off and the sheetmetal needed work. On the plus side, the truck already had a 427 V-8 installed, but it needed an overhaul. The sad green steering wheel, bench seat, and paper headliner definitely had to go, but Mike could see the potential and brought the truck home.
Several changes were accomplished quickly to make the truck more drivable, the first of which was eliminating the original twin I-beam front suspension in favor of a late-model Mustang frontend with 2-inch drop spindles, Eibach springs, and Carrera shocks. In the rear, the Ford 9-inch was fitted with 3.53 gears and updated for modern use with 11-inch disc brakes to complement the 11.75 inch versions up front. Gabriel air shocks provided some ride-height adjustment to the rear.
Mike drove the truck for about a year and enjoyed it, but he had a consistent problem with the three-on-the-tree shift linkage hanging up. The solution was to drop the truck off to the experts at Fastech, a full-service shop in Anderson, South Carolina. Besides fixing the shifter, Mike added a few things to the list like repairing the leaky master cylinder, installing a new thermostat, and adding a new steering box. As you may have already guessed, however, several more changes found their way into the truck!
Fastech owner, Troy Carnes, is a man of many talents and suggested a few safety and handling upgrades. Each one sounded good and before long, Mike began considering some new options. Instead of just fixing up the truck and making it a nice driver, it became apparent that this vintage Ford could become his ultimate dream ride. Mike began to visit the shop every week, admiring the progress and discussing even more improvements. Once the dents and dings were removed from the half-century-old sheetmetal, emblems and markers were eliminated to allow the original lines to show through.
Unique touches include single-pane, tinted side glass, an addition that required considerable modification to the Ford’s upper door hinge. The gas filler cap was located behind the license plate, subtle Speedway sideview mirrors were added, and custom latches replaced the chains on the tailgate. Bigger wheels were necessary to fill the wheelwells and Mike chose Foose rims, 18x8 up front and 20x10 in the rear, wrapped in Cooper rubber.
Because so many elements of the truck were coming together so nicely, the 427 V-8 was sent out for rebuild by Danny Powell of Powell Machine in Anderson, South Carolina. The precisely overhauled mill now sports a balanced Ford rotating assembly, connected to Speed-Pro pistons with a Comp cam activating the valves in the ported and polished Ford Motorsports heads.
To ensure an adequate fuel/air mix, the truck runs a Holley 750 carb on an Edelbrock manifold. Mallory HEI ignition explodes the fuel/air mix and Hedman headers dispense spent gases through an aluminized 2½-inch exhaust system that’s quieted by a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. The package creates an estimated 430 hp, managed by a Ford C6 transmission that’s been upgraded with a B&M converter and shift kit by Pruitt Transmission in Anderson. The new automatic had the additional advantage of solving that balky old shifting problem! Cosmetic details on the new V-8 included distinctive ribbed valve covers and air cleaner. An aluminum radiator and electric fan from Kar House ensure the strong V-8 stays in the green.
Every hot truck has to have a cool interior and Dennis Glenn from Anderson Auto Glass was called in to do the upholstery using the middle row seat from a Dodge Caravan. The original headrests were eliminated to keep the seat tops below the window line and the split bench seat, with its fold-down armrest, was upholstered in gray leather. A matching leather headliner was added along with black wool carpeting.
Aligning with the center armrest is the new sheetmetal center console, fabricated to hold the Kenwood stereo head unit, speakers, controls for the power windows, and a pair of cup holders. A separate lower panel was added to the dash for the Vintage Air vents, then a new carbon fiber panel was fabricated for the new Triple Round VHX analog/digital gauge package from Dakota Digital. The large center dial combines speedometer and tach along with fuel and voltage. The smaller circular blanks on either side of the main cluster are now filled with analog oil pressure and water temperature gauges, completing the look. The Billet Specialties wheel feels as good as it looks.
The final exterior upgrade was paint and Mike has always loved two-tone paintjobs. “Choosing the shades was one of the most difficult decisions of the build,” he told us. He finally settled on a PPG Cardinal Red and Vanilla Cream combination, spraying the interior, bed, and engine bay to match. The Ford logo was added to the front fenders and outlined in red on the vanilla tailgate.
Jeff Richardson and William Mosley teamed up on the bodywork and paint with pinstriper Charlie Tyre separating the two colors with a fine orange line. The build took a year and a half, but now that it’s complete, Mike, his wife Kelly, and their sons Keith and Cody enjoy the truck at every opportunity. The old daily driver may have transitioned into a show truck, but Mike still drives it often. Special thanks to Troy Carnes, Jeff Richardson, William Mosley, Danny Powell, Charlie Tyre, and Dennis Glenn—the talented craftsmen responsible for making Mike’s dream truck a reality. CCT