A lifelong automotive enthusiast, Jerry Boles from Port St. John, Florida, was looking for a new project. Retired from the Kennedy Space Center where he worked as a technician on the Apollo program and the Space Shuttle, Jerry somehow found time during his aerospace career to restore more than 10 vehicles. Many of them were concours restorations but that level of precision became nerve-wracking and he switched to restomods. Vintage looks coupled with modern reliability and handling made them a joy to own and drive.
His last truck was a '56 F-100 and he especially liked the distinctive wraparound windshield. The special edition was a one-year-only model and when he sold it, he began the search for another Ford pickup, this time looking for a different set of special features. Typically, every vehicle has one or two unique design elements that catch your eye and the ones Jerry was looking for were a Unibody cab and a big back window. Amazingly, he found a truck with those exact elements at a show in Knoxville, Tennessee. Unfortunately, someone else bought the 1963 F-100 just about the time that Jerry was reaching for his wallet. Disappointed, his search continued with little success, but luck was with him when he returned the show the following year. The same '63 was there and the owner was willing to part with it. The Unibody truck had been fitted with a Chevrolet engine and since Jerry had some "special edition" ideas for his new project, the owner delivered the truck to Florida minus the Bow Tie V-8.
To be kind, the truck needed lots of work. "At about 100 yards, it looked pretty good," Jerry told us with a wink. A tree had fallen on the bed, ruining one side. A previous owner had added custom touches where the fenders had been welded to the front bumper. Inside, the ragged plywood center console was covered with worn tweed fabric and the bench seat needed to be replaced. Jerry began the repair process, determined to bring the original sheetmetal back to like-new condition. The door handles were shaved and a cowl-induction hoodscoop and Escort side mirrors were added. A rechromed '65 Ford grille was chosen in order to eliminate the '63 Ford parking lights, now replaced with subtle Harley units. The damaged side of the shortbed was repaired and the bed personalized with a smooth tailgate and custom rear pan. Inside the bed, custom 10-inch-wide wheeltubs were added along with polished pecan planks and stainless steel strips. A flush-fitting Check Mate tonneau cover protects the contents. Under the hood, the engine room was detailed, holes filled, and a set of custom motor and transmission mounts fabricated. Once the sheetmetal work was complete, Jerry did his own paintjob in his well-equipped shop, spraying the truck a bright Rio Red.