Opening the tilt- forward hood reveals the 402 Rat and a slew of billet dress-up parts: a
The Camaro shifter, Vette column, and Banjo steering wheel pay tribute to clean, flowing l
In 1953 the Ford Motor Company needed something to sweep the automotive world off its feet. As the company celebrated its 50th anniversary, rumors were flying that Chevrolet had a new line of trucks drawn up that were certain to take off. Ford went with a radical new designa progressive light truck focused on the driver. Considerations like comfort, driving appeal, and ergonomics played an important role in its design. Those considerations also paid offthe truck barely rolled off the assembly line before it became an instant favorite. A classic was born, and history was made. The Ford
F-100 has changed the way we think about light trucks. Some have argued that the F-100with its slanted windshield, classic curves, and short roof (along with numerous other details)owns the gold for most attractive pickup ever, and a good look at Jimmy Williams methodically modified 53 supports their argument.
Probably the most noticeable feature that sets Jimmys custom classic apart from the slew of other stock or modified pickups is its removable canvas top, also referred to as a Carson Top. The Carson Top made its debut sometime in the 30s and lives on in the custom car circuit as a period feature thats unique and stylish. Although trucks with removable roofs were unusual (and still are), its safe to say that many street rod pickups caught onto the trend as quickly as the cars did.
Since Jimmys goal was to create a visually unique F-100, the Hendersonville, Tennessee, resident concentrated his efforts on body stylein particular, the fully removable Carson Top. The body alterations he made are smooth, clean, and functional and serve to complement the vehicle as a whole. The chopped roof, for example, enhances the body and doesnt distract from its form. Applying this strategy throughout, Jimmys truck took on a distinctive appearance without sacrificing the classic look it was born with.
Jimmy started by removing 3 ½ inches from the top, an adjustment that, due to the Effies tall roof, appears proportionately ideal in respect to the rest of the body. Although its barely noticeable, a quick glance at the shortened rear window is evidence of the alteration. Once the steel was cut down to size, the roof skin was reworked and extended to meet the windshield for good flow. Jimmy took his time, making sure no miscalculations were made while fitting the roof back onto the cab. The old garden hose trick proved the door areas were properly sealed and, after all was straight, it was time to complement the roof with Jimmys idea from the start: a rich burgundy German canvas top. He had the experts at his local upholstery shop stitch it with a classic French seam detail.
Working his way down the truck, Jimmy continued his plan of good flow by smoothing the cowl and shaving the door handles. An outstanding job was done on the one-piece door glass, and, again, the absence of the wing is stylish, but not distracting. The gas tank was relocated to underneath the bed. This freed up more room in the cab for his speaker cabinet that accommodates a pair of subwoofers. The stock filler neck was also shaved, and by removing the rearview mirrors, emblems, and side moldings, the truck was beginning to take on the smooth styling Jimmy was after.
Jimmy couldnt live with the way the stock hood opened, so he designed it to open in the flip forward position. Although the feature is a fairly common one among custom trucks, doing it right isnt as common. Jimmys flawless design and execution make one think it rolled off the Ford factory line that way. To ensure that the rear of the truck would carry itself as well as the front, the tailgate was smoothed, its hinges were hidden, and louvers were punched. Keeping with the Ford Blue Oval theme, Jimmy knocked out four oval holes behind the fenders for the taillights to lay on.
With the custom bodywork finished, Jimmy realized he was molding a very unique and exceptional Effie. His truck already showed so many changes, yet it still retained a classic appearancean indication that a lot of planning and craftsmanship went into the process. He consulted local auto painter, Paul Herman, on the color, who agreed to lay down a 3-stage coat of Lazer Red over the body, grille, and headlight trim rings (which were originally chrome) for a smooth-as-glass finish.
Jimmy wanted the truck to handle as well as it looked, so he swapped out the straight axle rear end for a Corvette independent rearend setup. He also swapped out the front clip for an early 70s Camaro clip, which supplies him with quick-ratio steering and the proper motor mounts for easy installation of his powerplant. By dropping in a Chevy 402ci big-block, Jimmy got the low-end torque and pull he craved with the confidence that his hauler would never be found panting on the open highway. To transfer all that power to the ground, Jimmy opted to use an overdrive 700-R4, a transmission thatll keep his tach from dancing at 6,500 rpm. All this extra work on the suspension led to four-wheel disc brakes that put a stop to the truck when it really needs it. The package rolls on 15x8 ½-inch five-spoke Elites wrapped in BFGoodrich Radial T/As.
The comfort zone was the last area to receive Jimmys custom touch. Keeping with the clean style, Jimmy smoothed out the dash and added an oval-theme cluster of Autometer white-face gauges. Once the door panels and center console were reworked to blend into the dash, Jimmy covered everything in gray tweed. Finishing touches include Ford power seats, Lokar pedals, a Corvette tilt-telescopic steering column, a banjo steering wheel, and a Sony sound system.
Jimmy Williams has succeeded in building an exceptional haulera feat not easily achieved with the truck he chose. He took his creation to the limits of style by enhancing, not distracting, his classic with modifications that are flowing, functional, and far-out. Now he enjoys cruising his days awayespecially on those warm Tennessee nights that make for great topless truckin.