As usual, we had a grand time at the Grand National Roadster Show a few months back. One of the most exciting moments was meeting Anh and Kevin Francis of Huntington Beach, California. They own an up-and-coming fabrication shop called KA Custom in the town also known as Surf City USA. As often happens in the gearhead community, we met Kevin via a car he was displaying at the event-a clean, custom 1941 Plymouth coupe. We were so impressed with his readily apparent fabrication and customization skills that we asked if he'd be interested in having us stop by and watch him work on a vintage pickup or two. Kevin graciously said yes, which brings us to this first KA Custom tech article.
One of the shop's customers is another nice guy named Sean Lotts. As luck would have it, Sean is the current caretaker for a sweet satin black-hued '58 Chevy pickup. Sean's Chevy had a pretty road-weary chassis, with a Volare front clip the former owner installed. Compared with a tubular control-armed and airbag-equipped custom IFS, the Volare frontend is a bulky boat anchor. If a vintage truck owner wants to go low with airbags and improve the ride quality with less unsprung weight and a fresh appearance, a custom IFS is a vast improvement over a grafted-in front clip from another vehicle. KA Custom specializes in welding and fabricating, engine swaps, wiring, brakes, air/suspension, front clips, and two- and four-link rearend setups. The shop performs many IFS transformations on all sorts of vehicles. The day we arrived at KA Custom, they had a '68 Dodge D100 pickup getting power steering, a '41 Ford truck receiving a new fuel delivery system for the dual Stromberg-topped flattie, a fat-fendered Ford woodie long-term street rod project, and Sean's '58 Chevy Apache, among a few other vehicles.
We wish we could follow and write about all these exciting projects. But we were here to see the Apache get a new custom IFS. With front framerails fabricated by KA Custom, a Total Cost Involved IFS, Contitech airbags, and Aerospace Components racing disc brakes as parts in the mix, we knew we were in for some fantastic fabricating. Watch over KA Custom's shoulder to see the sparks fly. We warn you, though, if you live anywhere near Surf City USA, you'll want to drive your custom vintage truck to KA Custom for some sweet improvements or an entire transformation.