Some Trucks Decide Their Own Outcome!
We’ve seen it more often than you’d think. Lots of custom trucks start with a plan for just modest changes. The owner’s original intent was to create an occasional driver with a minimum of effort and cost. Purchase an inexpensive truck, spend a little time getting it running, maybe toss in a few personal touches, and then drive it. Sound familiar? Somewhere along the way however, everything changes. Custom trucks have a way of creating their own future.
That’s the way it began with George Lindsay and his 1963 F-100. George is no stranger to the custom truck scene. His ’53 F-100 was a consistent show winner and a magazine feature truck a few years back. Of course, George has an advantage over most. The customizing process is easy when you own a salvage yard that’s been functioning since the mid-60s. There’s a gold mine of spare parts just waiting for a little creative reassembly.
While his trophy-magnet ’53 was great fun, his next project was scheduled to go down a different road, and as George says, “It was just going to be a driver.” The search began for a ’56 version of Ford’s famous pickup, but that changed when his neighbor turned him onto a ’63 project truck. George smiles when he says it was in 100 pieces, though some upgrades had already been accomplished like a Heidts front end. Still intent on a modest build, driving a truck with a modern ride and low profile, even on a grocery getter, was important to him.
George began the personalizing process by boxing and C-notching the frame prior to adding the Ridetech air suspension with Shock Waves. With the Heidts front, a Ford Explorer 8.8 rear, and 20-inch Ridler wheels, the results turned out so well that there was a not-so-subtle shift in the original plan.
His salvage yard skills came into play with the purchase of a 2016 Mustang GT, a rollover with only 600 miles on it. Reasoning that even “just drivers” can benefit from hauling ass now and then, George re purposed the Coyote V-8, transmission, radiator, electric fan and computer, adding a Ford Motorsports wiring harness to simplify the process. (Thanks to good friend and wiring guru Freddie Sprague for making all the connections). At this point, it was obvious that the truck was definitely heading down a new road.
Before the bed could be installed, the floor was cut to provide clearance for all the air-ride components. Higher toward the cab wall, then lower as it reaches the tailgate, the new bed floor features an access panel for maintenance and carpeting for looks.
As an experienced builder, George recognized that thousands of iconic Blue Oval trucks have been customized in the past, so any new modifications would have to be subtle. The operative word would be unique rather than routine. Teaming up with his welder friend, Roy Fischer, George began devising ways to implement the plan. The ’63 did not come with a bed, so rather than replace it with a squared off original version, he chose the more rounded ’64 style. Before the bed could be installed, the floor was cut to provide clearance for all the air-ride components. Higher toward the cab wall, then lower as it reaches the tailgate, the new bed floor features an access panel for maintenance and carpeting for looks. Custom inner fender panels adapt to the wide rear wheels. Outside, every angle of the bed was smoothed with the tailgate and all the seams welded shut. The team fabricated a new rear pan with twin pipes poking through along with a recessed license plate. A fiberglass tonneau cover continued the slick look, while a pair of subtle ’37 Zephyr taillights ensured the rear treatment qualified as unique.
The cab received its own level of mods. George smiles when he says, “This one came to me in a dream!” Wanting a distinctive touch but not willing to disturb the iconic look of the cab, he wanted a new back window. The search for a Unibody glass didn’t pan out, but a friend told him about a big back window on a ’57 Ford that might work. Measuring the openings in the ’57 and the ’63, George and Roy trimmed the sheetmetal around both until the fit was perfect. The drip moldings around the doors were eliminated along with the gas filler hole and vents, then a third brake light added. One-piece side windows fit in perfectly with the clean theme.
Front end upgrades began with a later model ’66 grille, chromed for a little sparkle. The front bumper was done away with, and the roll pan extended, making a one-piece addition from the bottom of the grille. Late model Ford running lights and a chrome-accented opening created a distinctive look while LED headlights light the way.
Moving inside, the first thing you see is the unique dashboard. George is a Ford man, and over the years he’s had several Ford Galaxies. He decided to incorporate a 1964 Galaxie dash in the truck, filling it with Dakota Digital gauges and controls for the Vintage Air. A lower panel holds the A/C vents. His good friend Bob Gossey from Gladstone, Missouri, covered the ’62 T-Bird buckets and door panels in rich looking, distressed brown leather. A Mustang shifter for the 6-speed automatic resides in the custom center console. George uses a jump drive with 700 Golden oldies to fill the cab with music, playing through a Kenwood head unit and component sets in the sides of the console and behind the seats.
One of the final steps is always paint and, as you can see, George is clearly a fan of bright! The family played a big role in the selection. His grandson sent him a picture of a 1969 Challenger that was being assembled in a local body shop. When George saw it in person, he loved it. His daughter found the color online, bought the paint from eBay, and the House of Kolor Ultra Orange Pearl turned out great. He and Roy got the body roughed in and his son-in-law Paul Read applied the color. The bold shade was added under the hood and the custom air cleaner sports an image of Wiley Coyote, the perfect accent for the new V-8.
We photographed the truck at the F-100 Supernationals in Tennessee where it captured the overall Points Championship Trophy, as well as the F-100 Builder’s Guide Editor’s Choice. Not bad for just ‘yer old daily driver!
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
2016 Ford GT
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
Heidts front end
’99 Explorer 8.8 tri-bar rear
2 Airmaxxx compressors
12-inch, 4-piston disc brakes
WHEELS & TIRES
Ridler 20-inch 650 rims
Nitto 245/40R20 and 315/35R20
EXTERIOR & PAINT
Cab with ’57 big back window
Single pane side glass
Drip moldings removed
Third brake light
Bumpers removed front and rear
1964 smoothed bed
Tailgate welded shut
Fiberglass tonneau cover
Custom rear pan
Custom front end
1966 F-100 chrome grille
House of Kolor Ultra Orange Pearl
Dakota Digital gauges
T-Bird bucket seats in distressed brown leather
Mustang shifter in the custom center console
Component sets in the console and behind the seats