If you’re a truck enthusiast, you probably know all about the satisfaction that comes from personalizing your ride. Whether it’s as minor as tinted glass and new floor mats or something a little more elaborate like bigger rims, lower/lift kits or maybe new paint, the changes reflect your taste and make your truck unique. Taking it several steps further, there’s a whole new level of personalization that demands a combination of time, tools, talent and tenacity to infuse a vehicle with an entirely new personality. Robin Funke knows that arduous process well. Originally from North Dakota and currently living in Wilmington, North Carolina, Robin was in the construction business and became an expert welder, a talent that transferred to his old car hobby. A fan of cool customs, he’s enjoyed such unique rides as a ’36 Chrysler Airflow, an all-steel ’41 Willys Coupe, a ’67 Chevelle and a ’55 Ford Sedan Delivery. Robin passed his passion on to his son Jeremy, and smiles when he describes Jeremy as a dedicated Ford nut.
Jeremy owned a diesel King Ranch and also bought this ’57 Ford F-100 Styleside short-box. Unfortunately, he succumbed to cancer before he could enjoy his classic truck, so Robin brought it home where it sat for a year. During that time, he decided he would restore the truck for his son, but he was determined to make something that was genuinely memorable. His idea took shape, thanks to inspiration from a neighbor’s late-model Mustang. Combining a healthy dose of vision with imagination, Robin could see a connection between the two that just might produce the results he was after. He decided he would modify the vintage F-100 body so that it would fit on a modern Mustang chassis.
It wasn’t long before he found an ’08 Shelby GT500 that had been hit in the rear corner. He cut the body off the Shelby, leaving the firewall, and then cut the floor and firewall from the pickup. Robin smiles when he says it took about 100 trial fittings with his garage chain hoist before he got the F-100 body to fit over the Shelby cowl and rest on the Shelby floor. Once the multiple cuts and sectioning modifications were complete in the rough, he opted for the smart approach, hiring out the finish bodywork to an expert craftsmen and old friend in North Dakota, Ted Powers. At 70 years of age, Powers brought a wealth of talent to the project, and Funke describes him as “da Vinci in disguise.”
Powers began his portion of the work by stretching the front end of the F-100 7 inches beginning at the rear of the front fenders. He cut the door in half, front to back, and stretched it 7 inches. He cut the pickup bed in half, removing 14 inches in order to have the wheel openings of the truck match the wheels of the Mustang. The wheel wells were then re-radiused to further highlight the wheels. The body was sectioned twice, removing 4 inches up front and 3 inches from the doors. The hood was welded to the tops of the fenders, then cut to produce a more conventional opening. A cowl induction scoop followed to provide room for the supercharger. Two 1957 Ford hoods were used to create the unique tonneau cover over the bed, now opening with a linear actuator. At the touch of a button, it raises to reveal what was the back seat of the Mustang, now featuring tubular suspension bracing. The original grille uses custom headlights with built-in turn signals. The tailgate was trimmed to fit and the 1957 Ford rear bumper, turned upside down, now sports crescent-shaped cutouts for the twin pipes. Even the Shelby gas filler door was adapted to the F-100 rear fender. Robin picked up the finish-welded truck eight months later and moved into the next phase.
Although there had been a tremendous amount of work involved to this point, using a modern donor car has its advantages. Everything on the Shelby that could be reused was, beginning with the interior that included the seats, dash, center and overhead consoles, steering wheel and stereo. Gotcha Covered in Wilmington fabricated new door panels and headliner to match the existing portions of the Mustang interior.
Performance and handling were also simplified since the supercharged Mustang V-8 needed nothing more than a smaller pulley on the blower, a Ford Performance cold air intake, and a tune to create a whopping 528-hp with 530 lbs-ft of torque. Since the ’08 Shelby came from the factory already equipped with an autocross-level suspension, big brakes and tight steering, the only additions were larger sway bars and trailing arms from Steeda. Robin outfitted the Shelby 18-inch rims with Nitto 255/45-ZR18 rubber up front and 275/40ZR18 versions in the rear.
The perfect finishing touch was the Shelby Red paint sprayed by Affordable Collision in Wilmington. As a reminder, a subtle ghost mural depicting Jeremy’s face was added to the tailgate as a way of wrapping up this ultimate memorial build.
Robin and his wife Kathleen have been enjoying the truck since its completion last year. They’ve taken it to autocross events and attended car shows as far away as Vermont. Robin says the truck handles fabulously. We photographed the truck at the F-100 Supernationals in Lebanon, Tennessee. Competing against 550 other customized vehicles, Robin’s highly modified F-100 captured the Overall Points Championship award and tall trophy. Robin sends special thanks to his friend, Ted Powers, for helping him build his so-called Nightmare.
Robin and Kathleen Funke
1957 Ford F-100 Styleside Short Box
2008 Mustang 5.4L (330 ci) modular supercharged V-8
Tuned by Fast Lane Motorsports, Benson, NC
Tremec 6060 six-speed manual transmission
Chassis & Suspension
Full 2008 Mustang chassis
Factory suspension tuning kit
Steeda larger sway bars and trailing arms
Wheels & Tires
Shelby Mustang 18-inch wheels
255/45ZR18 and 275/40-ZR18 Nitto
Body & Paint
Bodywork by owner and Ted Powers
F-100 cab, doors, fenders, bed, grille, hood and tailgate cut to fit the 2008 Mustang donor car
Custom tonneau cover fabricated from a pair of 1957 Ford hoods
Shelby Red paint and tailgate ghost mural sprayed by Affordable Collision, Wilmington, NC
Flipped rear bumper with exhaust cutouts
Interior & Stereo
Factory Mustang interior
Mustang black leather high back seats
Mustang center and overhead consoles
Mustang premium stereo with front- and rear-mounted speakers
Gotcha Covered in Wilmington, NC, fabricated the black leather door panels and black velour headliner
Special Thanks From the Owner: “Ted Powers for his talent and patience in creating this one-of-a-kind memorial ride.”
Since the Mustang chassis lies beneath this F-100 body, the supercharged 5.4L V-8 was used.
The dash and seats were reused to maintain the creature comforts of the modern Mustang.
The body of this ’57 F-100 was highly modified to fit the late-model chassis.
The trunk and the rear seat section were transformed into a custom bed floor.
To honor his son with this build, Robin had a mural of Jeremy ghosted on the tailgate.