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THERE ARE VERY FEW guys out there who would be able to ID the gray paint worn by the ’68 F-100 showcased on the next few pages. The color is clean, subtle and is actually a Ford factory paint code, although it resides at the rather obscure end of the spectrum.

The OG grille shell and bumper were both given a refreshing chrome bath.

“After some deliberation on color scheme, I first wanted to reapply the factoryissued Apache Beige and Wimbledon White combination,” says owner Steve Mills. “The two-tone paint was familiar to me as it was the exact color of my late father’s truck when I was 8 years old. Then I was leaning toward going with a solid 1967 Aston Martin color called Chelsea Gray. After some more digging through color charts and pouring through photos of older model cars, I finally found the color I needed the truck to be.” Folkstone Gray—you might not have ever heard of it before, but it was a factory Ford paint color back in the ’40s. “Actually, the color was only available on coupe models,” Steve adds. If you know Steve and his dedicated allegiance to Ford Motor Company, then you’d understand why it made so much sense for him to use the color.

Original restoration products were used throughout the truck to maintain as much of the F-100’s factoryspec vibe as possible.

Of course, a guy like Steve would find a paint color with some FoMoCo heritage to run with since he’s been a steadfast Ford guy since he was a wee lad. “I have always driven a Ford truck. My wife and I have raised three boys, and they have all driven Ford trucks, too,” Steve affirms. “In Texas, it’s like some kind of rite of passage getting to drive your dad’s Ford truck. It ranks right up there with going deer hunting.” The Lone Star state is a place unlike any other in the world, and things get a little territorial the more familiar you get with the terrain. “I live out in the country south of Fort Worth. Yes, Fort Worth—not Dallas. Fort Worth people are different from Dallas people. I can explain this better over a couple of Shiner draft beers.” The lines in the dirt might become a little blurred to outsiders like us, but Steve’s “Cow Town pride,” as he lovingly referrers to his hometown, is more than admirable.

Steve’s close neighbor just happens to be K.C. Mathieu of K.C.’s Paint Shop and Gas Monkey Garage fame. The two met and collaborated on Steve’s ’61 F-100 build years ago. “K.C. had his shop back behind his house, doing jobs on his days off from Gas Monkey. I had very limited interest in all that and paid very little attention to the show. In short, I was just a small customer dipping his toes into the truck game.” The two had lots to bond over, especially their affinity for vintage Ford pickups. With the rise in popularity of Chevy trucks throughout the last few years, there’s a bolder distinction between fans of makes other than those sporting a Bow Tie. “One thing is certain between K.C. and I, we are both Ford guys through and through. It’s almost like being in some kind of religious cult or something, especially since we are constantly being confronted with mass amounts of C-10s out here. The classic Ford pickup owners are still the minority.”

Speedhut gauges do their part in delivering clear vital readouts.

Being close locked pals with a special understanding when it comes to trucks, K.C. helped track down the 1967-72 style-side bump F-100 for Steve at his special request. “I told K.C. that I wanted to build a milder version of his famous Boxwood Green ’68 that was built on the Gas Monkey show,” Steve goes on to say. “I had just sold my company at the time [2014] and wanted to get into the truck game by spending more time at shows and way more time just cruising.” Three weeks after the APB was put out for a new project truck, K.C. delivered some good news. “The ’68 he found was there at Gas Monkey, it was one of their eBay flips and was super clean. The truck was originally from East Texas, and it was surprisingly solid. K.C. and I both looked it over, and we couldn’t find a single thing that should stop me from hitting the auction with a vengeance. Obviously, I laid down the winning bid, although, I may have overpaid for it a bit. I knew that I wasn’t going to have to invest in any rust repair, so it all evened out.”

PG Custom Interior and K.C.’s Paint Shop joined forces to create a timeless, elegant interior space inside of the Ford’s cabin. Supple leather seating, fresh carpeting and a Budnik steering wheel headline the attraction.

Steve also saved a few bucks on shipping costs because the truck was close enough to arrange for quick and easy pick up. Within a couple of weeks of getting it home, Steve and K.C. had the truck completely disassembled. Now, Mr. Mills is no criminal, but he wanted to give the Texas Rangers a run for their money, so he talked to Scot McMillan of Scot Rods (also a Fort Worth boy) about working in a Crown Vic front clip and a 4-link Ford Lightning rearend for the ultimate in highway handling. “Scot, Jeff, Steve and Austin did some great fabrication work and got the truck going on a strong foundation. In the meantime, K.C. had the body at his place, and when I got the rolling chassis back to my shop, I was doing what I could to keep the progress in motion,” Steve says about the beginning stages of the build.

Twenty-inch Budnik E85s fit the truck’s stance and demeanor perfectly. The combination of the bronze finish and polished lips blend well with the Ford’s Folkstone Gray paint.

While Steve’s journey with his latest F-100 build seems to have been smooth sailing the whole way through, wait until you get a load of something that could have derailed the entire project and then some. “After picking up the rolling chassis with the motor attached, the truck rolled off the back of my trailer across four lanes of busy Saturday-morning traffic. To my and everyone else’s surprise, the chassis remained unscathed, and so did everyone else on that stretch of highway that day. The chassis avoided the bar ditch and ended up coming to a gentle stop in a new driveway. Thank God nobody was injured. Any vehicle could’ve easily T-boned the frame and who knows what could’ve ended up happening that day.”

Most people, who haven’t experienced the hectic task of building a custom vehicle of this caliber might think it’s all fun and games. The guys who piece these things together are often juggling a full schedule and sacrifice extended stays in the dog house to spend enough time in the garage to make the builds happen. “I was becoming a little ‘brain damaged’ getting all the required things on the truck done in the right order and sequence. Aside from constantly dealing with two or three different shops at a time, I was still a husband and father first, and I still had work and travel to attend to.” Steve played every card in his deck to get K.C. to agree to take over the remainder of the build for him. K.C. was nose-deep in responsibilities as well with crazy work hours and side
paint jobs, but he agreed to help Steve out by overseeing the rest of the project. “I knew K.C. had an amazing work ethic, and was an honest and open communicator. Plus, the guy knows quality when he sees it. Having him onboard for this build was invaluable to me. Today, I am thankful to call him a friend.”

A gray-and-black painted Ford Performance 351W crate engine has been planted underneath the hood and dressed to the nines with plenty of Billet Specialties accessories for good measure. Steve’s F-100 won’t have many problems getting from points A-Z in a hurry.

The whole idea behind this build was to create a truck with real-world, reliable drivability that would look the same 20 years from now. It was built to maintain the same dealer lot appeal it had back in 1968, but with many modern conveniences (that wouldn’t overshadow the original Ford design). The carbureted 351W motor helps see to that, as does the muted paint scheme and the incorporation of the interior and exterior trim. “Less is more,” Steve adds to drive that sentiment home. “I doubt little else will be done, with the possible exception of a Coyote motor swap and a Stage Three Roush supercharger. In that case, more is more.”

Whatever Steve decides to do with his truck in the near or distant future, it will be done by keeping it as close to what the Ford engineers originally mapped out for the truck in the late-’60s. But  until that day (if it ever) comes, it’s nothing but easy cruising.

TECH SPECS

STEVE MILLS
1968 Ford F-100
Fort Worth, TX

ENGINE

  • Shop: Scot Rod’s Garage, Fort Worth, TX
  • Ford Racing 351W crate engine
  • Ford Automatic Overdrive
  • Billet Specialties serpentine assembly, water pump, finned valve covers and air cleaner
  • Derale cooling fan
  • Stock replacement radiator
  • Gray/black engine paint
  • Custom motor mounts by Scot Rod’s Garage
  • Ford Racing SVO aluminum heads
  • MSD distributor
  • MSD Blaster 2 coil
  • Shorty headers, tungsten-ceramic-coated intake
  • Stainless Works exhaust system

CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Shop: Scot Rod’s Garage
  • 2003 Crown Vic front swap
  • Ridetech coil-overs all around
  • Scot Rod’s rear 4-link system
  • Stock front brakes, rear Ford Lightning brakes
  • 2003 Ford Lightning rearend
  • Crown Vic rack-and-pinion
  • CPP steering column
  • Odyssey battery
  • Mustang fuel tank in bed

WHEELS & TIRES

  • 20×8.5 and 20×10 Budnik E85 wheels
  • 245/40R20 and 275/40R20 Falken Azenis FK453 tires

BODY & PAINT

  • Shop: K.C.’s Paint Shop (K.C. Mathieu), Fort Worth, TX
  • BASF R-M Folkstone Gray
  • Shaved dash, side mirrors, gas filler (moved to bed with C-10 square-body fuel door) and antenna
  • 1967 badges, interior door trim and rearview mirror with visor clips
  • Original grille shell rechromed
  • Original front and rear bumpers
  • Original front fenders
  • Original restoration parts used throughout the build
  • Bed covered with Line-X coating

INTERIOR & STEREO

  • Shop: PG Custom Interior, Fort Worth, TX
  • Brown/tan leather upholstery used on seats
  • Carpet and seat belts sourced from Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts
  • Speedhut gauges
  • Budnik steering wheel
  • Original 1967 rearview mirror
  • Wiring by Ron Francis
  • Restomod Air Vapir II AC system and bulkhead
  • Custom dash inserts by KC’s Paint Shop

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