FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, WHAT IS now Kansas was home to numerous Native American tribes, some lived along the river valleys, while others were nomadic and hunted bison. Today, enthusiasts from across the country searching for Ford truck parts recognize Lenexa, Kansas-based LMC Truck as an important destination.
More than 30 years ago, the late Leo Long started Long Motor Company and began selling import sports car parts, but it wasn’t until 1993 that a division of the company called LMC Truck was created. This set the stage for its growth in the truck market. Now it takes three huge warehouses to contain the more than 40,000 parts in its inventory, and the company publishes 50 catalogs for trucks, SUVs and vans, of which 18 are devoted exclusively to Fords.
What you won’t see at LMC Truck is huge signage in front or on the buildings proclaiming you’ve arrived. One reason is that the company is located within Johnson County, one of the most affluent areas in Kansas. With strict codes and ordinances on signage and how businesses may promote themselves, LMC Truck decided to blend into the territory.
Another thing is that the owner and management of LMC Truck is somewhat low-key. That is unusual for a company of this magnitude with millions of dollars worth of inventory on hand, ready to fulfill a part or accessory request for your truck that you may not even realize you need yet.
LMC Truck doesn’t sell used parts, and all of its parts are either new or rebuilt. Remanufactured parts are notated by an “-R” or a “-Z” at the end of their part numbers in catalogs or online. An “-R” denotes the part is remanufactured without a core charge, while a “-Z” tells you that the part is remanufactured and a core charge will be applied then refunded after LMC Truck receives a rebuildable core.
The degree of automation aside, LMC Truck has between 350-400 employees dedicated to assisting you with the restoration or modification of your truck. The stages your order goes through ensure that there are at least three people who scan and verify the parts you order, the completeness of the order, and that nothing is missing before it’s packed and shipped. The automated component expedites getting parts from one area of the building to another, and saved steps translate into faster service. Our tour of all three warehouses confirms how long it would take to gather all of the parts, and LMC even has box vans used to move product from one building to another.
Sheet metal is one of the most popular items ordered, and easily could be damaged at any point in the delivery process. To avoid this, LMC Truck adds a special corrugated liner to its custom-made boxes that’s capable of handling weight like a wooden pallet, yet is also somewhat flexible and much more forgiving. It’s these small details that add up to greater customer satisfaction and repeat business, particularly when you receive fenders for your F-100 or a Bronco hood in unmolested, pristine condition.
Polystyrene peanuts were at one time the industry standard for shipping. However, polystyrene is made from the chemical compound styrene, and exposure to it is associated with central nervous system damage and skin, eye and respiratory irritation, plus depression, fatigue and compromised kidney function. Styrene may be a human carcinogen, and while those who only occasionally deal with foam packing peanuts shouldn’t worry about exposure, we should be alarmed about the landfills where most of it ends up. As the use of bubble wrap and anti-static foam replaced peanuts, LMC Truck was an early adopter, even though these materials are more costly, because it values the health and well-being of all of its employees.
Like most automotive-focused businesses worth their salt, LMC Truck is the proud owner of many built vehicles. One of particular note began as a ’79 Bronco nicknamed Betty, which was originally purchased in 1978 by a customer in Missouri. Before the Bronco found it’s way to LMC, it went to a custom shop in Placentia, California, RollA-Long, Inc., where the major modifications to the interior, pinstriping and tow package were done. Roll-A-Long was the custom arm of Fairway Ford, and the bucket seats, center console, rear seat, headliner and side panels were all re-covered in red, orange and yellow vinyl. Roll-A-Long added the tow package, and the pinstriping was done by hand.
After Betty’s time in California, it emerged as the Magnum Force Bronco and made its way to Camdenton, Missouri, where its history gets a little hazy. The LMC Truck crew’s research told them that the next owner kept the Bronco for decades and used the truck during southern Missouri snowstorms. The next owner only had the Bronco for 10 years, and eventually it ended up with a for sale sign in its window. LMC Truck purchased the Bronco from its then-current owner in Little Elm, Texas, and collaborated with Casey James, a rising country music star and former “American Idol” contestant.
The other Fords in LMC Truck’s fleet are used for promotional purposes, and for research and development of replacement parts, just like the other vehicles in its collection. In pursuit of the correct part and the right fit, LMC Truck is known for taking apart an otherwise whole, running vehicle to prototype parts. In some cases, it has shipped those rare parts to a vendor to duplicate them, and it remains for the R&D staff to reinstall them once again.
Although many on LMC Truck’s staff are enthusiasts themselves, they ask that you keep in mind that they are not trained ASC-certified automotive technicians, and they remind all of their customers to consult with mechanics regarding any technical advice. Technical information can also be had in the workshop manuals LMC Truck offers for sale.
Whether you are rebuilding your truck from the ground up, or just adding some distinctive touches to it, LMC Truck is proud to give you a hand, and excited that you’ve chosen to make the company a part of your journey. It would like to see what you’ve done, and hopes you’ll log on to LMCtrucklife.com to share your stories and any project pictures.