HERE’S THE THING: OWNING A SHOW TRUCK CAN be a real pain. If it garners any kind of attention, then you have to maintain it regularly, make sure no one throws a cart at it in a parking lot—things like that. While the attention it gets can be positive, what do you do when you have to run errands or pick up something that could damage your truck? It’s a question that has vexed custom truck owners for years, but Pascal Baron of Metairie, Louisiana, seems to have the answer.
“… what do you do when you have to run errands or pick up something that could damage your truck? It’s a question that has vexed custom truck owners for years …”
Truck enthusiasts might know him as the guy who built The Stranger, a Ford Ranger that was done up top to bottom with a stellar paint job and an unreal one-off interior. It’s one of those trucks that lays flat and looks amazing, but you might wonder whether or not the owner was afraid to take it out on the road. Pascal does drive it, but it’s not going to be the vehicle he chooses when he needs to make a run to pick up some steel or take scrap to the junkyard.
For that, he needed something else, and even though he wanted something different, it still had to be custom enough to appeal to him. He started looking for a ’67 Ford, but after finding a ’65 owned by an older couple, he fell in love with the body style and decided to go in that direction instead. In an interesting twist, the photographer Grant Cox had become a friend, and helped Pascal acquire this ’61 unibody that had just the right amount of patina and a whole bunch of character. Pascal bought it, built it, and that same photographer took the pictures you’re seeing on these pages.
“Pascal knew he was going to do something to it, but he didn’t want to go too nuts.”
Pascal knew he was going to do something to it, but he didn’t want to go too nuts. There was no point in dumping a ton of cash into a truck that wasn’t destined for the show scene. With that in mind, he bought a Crown Vic from an auction, with the idea being that he could use the front suspension and the motor for the unibody. Once he got into it though, he realized that he didn’t like the restrictions of the Crown Vic’s front clip and scrapped the idea.
Now he had a whole car to work with though, and not being one to let anything go to waste, he decided to install the motor into the ’61. Instead of taking the clip, he bought a Heidt’s independent front suspension, complete with 2-inch drop spindles and narrowed control arms. Now the front end of the truck was sitting down perfectly, and it was time to get to the rearend.
“He can just hop in and go anytime he wants, never worrying about door dings, broken air lines or scratched paint. All he has to do is drive.”
Out back, the stock rearend was swapped for one from a Ford Explorer, then the frame was notched to allow for extra travel. He could’ve ’bagged the truck, but instead he did coil-overs all the way around, with a parallel 4-link keeping the rearend aligned. Once the brakes were upgraded to Wilwoods and the wheels were bolted up, the truck was pretty much good to go.
Pascal’s truck still has a long way to go before it takes home any trophies. The interior hasn’t been touched (minus the 1950 Ford shoebox gauge cluster in the dash), and there are still a lot of little tweaks that could go a long way to making this ride one for the ages, but none of that matters to him. He can just hop in and go anytime he wants, never worrying about door dings, broken air lines or scratched paint. All he has to do is drive.
1961 Ford F-100 Unibody
- 4.6L Ford V-8 salvaged from a Crown Victoria
- 4R70E automatic transmission
- Magnaflow exhaust and mufflers
- Spectre air cleaner
- Lokar shifter
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
- Metairie Metal, Mandeville, LA
- Ford Explorer rearend with 3.73:1 gears
- 31-spline axles
- Heidt’s front suspension kit
- Independent front suspension raised 2 inches
- Narrowed control arms
- 2-inch dropped spindles
- Wilwood front brakes
- Wilwood master cylinder
- Notched frame
- RideTech 4-link with coil-overs
- Rear disc brakes
WHEELS & TIRES
- 15×8 and 15×10-inch Rocket Racing wheels with gold powder-coated finish
- 255/60R15 and 285/70R15 BF Goodrich Silvertown tires
BODY & PAINT
- 1962 Ford grille
- Factory mint green S code
INTERIOR & STEREO
- V-8 souvenir medal from the 1934 Century of Progress Exposition machined into the Lokar shifter knob
- 1950 Ford shoebox gauge cluster conversion
- Restomod AC
Special Thanks From the Owner: “Thanks to Grant Cox for helping me find the truck, then being the one to shoot it for this feature. He is kind of like the truck’s godfather. Thanks to the Goitia family for help with building the engine harness and walking me through the technical information. Gary and Jesse Albrecht for the countless hours of help; even if I had four arms and hands, I couldn’t have done it without their help.”