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Two Birds, One Wrench 

Johnathan and Lisa Elkins live in the beautiful Temecula, California, valley. If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Southern California’s wine country, it may be time to take a trip. Just 45 minutes inland, the Temecula valley boasts craft wine and sunshine as the perfect duo. The charming town also has a thriving automotive community—one that’s supported by Johnathan’s spring and suspension shop. 

In 2018, Johnathan had the opportunity to kill two birds with one wrench: build a bitchin’ 1960 Ford for SEMA and surprise his wife with a birthday gift on wheels. The problem was that he had only 28 days to get it all done. With a dramatic deadline ahead, his build plan was quality over quantity, and his mission was to build a classic cruiser with effortless good looks.

First up, make it low! Johnathan chopped, C-notched and reinforced the frame to accommodate the rear drop. He then built mounting provisions for the SAE Speed coilovers and fabricated a custom four-link. A matching pair of coilovers sits up front in the SAE Mustang II IFS kit, which includes tubular control arms, upgraded disc brakes and power steering. The adjusted ride height and geometry make for a brand-new driving experience. For decades, SAE Speed in Corona, California, has been providing quality parts for classics and hot-rods. Thanks to Johnathan’s skill and the SAE Speed components, this ’60 rides more like a 2016.

The SAE IFS kit makes installing a modern power plate that much easier. Custom motor mounts are typically a shortcut to the land of migraines, especially with a SEMA deadline as short as Johnathan was facing. But a Coyote, LSX or even EcoBoost was not a part of the build vision. The factory 223 straight-six had accumulated only 84,000 miles over half a century. Johnathan opted to keep it original. A diligent cleanup and refresh ensued. The elbow grease spread to the four-on-the-floor as well. The only major modification was done to the OEM oil pan. It was notched to accommodate the crossmember of the IFS kit. The renewed powertrain now begs for endless cruising.

Historically, artillery wheels were first made of wood and wrapped in a steel lip. The style rapidly grew in popularity for motor vehicles. 

Helping to round out the minor modifications are a set of Detroit Steel artillery wheels. Historically, artillery wheels were first made of wood and wrapped in a steel lip. The style rapidly grew in popularity for motor vehicles. American makers began stamping the entire wheel out of steel, but they retained the heavy spoke look. Ford first introduced its version of steel artillery wheels in the early 1930s. These modern recreations bring the best of both worlds: form and function. They measure 18×9 inches all around. They are wrapped up in Falken Azenis tires for smooth sailing all year round.

The icing on the cake: a rose-shaped shift knob, a fitting touch for a gift to his wife.

The truck’s exterior is essentially untouched. But there’s no want for aesthetics. The 18-inch wheels sport a bright red center, white lip and polished hub cap. The high contrast complements the truck’s Caribbean Turquoise patina perfectly. The red plays off the factory taillights, Ford badges and natural reds of the surface rust. The white lip teams up with the white-lettered tailgate. And the polished hubcaps bring the all-important dash of chrome to the OG recipe. The original patina and custom tailgate lettering were re-cleared in a matte finish.

The interior received a bit more attention. Old Town Upholstery in Escondido, California, recovered the factory bench seat in rich red leather. The black diamond stitch complements the red beautifully. The gauge cluster surround was also painted red to continue the colorway. Johnathan threw the icing on the cake with the handmade rose-shaped shift knob—a fitting touch for a gift to his wife. Less than a month from start-to-finish and the Elkins’ ’60 was cruising into the SEMA show, and then, endless summer nights in Southern California.



Johnathan and Lisa Elkins
Temecula, California
’60 Ford F-100

Chassis & Suspension

  • Custom rear C-notch
  • SAE Speed coilovers front and rear
  • SAE Speed Mustang II IFS conversion with power steering
  • SAE Speed disc brake conversion

Wheels & Tires

  • Detroit Steel 18-inch artilleries
  • Falken Azenis 235/65/r18 tires


  • Original Straight-6 223 refreshed
  • Rebuilt “four on the floor” trans
  • Custom oil pan notch and pickup for clearance

Body & Paint

  • Real original patina
  • Buffed and cleared
  • Original FORD vin tag looks like truck might have been dealer only and never sold to public
  • Custom hand-painted tailgate letters


  • Custom handmade rose shift knob
  • Custom bench seat wrapped with red leather and black diamond stitching by Old Town Upholstery
  • Mostly original with a few small upgrades, as is the theme of the truck