Dave "Kahuna" Wilkinson never intended his truck to look this good. The Grants Pass, Oregon, resident wanted to make his '66 Ford F-100 a clean ranch truck to do what trucks ought to - haul horse feed and pull a fishing boat.
Wilkinson has some experience in this arena, having worked on a '67 SS Nova and '65 and '69 Mustangs, probably restoring them with the same care that he and his friends have taken with the F-100. Eschewing over-the-top modifications, Wilkinson's truck has a mildly aftermarket look. Nevertheless, subtleties abound. Remember, he wanted it to be a clean daily driver. But six years and $5,400 later, he unveiled a farm hauler that cleans up well.
A lot of work went into this project. Let's start with the obvious changes. Wilkinson and buddy Steve Brown lavished a custom-blended blue and pearl paintjob with translucence, reminiscent of the full moon shining from the bottom of the deep blue sea. Painted along the side is an earthy graphic painted by Mark Willis that looks like the horizon line from a ruddy L.A. sunset. Halogen headlights beam from a polished stainless steel grille shell, and a steel roll pan fabricated by Willis eases the visual transition from vertical to horizontal in the rear. Willis also smoothed the underside of the hood by adding a layer of steel. Otherwise, sweet-looking stock components clad the body.
After eyeballing its approximately 8-inch front and 12-inch rear crouch, it's apparent the chassis has something going on. Monroe air shocks on channeled towers damp the Ford leaves in the rear, shortened coils in the front, and the 3-inch drop I-beam from AIM Industries. Willis also cut a C-notch into the frame. Rolling stock on this ranch rambler includes Ultra 15x8-inch wheels wrapped by P295/15R50 BFGoodrich tires in back and P245/15R60s in the front.
Inside, the truck's exterior color dominates the dash, A-pillars, and upper half of the doors, but with a slight difference - blue pearl spikes the blue blend inside, differentiating it from the white pearl outside. A blue velour headliner arches over the blue and raspberry tweed upholstery from Custom Upholstery in Medford, Oregon, and blue cut pile carpet underneath. Underlying the eye candy are custom-fabricated door panels, kick panels, and seats that deviate significantly from stock. A center armrest with cupholder and reclining backs augment the factory seats. Steering is handled by an aftermarket wheel and column from a Grand Marquis to take advantage of the tilt capability. Sounds are provided by an appropriately less-than-cutting-edge AM/FM cassette player, 6x9-inch speakers in the door behind the panels, and a 250Wx4 amplifier bolted to the underside of the seats - all from Pioneer.
Rumbling in the engine compartment is a '79 Mercury 400ci eight-cylinder powerplant. Valley Auto, in Grants Pass, bored the pistons to 0.4 and installed a Comp cam with a duration of 218, a 9-inch Ford rearend, and a Ford ring-and-pinion with a ratio of 270. Larry's Transmission put in a Mercury '79 C6 tranny and B&M Shift Improver Kit, and shortened the driveshaft by 2-1/2 inches. Lastly, a Flowmaster muffler evacuates the exhaust. All in all, this engine cranks out 320 hp and, by Wilkinson's reckoning, rockets at a speed of 126 mph.
The truck has been finished for a few years now and nothing has changed since then. It has ticked off more than 60,000 miles as a more-than-clean commuter and transporter to events all over the place. You may have seen it at a truck or car show, with one of the 62 First Place trophies, five Second Place, and several sponsor awards it has garnered. If not, keep an eye out for a cool-looking classic pickup carrying bags of hay, oats, miles, and smiles.