Walking the endless rows of custom rods and muscle cars in Daytona at the annual Turkey Rod Run, Jennifer Kelley, a junior in college, saw a classic truck and told her dad, Ken, "I want you to build me a truck." That simple request sent Ken, owner of Kelley's Koncepts in Savannah, Georgia, on a search for a suitable truck project that would satisfy his love of '30s-era rods and her desire for a truck. After dropping less than $2,000 for a far-from-perfect '36 Ford pickup, the project was underway and graduation was only 11 months away.
Ken wasted little time in ordering the Fatman chassis for the '36. The CNC mandrel-bent rectangular frame features a Mustang II rack-and-pinion, 2-inch drop spindles, and power disc brakes. Pro Shock coilovers provide the exact height, front and rear, and out back, an Air Ride Technologies four-link, without the airbags, controls the rear axle. The wheels are old-school, with Cragar 14x7-inch hoops up front and 15x8-inch wheels wrapped in 255/60R15 tires. Weighing in at only 1,950 pounds, a massive engine wasn't necessary, so Ken went with a small-block Chevy. Under the suicide hood lies a 305ci V-8 equipped with a Comp cam, painted Edelbrock intake, Demon carb, Hooker block-hugger headers, and as he puts it "Lots of chrome." The estimated 300 hp is plenty when cruising down River St. in Savannah. That power is sent into a 350 tranny through a shortened driveshaft and ends in a Ford 9-inch rear with 3.73 gears. At that point, Ken had himself a rolling and running chassis, but the Ford pickup body was in need of major surgery.
All of the body mods were performed by Kelley's Koncepts. Starting with the steel cab, Ken chopped the top 4 inches, channeled the body 4 inches, and shortened the beautiful Ford grille 4 inches to keep everything proportionate. The fiberglass fenders and running boards were widened two inches, the grille inserts were handmade, and the parking lights flushed into the fenders. While he was at it, Autoloc Bear Claw hinges were welded on, which converted the doors to suicide style, and the handles were shaved. Other awesome additions included the handmade rocker panels, flushed FBI LED taillights, and a remote-control actuated cowl vent. The bed received oak wood strips with polished stringers. Ken then applied the House of Kolor Kandy Silver basecoat, and Kandy Brandywine paint provided the topcoat. Brad Miles then stepped in and sprayed the trick ghost flames, which are as custom as they are subtle. Jen's truck was really coming along at this point, but no blonde-haired Southern belle should have to ride around on a bench seat, right?
Brad Miles applied the House of Kolor ghost flames to the '36.
Ken solved this problem by taking a pair of '02 Acura bucket seats to The Leading Edge in Savannah, where they recovered the seats in real leather. The saddle leather is complemented by burgundy snakeskin accents and quality stitching. Saddle Mercedes-Benz carpet and pads are soft to the touch and look up at the suede headliner and aluminum dash complete with Auto Meter gauges. Ken finished the interior by adding gold-plated cup holders to the custom center console, a Vintage Air A/C, a tilt ididit column capped with a Mahogany steering wheel, and a super-tall Lokar billet shifter. Meanwhile, the tunes are handled by a JVC CD head unit and Pioneer speakers.
With degree in hand, Jen received the keys to her brand-new 70-year-old truck on graduation day. What a gift and what a project! No one does it alone, and Ken was quick to thank John Felker, Brad Miles, Don Melton, and Alex DaSilva for all of their effort. We only one question left to ask, does Ken need a son in the family, because we would love to have him build us a truck.
Those beautiful swoopy '30s-era fenders were widened 2 inches and hover above classic Crag