Active in the sport of drag racing most of his life, Ed Thomas from Cambridge, Maryland, decided to file his collection of timing slips away and pursue a new hobby: traveling the Southeast show circuit with his beautiful, new OZE pickup. From the moment Ed first saw the OZE Rod Shop's new body style, it was love at first sight. The swoopy profile of the 118-inch wheel-base truck is unique with its lush balloon fenders, side exhausts, and reverse curved bed. The OZE stainless steel grille is a wraparound style, flanked by frenched teardrop headlights, and modernized with HID lighting. In addition to the curved side windows, the OZE Sport pickup also features a lift-off Carson top that provides the best of both worlds; a serious concern when you need warmth during Maryland's brisk winters and air-conditioning while traveling Florida's sultry show circuit.
It didn't take long before dreams of the truck's style, modern powertrain, and lowered profile moved Ed into action. Researching the internet to purchase an OZE '37 of his own, he discovered one for sale, built by Kevin McGibney Jr. and Sr. in New York. Ed purchased the completed vehicle, then set about to make it his own.
As you probably know, even custom show trucks need a little freshening up, and the '37 was no exception. The first steps included repainting and reupholstering the truck, replacing the transmission, and adding a few other changes to personalize the vehicle. The roadster pickup rolls on solid underpinnings, thanks to the custom-engineered OZE chassis. Rectangular steel framerails incorporate Mustang II front suspension with tubular A-arms and 2-inch drop spindles. An OZE-designed four-link holds the Ford 9-inch rear, fitted with 3.50 gears and Strange axles.
Adding whoa to the go are the Wilwood 12-inch power disc brakes, which were equipped with cross-drilled rotors. Budnik Gasser rims up front, 17x7-inch, and shod with 205/40ZR17 Falken rubber, handle the steering chores. The 20x10-inch rear versions were wrapped in 225/35ZR20 tires and plant the power from the ZZ4 350 crate engine and 700R4 automatic. In order to emphasize its killer profile, the truck sports an Air Ride Technologies air suspension with the compressor and reserve tank mounted in the forward portion of the bed, out of sight.
The fun continues inside with sculpted Ultra leather and 'gator hide inserts used on the bucket seats and door panels. The graceful padded dash holds the slim Dakota Digital instrument package, A/C vents, and an ididit chrome tilt steering column, topped with a Budnik wheel. In addition to holding the Sony AM/FM/CD head unit, the center console boasts a compact, lidded compartment that holds many of the controls for the truck, beginning with the switches for the air suspension and the single gauge that monitors pressure front and rear. Next to them are the power window switches and controls for the linear actuators that lift both the scalloped tonneau cover and the hood, always providing a treat to the inevitable crowd of spectators that gather around the truck.
Finally, there is a single button inside the compartment that disengages the rear hold-down mechanism for the hardtop. The forward portion of the top is released manually, using latches on the windshield. In the center of the console is the Lokar shifter that controls the transmission. The same combination of cream Ultra leather and 'gator inserts was used on the beautifully upholstered tonneau cover and inside the bed. The completed truck is a regular weekend driver and staunch competitor on the show circuit. What's the best thing about owning the '37, besides loving it from the moment you first saw it? "It is a fun driver," Ed told us. "We use it quite a bit and not just for shows. It is absolutely reliable and never overheats." Of course, there's even more fun involved when you see pictures of your truck in Budnik brochures advertising its Gasser Series wheels.
Fun to drive, nationally famous, and a consistent trophy magnet; yeah, it can't get much better than that!