Early model '40 Ford pickups have been popular among truck enthusiast for decades, whether restored to original glory or built into a mild custom, they have always carried the Ford Blue Oval proudly. Today we enjoy so many wild custom early model trucks at shows we start taking them for granted. While attending the Labor Day Show and Shine at the Orange County Fairgrounds, my eyes came across Randy Palmer's '40 Ford Downs-bodied pickup.

The hood was up exposing the Chevy 355ci small-block Chevy with NASCAR 18-degree, ported and polished aluminum cylinder heads. The engine was built to NASCAR specs by engine builder Tom Usher from Broadway, North Carolina. The 671 BDS blower doghouse is capped with a Shotgun scoop that allows the engine to be run at 6-10 pounds of boost at 10 percent under driven. The stainless steel custom headers and 3-inch diameter exhaust received Jet Hot coating and are muffled by a pair ofFlowmasters. The mighty Bow Tie produces 825 hp and 700 lb-ft of neck-snapping torque. An aluminum bell housing was machined by Weird Hot Rod Products to house the aluminum M.G.M. lightened flywheel. The Tremec manual six-speed transmission and clutch assembly were assembled by Ram Performance. A narrowed Ford 9-inch rearend was stuffed with 4.88.1 Richmond gears and a Richmond posi-unit. With this much power on hand, it's no wonder why Randy's '40 looks fast sitting still.

A custom tubular frame with TCI crossmembers are the foundation for this one-of-a -kind muscle machine. A 12-gallon fuel tank was mounted under the bed between the rear framerails. Bruce Suggs at Scott's installed the front suspension that is aroused vertically by a pair of Air Ride Strong Arm upper and lower control arms with Shockwave pneumatic bags and 2-inch dropped spindles. The stopping power comes from four Wilwood disc brakes with 14-inch diameter cross-drilled rotors and four-piston calipers. The ol' Ford rolls on a pair of Billet Accessories Direct (B.A.D.) Mauler 18x8-inch polished billet aluminum wheels cocooned inside 215/35R18 Yokohama rubber up front. Out back there is a pair of 20x11 B.A.D. Mauler wheels encased in 285x30R20 Yokohama tires. The Ford 9-inch rearend is located by a TCI four-link system and suspended by a pair of Air Ride Technologies 'bags.

With the paint scheme Randy had in mind, he knew the body would need to be perfect. The Downs '40 Ford fiberglass body came with a 3-inch chopped roof, suicide doors, fenders, and hood. A Pro's Pick steel bed was fitted with Downs fiberglass rear teardrop fenders with '40 Ford taillights and blue dots. The steel tonneau cover is activated with a remote. A pair of '99 Mercedes clear projection headlights illuminate the roadway ahead. The crew at Suggs Rod Shop in Fayetteville, North Carolina, spent many man hours sanding and prepping the entire body to a flawless smooth surface. It was then coated with multi coats of PPG 9300 Concept Black. The incredible true flames were laid out and sprayed by the legendary Jim Norris, from Sheraw, North Carolina. After Randy purchased the truck and had it transported out to California, he had the clearcoat removed, then resprayed by Vinnie at J.V. Enterprises in Azusa, California.

Opening the suicide doors exposes the stitch craft of both Danny Romo from Irwindale, California, and Jerry Hobgood from Springville, North Carolina. The lavish lipstick Corvette red leather interior includes seats, door panels, dash, headliner, kick panels, and floor. The hidden Dakota Digital electric blue gauges appear when the ignition is turned on. Vintage Air is responsible for keeping the interior's climate comfortable. An ididit steering column is capped with a B.A.D. steering wheel that matches the rolling wheels. A custom-built roof console houses the Kenwood surround sound head unit that sends signals to a Kenwood 1800 amplifier under the passenger seat. A 12-inch subwoofer is neatly located behind the passenger seat providing a back massage for any lucky occupant.

This truck is the reason why we do what we do. The concept, engineering, and final execution are unbelievable. Whether revving the engine for a crowd or cruising down the boulevard, Randy has himself one amazing machine.

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