In 1974, when Jack Andersen was only fourteen years old, he and his dad bought a ’57 Ford F-100 Custom Cab big window shortbed stepside from a farmer in California. After doing some minor work to make it roadworthy, Jack drove it all through high school and college. He sold the truck in ‘84 for $1,500. As the years went by, Jack had second thoughts about selling his truck and he tried to locate his original ’57 pickup. Unfortunately, the guy he sold it to had shipped it to Hawaii and Jack’s custom fire was extinguished.

Fast forward to 2003, Jack’s brother Casey informed him he had located a ’57 Ford F100 stepside with only 56,000 original miles. The truck was a driver and was in the hands of the original owner’s daughter. Jack purchased it for $1,500, but he had his heart set on a big window, so he purchased a donor ’57 big window for $100 and the project was underway.

Jack and Casey began the five-year project at Casey’s shop in Burley, Idaho. After removing the cab, fenders, hood, and bed from the frame, the engine was then extracted from the engine mounts and the front and rear suspension components were removed. The bare frame was then media blasted before the framerails were boxed and new crossmembers welded in place. The crew at Woodruff Auto in Pleasant Valley, Utah, installed the Fatman Mustang II IFS crossmember, control arms, spindles, and QA1 coilover shocks up front. A pair of Triple-A leaf springs were de-arched with QA1 coilover shocks to achieve the lowered height and quality ride out back. After all of the frame modifications were performed, the updated frame was trailered to Sharp Powdercoating in Brigham City, Utah. While there, it was grounded and electrostatic sprayed with Viper Red powder, then baked, cured, and clear coated. All of the electrical wires were pulled through the framerails, while the fuel and brake lines were attached to the inner framerails with billet aluminum clamps. Front and rear Wilwood brake calipers squeeze the 13-inch rotors to halt the red machine. Jack selected Boyd Coddington Junkyard Dog polished aluminum wheels sized 18x10 inches up front and 20x12 inches in the rear. The front billet hoops are consumed in 285/35R18 Nitto Extreme drag radials and the rear is fitted with 305/35ZR20 rear tires.

Under the hood, a potent 2000 SVT Ford Cobra 4.6L DOHC V-8 is coiled and ready to strike with snake speed. A pair of BBK 1½-inch long tube ceramic coated aluminum headers collect into a 2½-inch exhaust system with MagnaFlow mufflers. A polished aluminum Tremec five-speed transmission is backed up to the Cobra powerplant. Berry’s Machine Shop in Heybum, Idaho, machined a new 3-inch aluminum driveshaft to link the power to the narrowed Ford 9-inch rearend stuffed with Moser 31-spline axles, a Trac-lock posi-unit, and 3.50 gears.

The small rear window was removed from the original cab and the big back window from the donor cab was extracted. Jack and Casey carefully grafted the big rear window into the original cab. A pair of ‘89 Chevy door handles were fused into the door skins. Under the hood, a new pair of front inner fenders, radiator core support, and smoothed firewall were installed. The bedrail stake holes were filled and the bedrail ends capped. The unique bed floor was made from 6-inch aluminum tongue and groove planks. After painting them Viper Red, the top edges were sanded to expose the aluminum, then they were clearcoated. A steel roll pan was installed under the lowered tailgate. LED taillights were installed inside a pair of ’69 El Camino backup housings. The custom front roll pan created a smooth lower leading edge. Halogen headlights and LED turn indicators were used to lead and direct Jack’s ’57 down the road. The original grille was sent to Salt Lake Chrome in Salt Lake City, where it was stripped, recoppered and chrome-plated. The smoothed tailgate was given some texture with four vertical rows of louvers. After all of the numerous body mods were performed, the ’57 was trailered over to Crawford Auto Body in Burley, Idaho. There it was straightened, primered, block-sanded, and smoothed by Ferrel King who also sprayed the PPG Viper Red basecoat and multiple coats of clear. Eddy Lang was responsible for the CAD 3D matrix-style coiled Cobra on the tailgate. Tracy King cut, buffed, and polished the PPG Viper Red to a new dimension of glistening brilliance.

When Jack cruises around in his ’57, you can sure bet he’s listening to some rockin’ tunes. Josh at Top Tints in Bountiful, Utah, created the good vibrations. A JVC head unit with DVD is powered by a Memphis Audio amp. Jack is surrounded by a pair of 6x9s in the door panels and two behind the seat. The solid bass comes from a 10-inch Memphis subwoofer powered by a Memphis amp mounted in the snakeskin-covered sub box under the seat.

Opening the doors exposes the blended snakeskin stitchwork of Mike Bessey and his son Jason at D&M Upholstery, also located in Bountiful, Utah. The original dash speaker hole and glovebox were eliminated then reshaped. The dash was given a padded dash cap and covered with tan leather with a snakeskin insert. A billet aluminum gauge cluster houses the Auto Meter white face gauges. A Glide split-bench seat was covered with snakeskin and a creative piping design was scribed into the seat. The cab floor was covered with a layer of HushMat sound deadening material before the square tan carpet was laid down. An ’81 Corvette telescoping/tilt steering column was capped with an ’81 Corvette snakeskin and leather-covered steering wheel. The very cool custom Cobra shifter was designed and fabricated by Glen Dilworth at Jet Dynamics. The truck’s motions are controlled by a Kugel Komponents aluminum clutch, brake, and accelerator pedal assembly. A Hot Rod Air A/C control panel and vents were installed in the dash to keep everyone comfortable.

This was the final upholstery project Mike Bessey completed before losing his battle to cancer. Ironically, the first truck that Mike upholstered years ago was a ’59 Ford, the same vintage as Jack’s ‘57. Mike Bessey was a legend in the Salt Lake area.

Jack would like to thank all of those involved in helping him complete his high school dream. He would also like to thank his brother Casey for his knowledge, many talents, and dedication to see the project through. Every time Jack opens the door of the cab and climbs inside he thinks about his close friend Mike Bessey.

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