Joe Greeves
March 1, 2009

Collecting and restoring classic automobiles has to be one of the most satisfying of hobbies. Sliding new mechanicals underneath an old truck or bringing an old car back to life is fun, but cruising the boulevard in your freshly restored piece of history is the real treat and often becomes a lifelong highlight. Of course, any enthusiast would be proud to have either one of these two beautiful Ford classics pictured here. The iconic lines of the F-100, especially the distinctive '56 version with its wraparound windshield, have been a Blue Oval favorite for decades. The classic Mustang fastback also has its legions of fans and is credited with beginning the ponycar revolution. Owning either one would be an accomplishment, but having customized versions of both in your garage clearly takes it to the next level. But there's more. Making the dream even sweeter, these two vehicles were completed in one of the best ways we know-as a father and son project.

John Lamar, from Statesboro, Georgia, is a general contractor who makes his living building homes. John is fairly new to the custom truck scene, developing enthusiasm for the sport several years ago at events such as the F-100 Super Nationals. With the hundreds of vehicles on display acting as inspiration, John not only caught the bug, but also began collecting enough ideas to finally begin his own project, assisted at the time by his young son, Hunter, age 7. His first foray into the custom truck scene was a '55 F-100 that he completely restored. Armed with experience and know-how, he began the process again, this time with the model he wanted in the first place, that distinctive '56 F-100. Together, he and Hunter began bringing the classic up to show standards.

The original chassis was scrapped. John, Hunter, and friend Keith Beaucher began with a new TCI chassis, equipped with a Currie 9-inch rear with 3.50 gears and held in place with a polished, stainless steel four-link and Panhard bar. The front end uses Mustang II geometry with chromed tubular A-arms, and all four wheels benefit from 13-inch drilled and slotted Wilwood disc brakes and Carrera coilovers. A 21-gallon aluminum fuel cell from No Limit nestles between the rear framerails, ensuring plenty of fuel for those boulevard cruises. American Racing Torque Thrust II rims, 17x8s in the front and 20x10s in the rear along with Goodyear Eagle rubber, (P235/55R17 and P275/55R20) got the chassis rolling. Once all the pieces were in place, the frame was painted in John's favorite shade, House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl.

Power was next, and John chose Dingler Racing in Atlanta, famous for its Winston Cup engines. They bored out a '78 Ford 460 block, creating an awesome 528, and fitted it with Dove iron heads. John added a Holley 1,080-cfm carb on an Edelbrock Torker II intake, a March pulley system, and a Mallory electronic ignition. Sanderson ceramic-coated headers flow into Magnaflow mufflers and exit through side exhausts cut into the running boards. The 620hp motor uses a custom-built C6 automatic, upgraded by Woody's Transmissions in Statesboro, Georgia. Making the truck easy to handle is the Be Cool power steering pump, while the oversized Be Cool radiator with electric fan keeps the temps in the green.

The original cab and hood were retained, with new smoothed running boards and quad exhausts, 3-inch wider rear fenders, a front tilt hood, new Vintage glass, and a unique third brake light cut into the cab that uses the Ford script. Of course, one of the most eye-catching elements on the truck is the new short bed, purchased from Early Ford and outfitted with linear actuators that tilt the bed upward. The elevated angle and distinctive Lexan floor make it easier to see the detailed Tangelo Pearl chassis below. John and Keith Beaucher sprayed the House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl themselves, along with the realistic flames under the cab, in the inner fender panels, the center console, and accenting the side exhaust.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery
Body modifications include 3-inch wider rear fenders, frenched antenna on the passenger side, the lighted Ford logo third brake light built into the cab, tilt bed with a ¼-inch Lexan floor, and quad exhaust coming through the custom running boards.

The Details
John Lamar's '56 Ford F-100

Engine
528ci V-8
Dove iron heads
Holley 1,080-cfm carb
Edelbrock Torker II intake
March pulley system
Mallory electronic ignition
625 hp
630 lb-ft of torque

Transmission
C6
2,500-rpm stall speed converter

Rearend
Limited slip
3.55 gears

Exhaust
Sanderson ceramic-coated headers
MagnaFlow mufflers
Side exhausts cut into the running boards

Suspension
Front: TCI stainless A-arms, chrome coilovers
Rear: TCI stainless four-link, chrome coilovers

Brakes
Front: Wilwood 13-inch disc, drilled and slotted
Rear: Wilwood 13-inch disc, drilled and slotted

Wheels
Front: American Racing Chrome Torque Thrust II, 17x8
Rear: American Racing Chrome Torque Thrust II, 20x10

Tires
Front: Goodyear Eagle GT, P235/55R17
Rear: Goodyear Eagle GT, P275/55R20

Interior
Dodge Stratus seats, custom fiberglass center console accented with orange flames, ididit chrome column, Lokar shifter, one-piece side glass, Rod Doors upholstered in charcoal leather with Ford Racing embroidery.

Exterior
Tangelo Pearl paint with PPG Viper Silver center and side stripes, tilt bed with Lexan floor showcasing the powdercoated TCI chassis, front tilt hood with flaming Ford mural underneath, frenched antenna, side exhausts exiting through the running boards

The custom interior uses seats from a '00 Dodge Stratus, separated by a custom fiberglass center console of John's own design. The Colorado Custom wheel keeps him in close touch, while the Ford logo gauges in the No Limit panel keep track of underhood activity. With the motor switched off, music of another sort flows from the stereo, controlled by the Sony head unit and powered by the Alpine amp behind the center console. Polk Audio 6.5-inch component sets in the kick panels and 6x9s behind the seats fill the cab with sound.

Once the Effie was complete, there was another task at hand-building a car for Hunter, who was 14 and already an avid enthusiast. Hunter was eagerly anticipating his 16th birthday and his driver's license. After a lengthy search, the pair found a running '65 Mustang fastback in need of lots of TLC. The car had serious sheetmetal problems, and although the 289 V-8 had been worked on, there was evidence of some internal problems. While the engine was being overhauled at Hendrix Machine shop, the pair began to strip away the unsalvageable parts and order new replacements. Reasoning that it was better to start fresh than try to straighten old sheetmetal, they ordered new front fenders, a hood, and a deck lid. A Shelby valance perked up the front end, and they painted the rear bumper to match the body. A fiberglass scoop was molded to the steel hood and both sidescoops were molded to the body, continuing the smooth lines. To fill the wheelwells, they chose 17-inch rims from American Racing-Shelby 50th Anniversary Torque Thrusts-which measured 17 by 8 up front with P235/45R17 tires and 17 by 9 with P245/45R17s in the rear.

Lots of changes occurred underneath, transforming the "Over Forty" car and making it ready for the new millennium. Tubular upper and lower control arms from TCI did away with the original setup. The installation of a chrome export brace and a {{{Monte Carlo}}} bar tightened up the front end. TCI power rack-and-pinion steering and Wilwood disc brakes eliminated any problems with the car's handling.

After lots of father/son discussions, the pair agreed that Viper Red paint with Viper Silver stripes was the perfect choice. After John and Hunter did the prep, Keith Beaucher handled the spray gun chores once again, laying down multiple coats of clear for that foot-deep shine. Inside, Hunter upgraded the stock seats with six-way power versions from a late-model Mustang, coupled with G-Force Racing four-point harnesses. A new steering column from ididit was paired with an original wood-rimmed Mustang wheel while new-old-stock dash and door panels rejuvenated the originals. The large Auto Meter gauge in the center combines the speedometer with the tachometer. Four more individual gauges monitor the rest of the engine data.

You can't have a cool car without a hot stereo, so Hunter chose to eliminate the back seat in favor of an elaborate sound system. A pair of Diamond Audio 10-inch subs was installed in a custom sub enclosure, along with the Diamond 600 amp powering the subs and a Diamond 500 for the front stage. Diamond 61/2-inch component sets were located in the kick panels and rear package tray. Everything is controlled by the Kenwood head unit.

The final step was the engine. They began by detailing the engine compartment, painting the inner fenders and firewall matte black. The freshly overhauled 289 engine, bored 0.30 over, now runs a turned and polished crank, stock compression pistons, Mahle bearings, a Melling oil pump, and a Demos cam. An Edelbrock Performer manifold and Holley 670-cfm Street Avenger carburetor ensures free breathing, while Sanderson ceramic-coated headers feed a 21/2-inch stainless steel exhaust with MagnaFlow mufflers. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through the C4 automatic transmission equipped with a Younger shift kit and built by Woody's Transmission in Statesboro, Georgia. John estimates the motor produces somewhere close to 400 hp. Not only fast, but also good-looking, the V-8 features polished Ford Racing valve covers, a Ford Racing low-profile air cleaner, one wire chrome alternator, and a set of March pulleys, all designed to add a little sparkle under the hood. Electrical power for the car and stereo is supplied by a pair of Optima Red Top batteries. There's no air conditioning yet, but Hunter says the windows do roll down.

Hunter was actively involved in the restoration and is patiently waiting for his 16th birthday so that he can begin driving the car. (His birthday was a month away when we shot these photos.) The restoration process took about two years, and it was a great father-son experience. Future plans for the Mustang include a set of Summit Racing seats, chosen for their low seating position since young Hunter, in the sport since he was 7, is now 6 feet, 1 inch tall.

The Details
Hunter Lamar's '65 Ford Mustang 2+2

Engine
289ci V-8
Bored 0.030 inch
Edelbrock Performer intake
Holley 670-cfm Street Avenger carb
400 hp

Transmission
C4 three-speed automatic

Rearend
3.55 gears

Exhaust
Sanderson ceramic-coated headers
2½-inch stainless steel dual exhaust
MagnaFlow mufflers

Suspension
Front: TCI tubular upper and lower A-arms, TCI shocks, export brace, {{{Monte Carlo}}} bar
Rear: TCI four-Link, TCI shocks

Brakes
Front: Wilwood 12-inch disc, drilled and slotted
Rear: Wilwood 12-inch disc, drilled and slotted

Wheels
Front: American Racing Shelby Torque Thrust II, 17x8
Rear: American Racing Shelby Torque Thrust II, 17x9

Tires
Front: Fierce HP, P235/45ZR17
Rear: Fierce HP, P245/45ZR17

Interior
Power front buckets from a late-model Mustang, G-Force Racing four-point harnesses, N.O.S. door panels, N.O.S. dash, Auto Meter gauges, ididit column, wood-rimmed Mustang wheel, rear seat eliminated and replaced by stereo system

Exterior
Molded hoodscoop, molded sidescoops, Shelby valance panel, painted rear bumper, PPG Viper Red, PPG Viper Silver stripes