Joe Greeves
December 22, 2010

If you get a little upset with terms like the Throw Away Society and Planned Obsolescence, you'll be pleased to know that this beautiful truck has been in the same family for more than four decades! Ed Davis from LaFollette, Tennessee, remembers the day his father brought home the '66 Ford F-100, especially because it was the vehicle he learned to drive in. His father passed away 20 years ago, but Ed has been actively engaged in a series of conservative upgrades designed to keep the truck current. The vintage Ford has seen multiple paintjobs-turquoise, red, and gold-before reaching its current shade of Prowler Orange. This latest hue was part of the most comprehensive makeover yet, taking a full 2 1/2 years to complete.

One of the first changes people notice is the distinctive angled top chop. Mike Bowling did the work, keeping the original roof intact by angling the A-pillars rearward and reshaping the rear cab wall. He removed 4 3/4 inches from the front and 3 1/2 inches from the rear, giving the roof a slight rake. While he was at it, he rounded the door corners, eliminated the vent panes, and filled the seams around the truck for a one-piece look. All chrome and emblems were removed, the stake pockets in the bed were filled, and the bed floor was fitted with custom sheetmetal, now 4 inches higher than stock. The additional space was the perfect way to conceal the RideTech air suspension compressor and four 3.5-gallon reserve tanks. ShockWaves on each corner give the driver ultimate control over the truck's altitude.

Chassis upgrades began with reinforced and C-notched rear framerails that hold a modern four-link from Competition Engineering. The 3-inch-drop DJM I-beams up front bring the front down to match the rear. The extra chassis reinforcement was an important factor since the new engine has considerably more horsepower than the original Ford designers ever imagined.

The Roush Performance all-aluminum engine started with a Shelby 428 block, but is now punched out to 451 ci, and produces 500 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque using an aftermarket Christmas list of performance add ons. The bulletproof internals are a combination of a Scat nodular-iron crank, H-beam rods, and Wiseco forged aluminum pistons, creating a 10:1 compression ratio.

Up top, a K&N Shotgun intake sits on an 870 Holley Street Avenger carb, with an Edelbrock Performer dual-plane intake ducting the air/fuel mix to the ported and polished Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads. A Roush hydraulic roller cam orchestrates the valves while an MSD ignition lights the fire. Scavenging is accelerated by Hooker Headers and 3-inch pipes that dump into a pair of Flowmaster mufflers, creating a very impressive performance sound. Power from the big-inch motor is multiplied by the B&M-equipped C6 transmission, built by Williams Transmissions in Knoxville, Tennessee, and spins a cruise-friendly 3.25 rear gear.

Ed dropped down a size from the 18-inch-wide Pro Street rear tires used in the previous configuration, favoring something a little more forgiving in the rain. Since he drives the truck on a regular basis, the new 15-inch-wide Mickey Thompson street rubber and 20-inch Billet Specialties rims (18-inch diameter rims up front) give him improved all-weather handling and traction.

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Thanks to the talented team at Pro Auto in Knoxville, the elegant interior upgrade adds even more class to the family Ford. Steve Holcomb and Tim Amanas did the redesign, covering the Cerullo seats and custom door panels in rich bone leather. The new console commands center stage, holding the B&M Megashifter and emergency brake, along with the air suspension controls and the uniquely machined door handles. Although the dash is original, it benefits from reworked gauges and an oversized tachometer that monitors the big 451. A Vintage Air unit cools the truck during hot Tennessee summers and heats it during the winter. For a little extra entertainment (as if 500 hp wasn't enough!), the truck features a 450-watt Pioneer stereo with speakers located in the kick panels and behind the seats. Ed is very proud to note that he drives his truck far, and drives it often. "If it gets dirty, you just have to clean it," says Ed.

Mike Bowlin added the perfect finishing touch, spraying the carefully massaged sheetmetal with that eye-catching Prowler Orange. The favorite family Ford, sporting its latest look, was one of the stars of the show at this year's F-100 Super Nationals, the location where we shot this feature. It's still in the family and looks better than ever.

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The Details
Ed Davis' '66 Ford F-100

Engine

  • Roush 451ci 500 hp/575 lb-ft of torque
  • 4.250-inch bore
  • 3.980-inch stroke
  • Scat nodular iron crankshaft
  • Scat 4340 forged H-beam connecting rods
  • Wiseco forged aluminum pistons
  • Holley 870-cfm vacuum-secondary carburetor
  • Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads
  • Harland Sharp Shaft-style roller rockers
  • Edelbrock Performer RPM dual-plane intake manifold
  • Roush proprietary hydraulic roller camshaft and lifters
  • MSD ignition

Transmission

  • Williams Transmissions C6 three-speed automatic and converter
  • B&M shift kit

Rearend

  • Ford 9-inch
  • 3.25 gears
  • 28-spline axles

Exhaust

  • Hooker Super Competition headers, 1 3/4-inch primaries
  • Dual Flowmaster mufflers exiting in front of the rear tires

Suspension

  • Front: DJM 3-inch dropped I-beams, Shockwave air shocks
  • Rear: C-notch with Panhard bar, Competition Engineering four-link, Shockwave air shocks Air Ride Technologies with Ride Pro compressor and four reserve tanks

Brakes

  • Front: '79 Ford F-Series discs
  • Rear: Wilwood Engineering 12-inch discs, four-piston calipers

Wheels

  • Front: Billet Specialties Fuelie, 18x7
  • Rear: Billet Specialties Fuelie, 20x12

Tires

  • Front: Mickey Thompson Sportsman SR, 26x8.00-R18
  • Rear: Mickey Thompson Sportsman SR, 29x15.00-R20

Interior

  • Cerullo seats, door panels, custom center console, and dash covered in bone leather, LeCarra steering wheel, B&M MegaShifter, Pioneer stereo

Exterior

  • Chopped top, door corners rounded, seams filled, visions side mirrors, T-bar headlights, custom bed raised 4 inches, Prowler Orange paint