Jim Smart
October 26, 2006
Photos By: Mark Houlahan

John says the shop-truck idea went right out the window when Ford expressed an interest in having it on display at SEMA. "We decided to make it a unique show truck with all '03 Cobra running gear, including the six-speed transmission and independent rear suspension." John credits Graeme Bartils of North Georgia Fabrications in Dahlonega for the exceptional craftsmanship. He says it was a great challenge to make everything work. The frame was boxed for strength and constructed to accept the huge 5.0L DOHC engine and driveline. Not only does it look sharp-it performs. This is where dreams teamed up with execution and results.

That's Ford '06 Tungsten Gray, paint code T8, if you're thinking about using it yourself. Randy Powell of Powell's Auto Body in Dahlonega, Georgia, performed all of the bodywork and paint, which includes Dennis Carpenter reproduction sheetmetal produced with the original factory tooling. Note there's no fiberglass or off-shore tin in this F-100. It consists of real steel for real people who like their Ford iron original. One exception is the GE Lexan bed floor designed that way so you can see John's handiwork. He wants everyone to see the Mustang Cobra independent suspension and custom exhaust work underneath.

Underneath is indeed the Mustang Cobra's rear suspension and brake system. In front, John opted for another Mustang generation's underpinnings and brakes. That's a Heidt's Mustang II front suspension sporting huge 13-inch Cobra spec binders. In back are smaller SVT Cobra 11.6-inch discs. As you might expect, John has the Mustang II's rack-and-pinion system for precision steering and responsive handling. It sure beats the pants off of any worm and sector, king-pin-clad F-100 we've ever seen.

Tim's Upholstery in Gainesville, Georgia, did all of the custom work inside, including Porsche Lip Stick Red leather wrapped around custom fabricated seats. We like the SN-95 Cobra instrument panel dovetailed into the steel F-100 dashboard and fitted with Auto Meter instrumentation. It's a nice retro-tech modification that looks like it was born there. A Sony sound system based in the custom headliner complements everything John has done to the interior.

The sole objective with a restomod like this is blending modern, high-tech amenities into the classic lines of a fat-fendered F-100 truck. Here, you have all the creature comforts of a 21st century vehicle coupled with awesome styling that will be with us for a lifetime-exactly what John intended.