Danny Browning * Justice, West Virginia
'63 International Scout
Danny Browning of Justice, West Virginia, enjoys vehicles both as a hobby and a profession. He does insurance repair for a living, works on his own custom vehicles in his well-equipped shop, and also does some custom work for friends. He's owned a string of radical rides in the past, but nothing quite like this one. When a buyer came along with a healthy checkbook and bought his last creation, Danny began looking for a new project, but not just any vehicle would do. He's always had a warm spot in his heart for the old International Harvester Scout but had never seen one customized. Amazingly, a friend found a '63 Scout in such good shape that Danny drove it until the state inspection sticker expired, all the while deciding how he would mold its new personality.
Danny took the truck off the road and began implementing ideas he'd had for awhile, specifically trying to create something of a '32 Ford roadster look. A low profile was an important part of the plan so, with the body removed, he modified the frame to accommodate a new air suspension. "I wanted the wheels tucked deep into the fenders," Danny told us. Scott's Hot Rods and Customs in Oxnard, California, tailored a crossmember to fit and Danny welded it to the frame, giving him modern rack-and-pinion steering and front disk brakes. The rear framerails were notched to clear the narrowed 8.8-inch Ford Crown Vic rear axle, complete with disc brakes and Positraction. ShockWave air springs control each corner, and Danny squeezed the Air Ride Technologies compressor and the 5-gallon reserve tank behind the bench seat. The most dramatic change was the 3-inch top chop and dropping the body a staggering 10 inches over the frame!
Powering the new chassis is a 5.0L High Output V-8 from a Monte Carlo, set back and located down low for improved handling. A hot rodder's dream sheet of performance upgrades make it fly, and Danny says the package works so well that driving the truck is a dream. "It accelerates and corners like a race car!"
Customizing the body was next, and Danny used the opportunity to showcase his metalworking skills. He's always liked Corvette taillights and when he found a set at a swap meet, he began the upgrade by making his own buckets then handcrafting sheetmetal to imitate the Corvette rear, complete with a Vette-style license plate and C5 quad exhaust. The small trunk holds a little luggage as well as the 15-gallon fuel cell.
The aluminum tonneau cover uses a van wheelchair lift motor and can be activated remotely. Conduit and race car aluminum were the basis for the removable top, padded on the outside to match the tonneau and painted inside to match the body. Both the removable hardtop and the large '32 Ford headlights reinforce the vintage roadster look that were part of Danny's original goal.
The usually Spartan Scout interior takes on an air of luxury thanks to the leather seats with alligator inserts and Grant steering wheel, finished in Philippine mahogany. The dash and trim pieces were also created from Philippine mahogany, shaped and polished to a high gloss by Danny's friend, Gary Riffe. In addition to the Dakota Digital gauges, Danny installed a 7-inch monitor in the dash along with a Jensen DVD player. Twin Sony component sets reside in custom-made door enclosures and there's a 12-inch Sony Xplod sub and a 250-watt amplifier behind the seat back.
All that was left was paint, and friend Scott Wheatly accomplished the task using Martin Senour's custom-mixed, color-changing Jade Green, accented with microflake and subtle flames. Eagle Alloy 16s up front, 18s in the rear, and Falken rubber all around get this modified roadster on the road with just the right stance.