Phillip Ellison and his wife Barbara putt around in their hometown of Williamston, South Carolina, in this '62 Ford Unibody. Phillip picked up the project from a local friend who started it with high hopes, but lost interest and just let it sit there. The truck was complete, but in the raw bodywork stage, minus the motor and tranny.
Phil decided to take the truck to Don Jack's shop in Greenville, South Carolina, to have the suspension and body reworked. Don grafted on a front clip from a '72 Monte Carlo, which updated the suspension and brakes, and as an added bonus, lowered the truck 8 inches, while still retaining full suspension travel. Out back, the stock rear axle was tossed and new mounts fabbed up to hold in the '84 Corvette rearend; this gave the truck great handling capabilities, thanks to the independent axle.
Once Don had that handled, he started in on the body while Phil scoured the wrecking yards for a driveline. Don shaved all the emblems, skinned the tailgate, then proceeded to block the sucker straight. He filled the factory taillights on the corner of the bed and replaced them in the roll pan with a set from a '74 Caddy. Don also built a cool set of covers for the gas tank that now resides in the bed. Once the Unibody was straight, Don took it in the booth and laid down the PPG Vanilla Shake/Light Aqua two-tone scheme. When the paint cured, Don gave it a color sand and buff job before he sent the truck back to Phil's garage for reassembly.
After a little searching, Phil came back from the junkyard with an '89 Mercury Cougar that had a perfect 5.0L motor, AOD tranny, and tilt steering column. He ripped these components out of the car, then sent the carcass to the scrap yard. After a little clean up, Phil slid the motor under the hood. He had a custom driveshaft made to mate the Ford tranny and Corvette rearend. Next, Phil got to work installing the built-to-spec Ron Francis wiring harness, which had all the correct ends for the fuel-injection Vintage Air unit and all the old plugs. Once all the wires were run, he built a custom gauge cluster stuffed with Stewart Warner Vintage needles to sit behind the tilt column.
The truck was starting to take shape and was in dire need of a new set of rollers. Phil came across a set of 17x8-inch American Torque Thrust II's wrapped in 275/50R17 Nitto tires at a local swap meet that he knew would fit the truck perfectly, so home he went with new rollers in tow. After bolting those on, Phil was getting excited because it was time to fire the beast, and with a turn of the key, a new life was injected into the truck.
The last thing to accomplish on the project was the cabin. Phil drove the truck to Billy Owens, who covered an '89 Chevy truck benchseat with boysenberry vinyl; the tracks were sectioned to lower the seat 2 inches. Armrests from a Mustang were used for the door pulls, which also provided the switches for Ball's power window kit. A Sony head unit was mounted to the headliner in a custom stainless housing to feed the speakers hidden behind the kick panels.
When the truck was finished, Phil and his wife decided to enter it in a few shows. Little did they know that the Effie would end up taking home the Truck of the Year trophy from the F-100 Super Nats, a TV spot on My Classic Car, and a Top 5 award at every show they have attended so far. Phil is a truck driver by trade, which might come in handy if he ever needs to move the trophy room.