James & Gina Scott * Destrehan, Louisiana
'99 Ford Lightning
The hardest and possibly the most basic part of building a show-winning custom truck might be coming up with the theme. Since almost everything has already been done by someone, somewhere, if you don't begin with an innovative plan, you wind up with a tired rehash of old ideas. Show judges reward originality with three-tier, eight-foot trophies, so starting with an accurate blueprint may be more important than your skill with a CNC machine. The other vital element is experience since the more you do something, the better you get at it.

James and Gina Scott's "Lincoln Lightning" is a good example of both. From Destrehan, Louisiana, James is an active enthusiast and has been showing custom vehicles since 1975. He and his wife, Gina, own Crescent Vans, a company that specializes in handicap van conversions. Over the years, each of their customs was better than the last, until they finally arrived at their ultimate show truck, thanks in part to its unusual theme.

Their Ford Lightning was purchased new in 1999. Ford's specialty pickup, with its supercharged V-8 was great fun on the street and strip for several years, but James wanted to create something genuinely distinctive. He took the truck off the road, and over the last four years a team of talented professionals has been working on the truck, taking it through several stages until they finally reached the "Lincoln Lightning" you see here.

Prestige Customs in Metairie, Lousiana, began the process by adding its own brand of prestige to the Ford, installing a Lincoln Navigator frontend and the unique full width Lincoln MK VIII taillights in the custom rear pan. Door handles were shaved, the bed rails molded in, and a Gaylord tonneau cover was installed, equipped with linear actuators. It blends nicely with the smoothed tailgate, now fitted with side-opening hinges. Custom side mirrors and molded-in ground effects completed the transformation. Once the new Lincoln-oriented exterior was complete, Prestige turned its attention inside, creating the upper and lower center consoles, fiberglass dash with its collection of Auto Meter instruments, and the stereo-oriented door panels, tying everything together with eye-catching, billet aluminum lightning bolts. The pickup bed is also a work of art, showcasing the elaborate stereo in the brightly painted compartment, this time with neon green lightning bolts as the unifying element. Under the hood, a fiberglass shroud dresses up the supercharged V-8 and mirrored panels underneath give spectators a second look at the detailed motor.

New front and rear suspension from KP Components, along with Slam Specialties bags and four Viair compressors, allow the truck to rest comfortably on the asphalt. Everything underneath was either chromed, painted, or powdercoated. Finally, the truck received an elaborate audiovisual system with a JVC head unit, Kicker amplifiers and speakers, along with multiple monitors in the cab and the bed. The complex paint job is the work of New Orleans' Kal Smith, who accomplished all the finish bodywork before blending ten shades from his multicolored palette to create the one-of-a-kind graphics.

Was the theme successful? We photographed the Lightning Lincoln at Scrapin' the Coast in Biloxi, Mississippi. Attended by more than 12,000 people and with 2,000 registered vehicles, the event attracted some of the top rides in the South. James and Gina took home the Best of Show!