“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.” You’re right, Dorothy, and that’s a good thing. Don’t misunderstand…we’re not hating on Kansas. We’re celebrating the relocation of a hunk of American steel to Alpharetta, Georgia and the glorious garage known as Forsyth County Customs. Owner George Smith had a vision in mind for a custom truck, and armed with access to the Internet, his search began for a suitable subject. “The 1955 Ford F100 was always a truck I liked,” George explained, “so when I spotted this one in an online auction, I focused my efforts on landing a deal with the owner.” After several bits of communication back and forth, George coaxed the owner into closing the sale outside of the auction. Sign here, sign there, arrange the shipping and boom! The F100 found its way to Alpharetta.
The original intent for the project was to find a truck that would be built as more of a rat rod, with various bits of bad-assery available from in-house projects. It would be used as a daily driver for George, to help as an around-town advertisement of the shop’s capabilities. Well, plans change, as reality often does, and things took a turn in a much different direction. As the crew dug into the F100, they found issues, and then…they found more. That’s the gamble when buying online: you hope for the best, but sometimes get less. As George explained, “The more we dug into it, the more problems we found. Nearly every panel on the truck needed attention.” So, the vision changed from rat rod full-on restoration. With the shop still somewhat in its early stages, staff was limited, and the length of the project was going to have to be extended. You can’t rush excellence.
Onto the trickery. When the F100 was acquired, another project was in the works. George being a Mopar guy, decided to dive into a 1970 Dodge Challenger build…one that will truly be an amazing piece of machinery when complete. With a vision of what the power plant would be for that special project, a plan was devised to take the existing 360 Chrysler out of the Challenger and transplant it into the Ford, but not before stroking the small block to 408 cubic inches. This unique union of Detroit rivals gave rise to the project’s name: FOPAR. It’s fits nicely, all while raising eyebrows. Hand-ported heads, a rowdy cam, a Quick Fuel 750 carb, and tweaking here and there brings the output up to approximately 500 horsepower. An Auto Rad radiator keeps works cool. Once power was worked out, the team went to work on the suspension, massaging the ride height to a point that fit the overall vision. Currently riding on coil-overs, there is a plan in the works to switch over to a bagged setup from AccuAir.
Finished in satin black and riding on B-Forged wheels, the FOPAR is the perfect balance of sinister appearance and mechanical refinement. Driver and passenger can stay cool while looking cool, thanks to climate control by Vintage Air. A peek inside the bed of the F100 reveals even more attention to detail, with hand-finished wood and aluminum trim pieces rounding out the exterior treatments.
FOPAR was debuted at Atlanta’s biggest and best car show, Caffeine & Octane, in the Spring of 2016, and it’s been a hit with the crowds ever since. Every now and then, you can catch a Ford guy walking by and doing a double-take, once the Mopar ticker is spotted. Sometimes it’s the unique logo treatment in the grille that catches a savvy gear head’s attention. A slight roll of the eyes usually gives way to a visible nod of approval. Was there a plan to deliver a gentle jab across the automotive aisle when the project was conceived? George answered that question. The short version was, “Hey…I’m a Mopar guy, so…”. We’ll just leave it at that. Deal?