1961 Ford F100 - Gone With The Windsor
When most people hear the word Illinois, they quickly think of Chicago, and suddenly their heads fill with thoughts of blues, L-trains, and footlong kielbasas. In a state with such one-word associations, it is difficult to make an impact on anyone outside your own area code, unless your name is Ditka or Jordan. So how does an Illinois native outside the city limits of Chicago go about making a statement to the nation that does not include sausages, Da Bears, or the blues? For Jim Crowder, the solution was simple: a custom classic truck.
Four hours and nearly 300 miles southwest of Chicago in the town of Kane, Illinois, Jim set out to show the nation that a hot rod enthusiast from the Land of Lincoln can make a splash in the custom world. Jim's plan of attack was to create a one-of-a-kind pickup truck that made its own impact on all who encountered it, but first he had to decide what to work with. Jim's previous creations shared a common theme: they were all '53-56 Ford pickups and panels. So for this project, he decided to break into the next generation of Fords and paint his masterpiece on the canvas of a '61 Ford F-100.
Jim wanted to maintain the classic '61 Ford look, but style it with its own unique flair. First, he needed a steady foundation on which to base his truck. With options that seemed limitless, it was a matter of deciding which route to take. On the one hand, he could stick with the time-tested standard Ford frame, or fabricate a custom undercarriage. Since the original frame was a proven foundation and in good condition, Jim decided to anchor his Ford on the original chassis, but add a few modifications. First, he elected to ditch the stock straight-axle and upgrade to independent suspension. He chose to go with a Volare front clip. Besides the added driving comfort of modern-day vehicles, the Volare clip also allowed him to bring the truck two inches closer to the pavement. Out back, he used the 9-inch rearend with a 3.53 gear ratio. To transform his chassis into the attention-grabber it aspired to become, he slapped on a set of 17-inch Boyd Stingray shoes and wrapped them in Sumitomo rubber.With the project well underway, Jim's next decision was what to stick under the hood. Jim opted for a '80 351 Windsor that he handed off to Gene Copeland to bring to life. Gene threw in an Edelbrock carburetor and intake manifold and a set of Hedman headers for maximum breathing. He also added a Lunati Voodoo camshaft and a Jackson geardrive. Even though the Windsor is an impressive motor on its own, it still lacked that one unique defining feature Jim was looking for. To create this, he took it into his own hands and fabricated a custom air cleaner to transform his Windsor into a one-of-a-kind. Backing the Windsor is a Ford C-6 tranny.
After introducing the Windsor to the modified frame, it was time to bring the Ford's exterior up to par. First, he made some modifications to the body itself. He shaved the handles and added a bed cover. He also reworked the tailgate and roll pan. Next, it was time to spray the Ford with a color that could do it justice. Jim needed a paint scheme that would transform his Ford from a hopeless contender to the main-event feature. He chose to shoot the truck himself with his weapon of choice, PPG Sunset Orange and Silver. He also mixed up some custom paint to lay down the mild yet striking flames.
On the inside, Jim went with the same mentality of custom meets Ford. He built a custom armrest and kick panels and installed new door panels. He also threw in a Lecarra steering wheel and a custom instrument panel with VDO gauges. He stuck with the stock bench seat to help maintain the truck's original flavor, but it too was recovered in black Naugahyde.
With his vision complete, it's safe to say Jim has made the statement he was striving for, and he has served as undeniable proof to all of us that there is much more to Illinois than just Chicago.

Photo Gallery: 1961 Ford F100 - Gone With The Windsor

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