Wendy Wilson April 26, 2023 All Feature Vehicles
This ’66 Ford F-100 has a secret. It’s tucked beneath the hood, and it looks like something very familiar… But before we hit you this clandestine reveal, we’d like to introduce you to the owner of the truck and the crew that put it together.
Years ago, Earl Brignac bought his first truck—a ’66 Ford F-100. Now retired, the Lake Charles, Louisiana, classic truck enthusiast decided to rebuild the ride from his youth, but with more customized bells and whistles. He enlisted the help of James Carlisle and crew of Joker Rod Shop in San Antonio, Texas.
James says they started by chopping the truck in half and rebuilding the frame.
“The front half of the frame is from a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria,” he says. “And it has a custom-built back half to work with the massive 24×15 wheels and 405/25/24 rear tires.”
The Joker crew modified the front suspension to work with air-ride, and they built custom lower control arms. In the back, they started with a custom 4-n-1 axle bracket kit with four-link along with a Watt’s link from Jason Thorbecke at Thorbros. The Ford’s custom bed raises to show off the impressive rear suspension and frame.
“The bed setup started with a raised wood floor with custom paint-matched wheel tubs,” James says. “The center trap door opens up, too, and gives access to the spare tire, air-ride system and shows off the custom suspension work quite well.”
Just inside the tailgate are two more hidden doors for storage of detailing supplies or anything else you want to put in there, too, he adds. Those stash spots aren’t the secret we were talking about earlier—but we’re getting there.
Making this ’66 move is a stock, fully rebuilt transmission from the donor 2000 Crown Vic. It has an aluminum 3.5-inch driveshaft. The rear drive axle is a Ford 8.8 from the 2000 Crown Vic. It has a limited slip, 3.55 gear ratio. The front brakes are drilled and slotted; the rear brakes are stock.
Now for the secret we’ve been hiding—the engine sits under the hood under another hood. The 2000 Ford V-8 4.6L engine built by the Joker crew nests beneath a custom-built engine cover built from a factory ’66 F-100 hood. Earl, the truck’s owner, says it’s the most unique feature of the F-100.
“We incorporated the body lines from the hood onto the engine cover so that when you open the hood it looks like the same body lines transferred to the engine cover,” James explains.
To clear the tall, 24-inch wheels up front, the Joker crew re-sculpted the front inner fenders, and they fabricated filler panels to go between the core support and front grille panel. They widened the core support 4 inches to cover the top of the radiator and condenser to give it a more custom look. They also fitted the bottom of the dash with a custom A/C vent and control panel that’s reduced on the ends to follow the contour of the dash.
The exterior got some love as well, James says, including a factory re-chromed grille, a shaved license plate recess on the front bumper, shaved stake pockets and Frenched antennae.
“And both front and rear bumpers were narrowed 3 inches, all bumper bolts were shaved, and the bumpers were tucked down to create a seamless look,” he says.
Caesar Quilantan Collision of San Antonio, Texas, masterfully applied the Black Diamond metallic paint on this sparkling beauty.
And the interior, designed and installed by Mobile Toys Incorporated in College Station, Texas, includes fully custom door panels, kick pads, headliner, seats, sub box and integrated amp rack, and Mercedes-Benz carpet.
Don’t worry, the Joker crew definitely got in some hefty interior mods, too.
“The factory dash was modified for a new double din radio to give it a modern look,” James says. “The truck was custom fitted with one-piece power windows to remove the factory vent windows. Due to the inner door structure design, there are very few ’60-’66 Ford F-100s with one-piece windows in the country.”
Earl says the easiest part of this build was “buying the truck.” Bet you can relate to that! The cost for the truck and the mods came to a cool $85,000. Worth every penny.
He has taken this beauty to lots of shows around Texas, including the Texas Heatwave, Cruising the Coast, the Houston Autorama and the Lone Star Throwdown. If you’re down in the Lone Star state, keep an eye out for Earl and his truck—and don’t forget to look under the hood!
Lake Charles, Louisiana
1966 Ford F-100