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Reviving a Vintage 1963 F-100 with Passion and Perseverance

Pot O’ Gold Kustoms’ 1963 F-100

There’s no better truck story than one that centers around the life-long learning journey of a grounded, self-taught auto fabricator. Shannon Manley of Penton, Colorado, has been teaching himself the ins and outs of keeping his 1969 F-100 on the road since he was a very young teenager. His dad instilled a passion for cars and trucks at an early age, and his neighbors were always working on their hot rods in their driveways. These two influences during his formidable pre-teen years lit the fire underneath Shannon to get his hands on a vintage project of his own by any means possible.  

“My mom and stepdad surprised me with my old ’69 F100 back when I had just turned 13,” Shannon recalls. “It had a stepside bed, was riding at stock height, it had lots of broken parts, a rusted 223 straight-6 under the hood, and a three-on-the-tree that required a screwdriver to start it, but it was my first love. Just having the truck there to tinker with was a huge experience for me. Since I had little to no guidance, I had to figure things out for myself.”

It was during this sink-or-swim learning period when Shannon proved to himself that he was able to troubleshoot and fix a lot of things on his old Ford.

It was during this sink-or-swim learning period when Shannon proved to himself that he was able to troubleshoot and fix a lot of things on his old Ford. Wiring and other minor mechanical repairs, as well as figuring how to make the truck move and stop were all newly gained skills that compelled him to go to school to learn what he needed to go out and take on mechanic jobs. Ultimately, he wanted to dive deeper into auto education, so he took more courses to learn to customize cars the way he always wanted to do. A stint at a local hot rod shop gave Shannon the hands-on training that gave him the tools and confidence to open his own shop a few years down the line—Pot O’ Gold Kustoms in Colorado Springs.

With all the paying customer work that started walking through the door, Shannon did his best to spend as much time as possible with his F-100. It has seen various stages throughout the years, but it wasn’t until very recently when he made a big push to do some very cool things that had been on his to-do list for a while.

“I always wanted to change up the balance/symmetry of the body lines,” Shannon states. “The stepside bed just wasn’t cutting it. I even tried a ’64 fleetside bed but it still didn’t look right to me. During my search for the perfect fit, I got lucky and found the current unibody bed at a local salvage yard for a whopping $50!”

The white steering wheel really is the icing on top in this stunning interior!

Soon after finding the bed, Shannon stuck gold once again by finding a set of matching unibody doors as well as a big back window that would finally give his F-100 the aesthetic he was after.

The caliber of custom vehicles that Shannon sees at Pot O’ Gold are usually higher-end rides that receive full painted finishes. While most of these cars and trucks tend to be show pieces that don’t get a whole lot of road time, Shannon wanted to drive his truck as much as possible whenever it was ready to roll again.

“I wasn’t too interested in spending a lot of time cleaning and polishing the truck,” Shannon admits. “I just wanted to stay focused on enjoying it. To help with this, I planned on leaving the original patina on the bed and hood, and my daughter Rayna and I then painted the rest of the truck to match the weathered appearance. The result looks great, and it makes for very worry-free maintenance.”

The truck has seen various ride height levels throughout the years, but to achieve its current stance, Shannon entrusted a Scott’s Hot Rods front suspension kit and an AVS rear 4-link setup to help provide a more aggressive altitude as well as an elevated ride quality than before. Full air ride allows for height adjustability to give the truck all the room it needs to fully function while in motion—plus, there’s nothing cooler than being able to air an old truck out on the ground. A tall rear frame notch had to be fabricated in order to fit the Ford 9-inch pumpkin, but Shannon made quick work of that before ordering the perfect set of wheels to blend in with the truck’s developing  style.

“Detroit Steel has been a reliable source for me over the years,” he says. “I have used their wheels on multiple projects at the shop, and I knew they would look right at home on this truck. They set me up with a pair of 20×8 units for the front and 22×9 for the rear, and even drilled them for me so I could run the set of caps I wanted.”

Since Shannon’s main concern with the truck was to drive the hell out of it once it was completed, his next move was to set his sights on getting a fresh engine prepped for it. While a modern engine may have been an easier option to run with, he instead decided on rebuilding a tired ‘63 Y Block 292ci that he already had in his possession. Eddie’s Hot Rod Shop in Canon City, Colorado, went through the entire engine before topping it off with parts from OTB Gear and Spotlite Kustom Accessories, along with a Fenton intake manifold and headers to keep the mill looking vintage. Shannon also wanted something reliable for the engine’s fuel delivery, so he had it hooked up with Autotrend EFI to promote that jump-in-and-go feeling whenever he felt like going out for a cruise.

Although Shannon has an affinity for the look of natural patina, he wanted a much more polished atmosphere inside the cab. Dominic Olson at Big O Fabrications in Colorado Springs reworked a set of Ford Galaxie bucket seats and a center console from a Mercury Comet, and then finished them off in luxurious white leather and excellent stitchwork. Dakota Digital gauges, a Speedway Motors steering column and CON2R steering wheel all came together to upgrade the F-100’s cockpit while lending a clean vintage appearance to the command center. Shannon admits that the cab space is still a work in progress, but it has come a long way so far and will be heading further in the direction of providing a true VIP experience to its occupants.

After a long eight-year process of getting the completely truck show worthy, Shannon set the grand unveiling at Lone Star Throwdown 2023.

“I have been driving the wheels off of it since,” he adds. “While it’s nice to be able to finally enjoy my F-100 on the road, what I like most about it is the growth it represents for myself and my shop. I have also loved having my family involved during the entire process. I must take the opportunity to give a huge thank you to my wife April and son Liam for the metalwork, my son Tyler for the brake, wiring and fuel help, Damien for the suspension and steering assistance and my daughter Rayna for the paintwork. And to all the other shops and suppliers that helped make this possible, I couldn’t have done it without you.”