1966 Ford Nearly Restored
December 18, 2009 · Print This Article
“B-Unit” #83 is a tribute to Brian Storer. The lean, mean, Ford racing machine is being restored for one reason: It was Brian Storer’s dream to revive this this truck and make it his own.
Shortly after purchasing the truck, Mark’s youngest son and employee Brian (driver #83) made known his interest in the truck. He immediately saw the potential, and he loved that the truck would rumble and roar when he stepped on the gas pedal. The truck had custom chrome exhaust stacks (though they were heavily rusted and in desperate need of replacement).
Its frame supported a Holmes 460 wrecker: One of the most celebrated tow units of it’s time; popular for it’s twin boom feature that would allow one side of the truck to anchor to a stable object and the other side to swing out and recover a vehicle. Even today, Holmes is known for producing some of the most unique towing equipment on the planet.
The company’s founder, Ernest Holmes, is famous for his most popular invention: The world’s first tow truck! Holmes originally mounted a chain and pulley to the frame of a 1913 Cadillac and went to work as the first ever tow truck operator in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Nearly 100 years later, Brian Storer found himself inspired by a beat up old Holmes unit. He loved everything about the truck and vowed to restore it. He even collected a few parts along the way. The find he was most proud of was a red bench seat in near perfect condition, brought in to replace the previous upholstery which was torn and tattered. A couple of years went by as the truck sat in Mark’s warehouse awaiting restoration and eventually, the unthinkable happened. Mark and Brian died in a sudden plane crash. One of Brian’s dreams would never come true. He would not get the opportunity to tear the Ford truck to the ground and build it back up again in all the glory of it’s hay-day.
The Storer family has spent the past year-and-a-half recovering from the tremendous loss in their family. As the days continue to go by, family members have come up with ways to pay homage to their loved one’s who have moved on into eternity. The greatest of which was most likely an idea that was produced by Lynette Storer, Brian’s mother and Mark’s wife. Lynette is now the President/CEO of Airport Towing and has been helping run the day-to-day operations of the company for nearly 22 years.
As you may have guessed, her vision was to restore the 66 Ford, exactly as Brian would have wanted it done. Even though it has proven to be an expensive and time consuming project, Lynette has pressed forward with the restoration. Despite a depressed economy, the love she has for her son is far beyond any monetary value. With the help of Lynette’s staff, she is determined to complete this project.
With the help of several employees and antique specialist Rocky Willis, the project has moved forward with great success. The truck was stripped down and sandblasted earlier this year.
Shortly after, individual pieces of the truck were sent to Huddleson’s Auto Color World to be painted red and white. Finally, the cab and chassis were sprayed and returned to be refitted with the original parts. Fresh paint on the old truck in traditional Airport Towing red and white have made it look better than ever. Meanwhile, custom chrome exhaust stacks were special ordered and the motor was removed for steam-cleaning and repainting.
The paint is now dry and piece by piece, the truck is being meticulously reassembled. Nearly every part on the truck needs to be reinstalled; from the hood to the fenders, the bumper, wheels and rims, doors, windshield, seat, motor, exhaust stacks, lugs, lights, mirrors, and much more. One challenge that complicates the project more than the average pickup restoration is the assembly of the Holmes tow unit on the back end. The unit requires technical expertise because it operates off of a power take off system that utilizes the transmission to engage and enable the boom and winch cables to operate. The old gear driven technology has been replaced with hydraulics in more modern equipment. The wrecker must be assembled accurately to maintain structural integrity if it is ever to be used as a working tow truck. To date, each piece has been sanded, painted, and some are awaiting reassembly. Some of the electrical wiring throughout the truck is still being completed.
The headers have been chrome dipped, enhancing the popular “Powered by Ford” slogan stamped into the metal. Afterward, the freshly painted motor was placed back into the truck.
The motor was repainted factory Ford blue and the tips of the fan have been painted red. The cab was also remounted onto the frame.
Much of the detail work is now being finished. The truck has been refitted with its hood, grille, bumper, beacon, marker lights, headlights, and windshield. After several months of work, it is starting to look like a truck again.
Most recently, the Holmes tow unit was reinstalled and there are now wheels under the frame.
Although the project may look as though it is near completion, there is still a great amount of work to be done. The truck is still awaiting doors and several other interior parts along with wiring and other detail work. Custom lettering and final striping will be added after the truck has reacquired all of it’s necessary mechanical parts. Completion of the 1966 Ford F-350 tow truck is most likely Spring of 2010. Work being done on the truck is ongoing though it is not being rushed so mistakes can be minimized. Once the 66 Ford is completed, it will be one of the most popular and definitely the most powerful tow truck in the Storer Antique Tow Truck Collection and no one will be happier to see its final completion than Lynette.