Writen By: Jim Rizzo - for Truckin Magazine
As one would imagine, perfection is a lofty goal - a goal most can only aspire to achieve and of which many fall well short. But, believe it or not, faultlessness is a way of life for the discriminating owner of this exceptional Effie. The '56 in question is owned by world-renowned guitar builder/luthier Bill Collings. Those who are musicians or guitar aficionados as well as classic truck fanatics will immediately relate to our references of flawlessness when used in conjunction with the name Bill Collings. But, for those who may not be familiar with the name or not quite understand why anyone would think of a person and a term as synonymous, we owe a bit of explanation before we proceed.
Bill Collings has been crafting what legions of musician's tout as the finest hollow-body acoustic guitar in the world out of his shop in Austin, Texas, since 1973. Musicians the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Paul Simon, Lyle Lovett, Joni Mitchell, and Lou Reed (to name a few) happily dole out $14,500 or more for a Collings guitar. What makes Collings guitars so desirable (aside from their magnificent sound) is there quality. Every one of the thousand or so guitars made by Collings and his crew of craftsmen each year are thoroughly inspected for even the most minute of imperfections, and from what we understand, end up in the scrap heap if any are found.
It was Bill's nearly fanatical penchant for perfection that caused him to hand the chore of crafting his F-100 over to the pros at Bobco of Lake Elsinore, California. Not because he didn't have the talent to craft a classic pickup that would measure up to his own high standard, mind you, but because of the demands of his art and his insistence on enjoying quality time with his family.
Bill's choice of builders speaks volumes about Bobco's quality. "I just love good stuff," says Bill. "I don't care if it's a piece of sheetmetal or a guitar. I love the good, quality stuff." So, he entrusted his Effie project to those he was confident would give him the caliber of workmanship he expects of his own products - and the rest is, as they say, history.
The Bobco crew began the pickup's assembly by fashioning a fully custom chassis using the framerails crafted by Bill's own two hands. The fully tapered 2x6 rectangular tubing rails were outfitted with a Bobco tubular X-member, a Total Cost involved four link/coilover rear suspension setup (gripping a 4.11:1 geared Currie 9-inch rearend), and an Industrial Chassis Dakota IFS assembly (always Bobco's first choice for frontends). Once the chassis and suspension were complete and rolling on a quartet of 17-inch Budnik billet wheels, sights were turned to the fabrication and installation of engine/trans mounts and the pickup's drivetrain.
Along with his hand crafted framrails, Bill supplied Bobco with a ready-to-rock-'n'-roll 351-cube small-block. The engine had been meticulously (of course) machines by Dave at the Cylinder Head Shop of Austin and outfitted with all the best in go-fast goodies. The more-than-stout powerplant was backed by an AOD overdrive automatic and then nestled between the chassis rails and connected to the 9-inch rear via a custom Driveline Specialties driveshaft.
In the meantime, the Effie's cab and bed were being treated to a large helping of Bobco's renowned bodywork and paint prep. The cab was meticulously transformed from a standard small-window to a big-window configuration. The fuel tank was removed from inside the cab, the filler neck and door relocated to the rear fender, and the balance of the body was massaged into a mirror-smooth expanse before being treated to a (what else?) nearly flawless coating of PPG Bilbo Green urethane.
The cab was then mated to its new foundation and fitted with a full complement of glass, seals, weather-stripping, and wiring. The modified stock dash was treated to one of Bobco's own billet dash inserts (outfitted with VDO gauges). A vintage Air unit and top-of-the-line stereo system were given a home in the truck's cockpit, as was a Cadillac bench seat, and hide after hide of glove-soft vanilla-colored leather.
Bill's '56 made its debut at the Goodguys Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals in Del Mar, California this past March and (no surprise to anybody) was a shoe-in for out sister publication. Classic Trucks magazine Top 5 Pick. Its next stop, on its way back to Austin, was Pat Ford's F-100 Supernationals where it was sure to wow the crowds before heading home and possibly see duty as a muscle in front of Bill's Porsche race car trailer. Hey, we told ya Bill is meticulous - you don't think he'd let just any old truck into his stable, would you?