FARM STRONG – Robert Gallery and his 1960 Ford F250 Crew Cab
Robert Gallery grew up farm strong in Iowa. One of five children, Gallery parlayed the hard labor and sturdy work ethic he learned in his family’s farm fields into success on the football field at the University of Iowa, where his talent at left tackle earned him All-American honors and an Outland Trophy in 2003. He left the Hawkeyes as the number-two overall NFL draft pick, ultimately playing eight seasons in the NFL, seven of those for the Oakland Raiders.
Since retiring from the NFL in 2012, Gallery has taken up a different style of farm life, living on a country estate in the Bay Area with his wife and three children. He still returns to the family farm in Iowa sometimes during harvest season, though, lending a hand when necessary. Gallery’s rural, farm-life upbringing has helped define who he is, so it only made sense for him to have a truck that’s equally farm strong. A new off-the-lot pickup didn’t sound like much fun, though. Gallery wanted a truck that reflected one of his off-the-field passions, vintage vehicles.
Gallery has worked with Marcos Garcia and his Lucky 7 Customs shop in Antioch, California on several previous projects, including a chopped ’54 Coupe DeVille and a custom ’49 Chevy Suburban. His truck project, however, would be a departure both for him and the shop. Beginning with a government-issue 1960 Ford F-250 crew cab truck originally used by the U.S. Navy, Gallery had artist Eric Black create concept art that would set the path for crafting a hauler as tough and mean as an offensive lineman, but with the finesse of a receiver.
The project’s foundation came in the form of a 2006 Ford F-250 chassis, complete with Ford’s 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel drivetrain to give the classic all the stump-pulling torque and hard-working power it would need. Left Coast Diesel Performance and Service helped dial in the engine, including adding an SCT Performance tune, while a Magnaflow exhaust system was installed to help it breathe properly and sound like a strong truck should.
A Ready Lift suspension system provided additional height and handling, while Mag-Hytec differential covers offered updated appearance and fluid capacity. Towing duties are enhanced with Air Lift’s “Load Lifter 5000” system. Those stout OEM-looking, milk truck-style 18-inch wheels were custom whittled out of aluminum by EVOD Industries before being coated satin black and wrapped in beefy STA Super Traxion tires from Coker.
The big crew cab body received its share of attention, too. The bed was extended from 6- to 7-feet to better fit the later-model chassis, and 1961 F100 wheel openings were grafted into both the front and rear fenders for a smoother appearance and more visual continuity. We can only imagine how much block sanding it took to get those long flanks arrow-straight. Marcos Garcia custom mixed the earthy, putty-colored PPG paint, which fits the character of this utilitarian truck perfectly. A satin gold-tone finish on the grille provides some nice contrast. Retractable steps from Amp Research were added to make it a little easier to climb into the tall cab.
The 2006 Ford F-250 donor truck gave up, even more, parts for the interior, including the seats, steering column and gauge cluster, which was tastefully integrated into the 1960 dashboard. There’s even a rear backup camera, with a display screen in the custom center console. Longtime Bay-Area trimmer Bob Devine was called on to work his magic on the upholstery and responded in fine form. He used a combination of rich chestnut-colored leather, patterned cloth, and orange stitching to create a cabin that’s both classy and masculine. Insulation, sound deadening and exhaust wrap materials from Cool-It Thermo Tec were used extensively around the truck’s cabin to make sure driver and passengers remain cool and comfortable both on the road and off.
Gallery debuted his custom Ford F-250 quad-cab creation at the Goodguys Del Mar Nationals earlier this year, where it promptly floored everyone in the crowd who saw it and earned a well-deserved Builder’s Choice Award from paint GOD Charley Hutton. It’s one of several classic trucks we’ve seen recently that seem to signal an emerging trend of unusual utilitarian machines – quad cabs, four-wheel drives and even phantom body styles. We love it, and can’t wait to see where this trend leads. As for Gallery, he’s just happy to have a tough, hard-working classic truck that’s as farm strong as he is.