The American Dream

Richard Broyles of Jonesborough, Tennessee had a dream of building a unique vehicle that was based on his love of traditional fat fendered 40’s style cars and roadster trucks. His idea/design married the old and a new concept that was to create a truly unique 1941 Ford Roadster Truck with a modern driveline capable of being a show vehicle or one day a fully functional driver. His idea was to hopefully improve upon Henry Ford’s legendary styling by using cutting edge technology along with today’s superior materials. This build was achieved through hard work, perseverance and hands-on craftsmanship to prove that the “American Dream” was alive and well in a home based shop. From inception every aspect of this project had winning the Ridler Award as its focus. With this in mind, virtually every piece of this vehicle was hand fabricated or machined by Richard with the utmost attention to detail and designed to compliment the entire build. While looking at this vehicle the original 1941 Ford image has been extensively modified while maintaining the authentic early Ford fat fendered look. It would take many more pages than those that are here to list all the numerous smaller details that make the Mirage what it is, a seeming endless flow of curves & lines that carry over from the exterior to interior and yes even to the under carriage. He decided to call the many years of labor a very fitting name, Mirage. The word Mirage comes to us from the French and has several meanings starting with, to look at, to wonder at and to admire. Many hours of thought & labor have transformed this 1941 Ford truck into what it is now and I hope you will not think that this just a Mirage but the real deal.

Starting with the grill that is the beginning of several focal points, it is a Ford design modified by Alumicraft to incorporate the reveal/body accent line as the starting point which circles the entire vehicle back to the point of origin. The hood and nose area are a 4 piece unique design that flows from the grill to the cowl. The nose of the hood conceals the air cleaner, mass air sensor, radiator and inner cooler hoses. The nose does all of this and still serves the purpose of the focal point of the hood. The hood is set up with a center bar that acts as a hinge for the hood sides and connects the nose to the cowl. The side-opening concept of the hood uses dual electric motors that are concealed under the cowl and with concealed reinforcement the hood is a very sturdy piece of fabrication. Richard hand fabricated and formed the outer steel skin that combined with an aluminum inner panel makes it rigid but not too heavy.  The hand formed cowl panel is removable for ease of access to the electrical & mechanical components that operate the hood, brake & clutch reservoir and for replacement of windshield if ever needed. This custom cowl panel also completes the clean flowing lines from the nose across the hood to the windshield. The front fenders are extremely modified original 1941 Ford truck fenders that are mated with the smooth hand formed & free standing inner fenders. The beaded edges between the outer & inner fender flow together as one piece. The headlight openings have been redesigned to house flush mounted Mercedes units that have been transformed into a singular light that features, the headlight, a halo parking light and turn signal. The doors are a large complicated piece of metal with rounded lines that flows in many directions to tie into the flowing lines of the front fenders, hood, cowl and leading back edge of the cab. The door does all this while maintaining the flowing line of the reveal/body accent line. The powered curved safety glass of the door is operated by console mounted switch or remote. The running boards that grace the side of the truck are formed of 20 gauge steel and are molded to fit the outside of the body and flow uninterrupted into the undercarriage.

The cab of the truck is a totally unique piece of hand formed steel & fabricated metal that continue the graceful lines of the body thru the door openings. The door openings show a continuous flow from the from the front fender edges to the beginning edge of the rear cab & bed area. The outside cab panel to front leading edge of the rear fender is hand formed steel that flows seamlessly into the custom bed top rail & sides. The top of the cab is an electrically operated retractable hardtop 4 piece unit that includes the rear apron that flows into the bed cover. This modern convenience is incorporated into an old style appearance that carries over into the oval style rear window. The electrically operated rear apron conceals the top when it is in the down position and creates a unique bed cover with the top in the up position. The bed is totally hand fabricated from steel with electrically operated dual side opening covers with a fixed center bar that makes this cover the twin of the front hood panel system. The interior of the bed floor is Teak that has been sanded and waxed to a beautiful natural glow. The rear of the bed is accented by a one piece oval trim and tail light surround that is hand crafted from aluminum that was then chromed. Lambert Enterprises manufactured the custom LED tail, turn and brake lights. The other purpose that this beautiful handcrafted bed serves is it is designed to highlight the chrome quick-change rear end, shocks, brakes and become an extension of the undercarriage. The rear fenders are severely modified original 1941 Ford truck fenders with fabricated inner rear extension that is incorporated into the inner fenders. The rear wheel wells have been re-beaded so the inner fenders and bottoms form a continuation of the undercarriage. The rear fenders have been structured to a point of rigidness that there is no need for external bracing that would take away from the flow of the body to undercarriage area.

The paint on the Mirage was specially formulated by Axalta/Dupont and is identified as “Sunset Mirage” Chroma Premier base coat, top coated with 72200S Chroma Premier Clear. The base coat was applied over Epoxy DTM primer sealer base with 33403S Chroma Premier primer. The end result is an incredible color with brilliance and depth. Body prep and painting was an extremely challenging process due to the unusual body configurations. The many obstacles and pitfalls during this stage were overcome thru the hard work of Ron White, Jon Watts and Richard Broyles. Richard Broyles along with the help of Jack Whitson did the final assembly, fit, finish and handled the final stages of buffing, paint detailing.

The interior of the truck shows the continuation of the outsides reveal/body accent line by flowing seamlessly across the painted interior doors, dash, console and onto the seat surrounds. The continuity of this hand formed steel reveal ties the contours of the interior to the exterior so with doors open or closed everything flows together. The interior showcases the metal working skills of the owner starting with the dash, console and seat frames that were are all hand-fabricated steel. The steering column is a stainless steel unit from Flaming River that has been painted to match the interior & exterior. The column drop is an owner-fabricated piece that has been chromed while the steering wheel is an Intro piece that carries over the owner designed idea for the wheels on the chassis that were also built by Intro. The center mounted LED gauge cluster surround trim is hand formed aluminum that has been chromed. Gauges are from Classic Instruments that have been reworked by the owner to fit into the custom gauge panel. The console mounted shifter is a Ford short throw that has been heavily modified for this application and topped off with an owner fabricated shifter handle & knob that were both constructed from aluminum then chromed. The emergency brake is a functional integral part of this standard shift vehicle with the one off chrome handle and release button all connected to the Wilwood brake assembly by Lokar stainless braided cable assembly. The shifter and emergency brake surround trim is a custom piece made Larry Palmer and then chromed by Advance Plating. The console is home for switches that service many electrical components around the car. All of the switch covers and button covers are owner made pieces from aluminum then chromed. The oval pedal assemblies are Lokar pedals modified by the owner and that have been chromed. Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto Interiors in Knoxville, Tennessee performed the custom interior work. The interior leather work is an entirely one off design of Steve’s done in a beautiful leather called Magnolia produced by Wallsdorf and accented with DeModa Cobra Vino from Garrett Leather, The carpet that Pro Auto Interior chose to compliment this beautiful interior was a Mercedes Benz Velour Middle Red.

The power and driveline that moves this beautiful machine had every bit of detail and thought put into under the hood as there was put into the exterior down to the smallest fastener. The heart of this truck is a Ford Shelby 5.4 DOHC engine with only test miles on it. The block has been smoothed and painted to match the body and all of the unnecessary brackets & mounts removed. A Ford Racing computer that has race calibrations for a supercharged 32-valve engine runs the 5.4 DOHC. All of the electrical components are modified and reconstructed from a Ford harness with most of the wiring hidden or encased in braided stainless. The drive by wire is from an owner-modified assembly from Lokar that was set up to operate this engine only. Sensors have been relocated and their wiring rerouted to give the motor compartment a clean and uncluttered feel. The Supercharger is a Whipple 4.0 Crusher with a mono blade throttle body that has had the openings shaved, refined or welded to create a very smooth and statuesque body. The throttle body air intake is a 4-inch tube that starts from a round air filter to the oval throttle body in one smooth transition. The fuel rails are from Aeromotive Inc. that have been smoothed & chromed with the ends machined to complete a clean and simple oval look. The custom valve covers were fabricated to conceal all of the electrical components while complimenting the legendary Ford DOHC stylish look. The alternator is from Powermaster that features a one-off front fan cover & rear grill while the body has been smoothed and fitted with a custom fabricated mounting bracket. A Meizere electric water pump was used to increase water flow and unclutter the front of the engine with the relocated water inlet integrated into the oil filter assembly. Completing the clean look of the water pump is a braided stainless electric cable that is attached to a uniquely hand crafted chromed front bezel. The radiator & inner cooler enclosure originates at the inside of the nose of the truck and encases the rear and bottom of the radiator. The inner cooler, fan/fan shroud end at the grill bottom and this forms the front part of the undercarriage. The oil pan is made from an aluminum Ford Racing m-6675-msvt that created an unprecedented piece. The oil filter assembly starts with a one-off filter housing that has welded tubing and is joined to the relocated bottom radiator hose connection. The starter for this Ford DOHC is a simple Ford starter with a machined body and a hand made bendix cover. The custom motor mounts are built from arched tubing to resemble the suspension and cross members with radius frame mounts. Completing this unique engine is the headers and exhaust system that is a combination of a Borla custom built stainless one piece over the frame-designed headers with Stainless Specialties silencers transitioned to Borla oval side exit pipes.

The frame of the truck is a fabricated oval design with reverse dual arch cross members center and rear. This design blends everything into a uni-body style construction to form one of the cleanest undercarriages imaginable. The front and rear suspensions are an owner design & idea that is a radical one-off unique arch design that was built by Scotts Hot Rods. The front steering rack is from Chassis Works that features novel trim pieces that enhance it to a higher level of appearance. The rear differential is Winters Championship Quick Change 10” big HP series and runs Strange Axels. The steel tubes have been modified with outer bearing housings, the case has been smoothed, the oval center cover turned into a show piece that features 12 point case fasteners and one-off chromed suspension mounts, The brakes are from Wilwood that feature modified brackets, smoothed calipers, hats welded & smoothed, rotors chromed & veins powder coated and the rear brakes have an integral parking brake. Finishing off the rolling chassis and complimenting the coachwork are the owner designed one-off 3 piece wheels magnificently brought to life by Intro Wheels. The wheels are 10 spoke 18x7 on the front and 20x10 on the rear that gives the truck a serious stance in the hot rod style.

After all of the hard work was done and with the clock ticking down to the final days/hours prior to the 2016 Detroit AutoRama, the truck was loaded into the car hauler along with its display materials. After many years of hard work, Richard’s creation was unveiled, and the competition began against some very beautifully built vehicles, all of which were competing to be in the Great 8. To make the Great 8 is an achievement in itself when you look at the level of perfection the vehicles showcase. There have only been a few owner built vehicles to make the Great 8, and Richard’s 1941 Ford Truck joined that select group. Out of the Great 8 winners only one would take home the prestigious Ridler Award. The truck did not bring home the Ridler, but it did bring home the fact that it went in as an owner built vehicle against professionally built competition and won a Great 8 Award. Richard proved in Detroit that the “American Dream” is alive and well in the everyday person’s garage. 

A special thanks to Jim Caswell who took Richard’s ideas for the truck, wheels and logo and turned them into the concept drawings that are represented here in the form of this finished vehicle.

• Manufacturers & shops

• Advance Plating

• Aeromotive 

• Alumicraft

• Axalta/Dupont

• Borla

• Chassis Works

• Classic Instruments

• Flaming River

• Ford Racing

• Intro Custom Wheels

• Lambert Enterprises

• Lokar

• Meizere Enterprises

• Powermaster

• Pro Auto Interiors

• Scott’s Hot Rods

• Strange Engineering

• Whipple Superchargers

• Wilwood Engineering

• Winters Performance



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