Kevin McGibney and his father, Kevin McGibney Sr., share much more than a name. These gentlemen are creating finely crafted automobiles and an equally fine family tradition. They are a father-and-son car building team who do it all themselves. This is a tradition of family values that really make sense. Kevin Jr. works in the printing business and his dad is a retired veteran of the United States Army. Literally the entire project was accomplished in their frill-free backyard shop. The Kevins (why call them the McGibneys?) take a businesslike approach to the automotive hobby they both enjoy. Well organized, they are known to be up at 4 a.m. searching the Net for automotive scores. Once they had a few car projects under their belts, they became known on the East Coast show circuit. Folks are quick to hand out nicknames, and it wasn't long before these guys were being addressed as "K and K." Why not take it on as a personal I.D.? Thus the name for their home shop enterprise was conceived as K&K Kustomz. So much for the good marks in fifth grade spelling! The K-Kats don't do this as a living; they do it for a very old-school reason: fun! What a concept.
During a visit to the NSRA Nats in Burlington, Vermont, last year, the Kevins were introduced to the '37 Ford concept pickup manufactured by Oze Rod Shop in Quebec, Canada. They were immediately impressed with the styling lines of the truck. Its unique rear treatment and removable hardtop made it different from anything similar currently on the market. The inspiration to build one of these new and unusual vehicles quickly became an obsession. Only two of these currently exist as finished cars in the U.S., and this example is a stunner.
No time was wasted in acquiring a body, and once the thing was in the shop, it was a scant nine months later-May 2005-that the silver baby was born. Nine months may be normal for the completion of something as simple as a human baby, but for a really complicated project like a car, it's a bona fide miracle.
The chassis for the truck was designed and fabricated from 2x4 rectangular tubing at K&K. The frontend is custom-made utilizing the familiar Mustang II power rack-and-pinion unit and 2-inch dropped Mustang spindles. Custom tubular control arms have been fabricated and the frame is C-notched for steering and suspension clearance. The rearend is the ever popular Ford 9-inch using a 3.50 ratio. All four corners are suspended with Air Ride Technologies airbags and gas shocks. Nothing like laying her on the asphalt when you park-remember kids, there is no such thing as too low. Stopping chores are the province of a disc brake system that uses Mustang units in the front and Wilwoods in the rear that feature cross-drilled and slotted rotors. All of this high-tech hardware connects to the paving with Falken tires, 205R40/17 FK451s in the front on Budnik's 17x8 Gasser D wheels, and 255ZR35/20 FK451s out back on 20x10 Gasser Ds. The wheel size and positioning fill the fender openings and contribute to the mean stance and integrated look of the well thought-out styling.
Power comes from the eternally popular small-block Chevrolet. A 350 GM crate motor makes a practical solution that is reliable and quick. Not much has been done to modify the motor, mainly because it does not need much to make it rock and roll. An Edelbrock EPS coated intake manifold and an Edelbrock 500-cfm carburetor are used to feed the 8.5 pistons fired by a GM HEI ignition. Internal pressure is relieved through a set of Sanderson Block Hugger headers, and the escaping gases pass in and out of a pair of Race Bullet mufflers, producing that throaty rumble so dear to the hearts of hot rod enthusiasts everywhere and keeping the breathing healthy for the 330hp mill. The final touches to the engine are cosmetic. The air cleaner is a Walter Prosper special. The aluminum valve covers have been chromed, as has the oil pan. In fact, the entire engine is either polished or chromed.
The ponies are connected to the rearend through a TH350 trans that is controlled by a Lokar shifter. The trans cooler is frame-mounted. All of the engine and transmission work was done at K&K.
While the body design is indeed fresh, the finish that it arrived with left a little to be desired. Many hours of individual attention were paid to the customizing and final detailing of the car's surface. The doors were suicided, the exhaust exit was cut into the running boards, and the '37 Ford headlight buckets grafted into the front fenders. The taillights are LEDs frenched into the fenders in handmade buckets. The design concept here is smooth and clean, and to that end, minor annoyances such as side mirrors and door handles have been summarily dispensed. One of the distinguishing features of this truck is the removable hardtop and the curved side glass that powers up to seal the cabin from the unwanted intrusions of the outside world. Echoing the original styling from the Ford Motor Company, the beautifully crafted stainless steel grille was made especially for this truck. K&K applied the PPG paint. It's a custom-mix K&K Pewter on the bottom, black on the top, and PPG Global basecoat and clearcoat. A bright yellow detail line provides visual pop. Kevin Sr. applied the finishes.
Pilot and passenger travel in luxurious cockpit comfort, and Kevin Jr. takes full responsibility for the upholstery work, with Ultra leather and Ultra ostrich inserts. The color is a soft, rich buff and the finish is sumptuous, all with exquisite sculpting and detail. The instrumentation is Dakota Digital and EZ Wire provides the wiring, installed by K&K. An ostrich-covered Budnik steering wheel is the solution for control issues, and the console has a sliding panel that opens to reveal all of the switches and Air Ride gauges and controls. Entertainment has not been neglected here either-a Sony CD sound system with four speakers provides the tunes. The final touch to the upholstery is the sculpted covering on the power actuated tonneau cover, and the rich black leather blends smoothly into the black paint below. Needless to say, the bed cover and the doors are remote operated.
According to the K&K crew, it's all about family fun. Kevin Sr.'s wife, Joanne, deserves a lion's share of the credit for the success of the family motorsports effort. She feeds 'em, puts on the Band-Aids, listens understandingly, puts up with their nonsensical obsessions, and generally provides the emotional adhesive and support that keeps them going!
K&K Kustomz is generally known for their truck efforts-they have a Pro Streeted '37 Chevy known as the Bombinator, but Kevin advises us that a very wicked '67 Pro Touring RE-SS Camaro is about to roll out of the shop doors. If the '37 pickup is any harbinger of things to come, that Camaro should really turn some heads. It'll probably leave a little tire smoke hangin' around the old hometown of Deposit, New York. So much for air quality.
|F A C T S & F I G U R E S |
|Kevin McGibney |
|Deposit, New York |
|1937 Ford roadster pickup |
|Frame / Manufacturer ||tube chassis built by K&K Kustomz |
|Wheelbase ||109" |
|Modifications ||scratch-built from 2x4 steel tubing & set up for Mustang II F-end & Air Ride suspension. All fasteners are SS |
|Chassis plumbing ||stainless steel by builders |
|Rearend ||Currie (Anaheim, CA) Ford 9" 3:50-1:00 |
|Rear suspension ||Air Ride Technologies (Jasper, IN) airbags & shocks |
|Rear brakes ||Wilwood (Camarillo, CA) cross-drilled & slotted rotors |
|Front suspension ||Air Ride Technologies 'bags & shocks; Mustang II frontend w/ 2" dropped spindles & power r&p |
|Front brakes ||Mustang II discs |
|Master cylinder ||Custom Powermaster (Knoxville, TN) w/ 8" booster & proportioning valve |
|Steering box ||Mustang II |
|Front wheel make, size ||Budnik (Huntington Beach, CA) Gassers, 17x8 |
|Rear wheel make, size ||Budnik Gassers, 20x10 |
|Front tire make, size ||Falken, 205R40/17 FK451s |
|Rear tire make, size ||Falken, 255ZR35/20 FK451s |
|Gas tank ||K&K, custom-made |
|Other chassis items ||K&K, custom-built control arms |
|Make ||GM Crate engine |
|Displacement ||350 ci |
|Machining / Assembly ||factory & K&K Kustomz |
|Water pump ||Tuffstuff, chromed |
|Cooling fan ||Zirgo electric |
|Radiator ||custom-made aluminum |
|Valve covers ||custom, chromed aluminum |
|Manifold / Induction ||Edelbrock (Torrance, CA) EPS-coated, Edelbrock 500-cfm |
|Ignition / Wires ||GM HEI |
|Headers ||Sanderson Headers (S. San Francisco, CA) Block Huggers |
|Exhaust / Mufflers ||custom by K&K w/ Race Bullet mufflers |
|Other engine facts ||balanced & completely polished & chromed |
|Make ||TH350 |
|Shifter ||Lokar (Knoxville, TN) |
|Driveshaft ||custom |
|Body style / Material ||hardtop convertible pickup / fiberglass |
|Body manufacturer ||OZE Rod Shop (Canada) |
|Body mods ||smoothed & filled by K&K |
|Hood ||K&K handmade aluminum. |
|Grille ||K&K, custom-made from stainless |
|Paint type / Color ||PPG custom mix by owner, K&K Pewter w/ black & yellow highlight |
|Painter ||Kevin McGibney Sr. at K&K Kustomz |
|Headlights / Taillights ||'37 Ford headlight buckets w/ diamond-cut custom lenses / custom-made frenched bucket & taillights |
|Other body items ||shaved door handles w/ remote control & roll pans by K&K Kustomz, custom exhaust port through running board, custom curved glass windshield |
|Dashboard ||handmade, K&K |
|Insert / Gauges ||Dakota Digital (Sioux Falls, SD) |
|Stereo / Speakers ||Sony CD / radio, Sony Xplode 5 1/2" front speakers & 8" rears |
|Wiring ||EZ Wire (Florida), installed by the K&K |
|Steering wheel ||Budnik |
|Steering column ||ididit (Tecumseh, MI) tilt, chromed |
|Interior mirror ||Billet Specialties (La Grange, IL), oval |
|Seats ||custom-made by K&K |
|Upholsterer ||Kevin McGibney Jr. at K&K |
|Material / Color ||Ultra leather in ostrich cream & black |
|Carpet ||cut tan Mercedes wool |
|Other interior items ||all upholstery & sculpted interior panels fabricated & installed at K&K by Kevin McGibney Jr. |