Blue Thunder! A Hand-Me-Down Transformation of a 1955 Ford F-100

A Hand-Me-Down That Gets Down 

Trucks that are handed down through one’s family are an extra kind of special. Sure, any old truck is going to have some history to it, but one that’s been passed down has your history—and the history of your predecessors—permanently ingrained its soul. Yes, trucks have souls. You grew up riding shotgun, you possibly got to help out with an oil change or two, and you definitely got to play in (or even ride in) the bed! One way or another, that history lives on in these old machines. 

Sharma Mulqueen holds those memories close to her heart, having ridden along in her dad’s ’55 F-100 as a kid—and even before that when it was her grandfather’s truck! The truck remained stock for the first 65 years of its existence, so you may be wondering how it ended up in its current state. Well, here’s the loose chain of events that led to the transformation of this F-100.


Sharma’s grandparents bought the truck in 1959 to serve as a daily driver and occasional errand runner. Her grandfather drove it all the way through the early 1980s, and then gave the truck to her dad. He used it as a work truck, so it was treated as such, and was then eventually stuffed in the garage where it began its next chapter as a storage container and oversized junk drawer.

FFG Air Ride Hideaway Controller Mount tucks the E-Level controller nicely under the dash for a super clean look.

Both Sharma and her grandfather would occasionally ask her dad when he would get around to fixing it back up, but it would never get any further than a shrug of the shoulders. Finally, in 2019, he conceded that he would likely not be restoring it, so Sharma politely asked for the keys and decided to make it a project of her own.


Everything began with the simplest of intentions: Get the truck back on the road, with Sharma’s son Declan eventually getting the keys as long as he put in some sweat equity. With some additional help from Sharma’s husband Keith, the family got the truck running and stopping again, and everyone was excited to have it back on the road.

The truck remained stock for the first 65 years of its existence, so you may be wondering how it ended up in its current state.

But what now? While everyone in the family was a gearhead to varying degrees, they knew that they wouldn’t be able to get the truck where it needed to be on their own. And as important as the truck was, especially to Sharma, they wanted to make sure that everything was done right and to a level that was deserving of a treasured family heirloom.

Well, that’s where Jason Noble and his crew at Fat Fender Garage came in. As the name of his shop implies, Jason is no stranger to F-Series trucks—especially ones that turn heads—and he happened to be local to the Mulqueen family, so it definitely couldn’t hurt to just stop by and see what FFG could do for the Sharma’s Ford. After a detailed consultation, Sharma and Jason had a game plan (and budget) on paper, and the old F-100 was dropped off for some FFG magic.

Everything began with the simplest of intentions: Get the truck back on the road, with Sharma’s son Declan eventually getting the keys as long as he put in some sweat equity


The foundation of the truck is a TCI air-ride chassis, which Keith had previously bought for Sharma for her birthday. Wait, what? Spouses, take note! Anyway, with the complete rolling chassis finished off with the addition of a 2019 Gen 3 5.0L Coyote engine and 10-speed 10R80 transmission, the Fat Fender crew was able to focus on the body, massaging each panel to perfection before the custom-mixed green pearl BASF paint was applied. Rather than go with standard chrome or painted trim, pieces such as the grille and FFG billet door handles were finished with Cerakote.

Interior appointments were kept simple and elegant, but they include everything expected of a truck that was built to drive anywhere in comfort. Restomod Air climate control, a Focal audio system, Dakota Digital RTX Retrotech gauges, and a Sparc steering wheel just in front of the white leather bench seat give Sharma everything she needs, whether driving to a local show or across Arizona.


The best was saved for last: Right before Sharma was scheduled to pick up the truck from Fat Fender Garage, the fresh 20-inch Schott Drift wheels and Sumitomo tires were bolted on over the Wilwood brakes—an amazing finishing touch that complemented the rest of the F-100 brilliantly.

So you may have noticed by the title of the story that the truck is named “Blue Thunder,” and you would be right to wonder why the heck that is. After all, the truck is very much green! The answer is simple enough: the truck was Ford Waterfall Blue for the better part of seven decades, and so that’s what the family has always called it, and that’s what they’ll continue to call it for generations to come!

The Gen 3 Coyote is the perfect heartbeat for this one-of-a-kind ride.

Tech Specs


Sharma Mulqueen
Gilbert, AZ
1955 Ford F-100

Chassis & Suspension

Work by Fat Fender Garage
TCI air-ride chassis with 4-link
CPP nitrogen shocks
Accuair E-Level air-ride management setup
Currie 9-inch rear end w/ 3.70 gears and TwinTrac limited slip differential
Wilwood front and rear brakes
Boyds Welding fuel tank with in-tank pump

Wheels & Tires

20×8.5 and 20×10 Schott Drift wheels, ceramic coated
245/40R20 and 275/35R20 Sumitomo tires

Engine & Drivetrain

Work by Fat Fender Garage
2019 Ford Coyote Gen 3 5.0L engine
FFG custom headers, 1 3/4-inch primaries, 2 1/2-inch collectors
FFG custom 2 1/2-inch exhaust with dual rear exits
Ford 10R80 10-speed transmission
FFG transmission cooler
Custom driveshaft from AZ Driveshaft

Body & Paint

Work by Fat Fender Garage
Custom mixed BASF green base and clear
“Blue Thunder” lettering behind tailgate
Custom wood bed with fuel filler door
Shaved vents
Mini bed tubsGrille, bumpers, and other trim customized with Cerakote
FFG billet door handles
United Pacific LED lighting

Interior & Stereo

Work by Fat Fender Garage
White leather upholstery
Custom door panels
Custom-stitched Sparc steering wheel
Dakota Digital RTX RetroTech gauges
Restomod Air A/C system
Control knobs customized with Cerakote
Custom audio system with Focal components

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