Justin's Ford in Progress

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Big Day

Today is the day of the car show at Washtenaw Community College. Justin has been getting extremely excited and was asked not to come to the college for the last 10 days so he will be surprised. More information to come in the next few days!

Here is also a news article that was posted by Ford in their publication in June, 2006. Enjoy and if you want to look at the article yourself check out the link on the right hand side of the page!

Volunteers Help Rebuild Classic Ford Truck To Make a Youngster's Wish Come True
By Jessica Thiringer
Special to FCN Online
DEARBORN, June 21, 2006 (FCN) -- Justin Lilly, 18, his dad, and other family and friends crowded into the cafeteria at Ford's Beech Daly Technical Center building recently to build a very special engine. Now a makeshift garage, the cafeteria's plastic chairs had been pushed up against the wall, making room for rolling tool boxes, an engine block, and a cart full of high-performance engine parts.
Lilly, with an unfailing smile and bright eyes, was there because his wish was coming true: he restored his father's 1951 Ford F-100 pickup with the help of 30 Ford volunteers, Washtenaw Community College and the Michiganchapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Lilly, of Jackson, Mich., has bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung disorder marked by abnormal scarring in the lungs, and is only able to use about 30 percent of his lungs. He uses oxygen while sleeping.
"With the tools I have and the mechanics I know, the best I could have done [on the truck] was to drop in my rebuilt flathead V8 [engine] and drive it like it is," said Lilly, taking a break for pepperoni pizza and soda. "I was getting under the truck, rust falling in my face whenever I'd work on it. Now the whole thing is being built new, from the ground up. I never could have done this myself."
Lilly wanted to restore his father's classic Ford F-100 pickup for years; it hadn't run in nearly two decades. He remembers constantly asking his dad, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we worked on the truck?”
The entire truck is being entirely overhauled. Ford is donating a racing engine: a 2003 4.6-liter 4-valve Cobra engine with a Kenne-Bell supercharger. The powertrain was originally built for a 2004 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor and entered in the 2005 One Lap of America race. The Custom Cars and Concepts program at Washtenaw Community College is fulfilling Lilly's wish by completely restoring the truck's body.
Described as a gearhead by a family friend, Lilly prefers to spend his time working on, as he describes, "anything with wheels and an engine." “It doesn’t matter if it has four wheels or two. If I could take a lawnmower and do something [hot rod] to it, I’d do it,” he said.
This project is also special to the Ford volunteers.
“Justin’s a car guy, like us,” said Ray Evans, project coordinator. "We can bring him in here, show him things, and he’ll understand. When he’s pushing the gas pedal, he’ll know what’s in his truck. Not many people have the opportunity to come here and build engines."

Lilly helped engine techs Jess Novak and Steve Egan install and fasten some of the pistons and connecting rod assemblies. The engine was completed and then taken to Ford’s Engine Manufacturing Development Operations in Allen Park, Mich., for dyno testing and shipped to the college, where it will be put in the truck. Fabrication on the truck should be complete by early August.
“Justin’s wish is different," said Alissa Shipman, Lilly’s Make-A-Wish wish manager. "The story behind it is special and sentimental.” One of Lilly's favorite stories about the truck is his dad, Doug Lilly, took his mom, Shawn, on their first date in the truck in 1981.
The truck was parked for 20 years, and by 2002, it had sunk in the ground up to the frame.
“Everything was seized up. I spent the first two weeks with a torch in my hand while my grandpa had a hammer and a grease gun, trying to loosen everything up,” said Lilly.
Evans called in some of the team members who worked on the CVPI project and other highly talented employees.
“We knew this engine would be perfect for Justin’s truck. We were in the right place at the right time when this opportunity came up," said Evan s, echoing the sentiments of the entire Ford team.
Lilly would like to paint the truck cherry red with a silver base coat. “With that silver, the red looks almost maroon. I think it’s really nice," he said. His wish list also includes bucket seats with a console and a three-point harness.
After some internal debate, Lilly decided he’d like an automatic transmission.
Most of the truck's parts aren’t salvageable. The Ol’ Parts Mining Company, which specializes in Ford restoration, is accepting donations through its Web page for Lilly’s truck. Contributions include a bed kit and tonneau cover from Pro’s Pick, a chassis from Fatman Fabrications, a full brake system from Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation, a steering wheel from Grant and performance tires from Goodyear.
"This is the first time we've done a project like this here," says Bob Calleja, Beech Daly build area supervisor. "I don't think it will be the last, either. We love this, and the guys love it, too."
The best part of the project, according to Evans, was no contest. "The look on Justin's face. He rode in a red Cobra on the way to the dyno test and couldn't quit smiling," he said.


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