August 2011 TOTM - Congratulations to Ron "bumperquip" Cope ! (NLOC #2254)

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Skritch

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August 2011 Truck Of The Month – Congratulations Ron (bumperquip) Cope ! (NLOC #2254)

Near the west coast of the sunshine state of Florida residing in the town of Valrico comes this month’s Truck of the Month. Those that have been members or users of the Gen 1 section of this board over the last six plus years certainly know this screen name ! Ron has contributed mightily to helping others as he has learned about the smallest details in the restoration of his truck. Ron bought this one and drove it less than twelve miles home then promptly put it in an undriveable state for over two years ! He is fastidious in the details. Though his truck is yet unfinished (are they ever done ?) it is now in a drivable state with Ron enjoying the results of his incredible workmanship. Still claiming there are numerous boxes of parts sitting around waiting to be installed Ron does gets to use his project in a visibly finished condition. While reading Ron’s answers I found myself smiling frequently, sometimes laughing out loud !! As you read you should find the same happening to you. Enjoy the read then join in the congratulations to Ron Cope !

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1. What sparked your interest in the Ford Lightning?

What got my attention initially really, was its sound... no, really.

I remember back in maybe the mid '90s I'd lay eyes on one or two Lightnings that frequented my area and, not knowing at that time what a Lightning was, I'd think to myself "whoever did the appearance upgrades on that truck did a quite tasteful job." Having for years been somewhat of an F100/F150 groupie and self proclaimed know-it-all I had formulated some strong opinions as far as what works on a Ford truck and what doesn't.

Then, sitting in traffic one day, I heard one. It blew past me, totally hooked me, and I had to find out what that thing was all about. That's really what got me looking into them, the factory exhaust note of all things. Keep in mind to a guy sitting in a turbo charged four cylinder Mazda MX-6, even a smog strangled, exhaust restricted, small block Ford sounded pretty friggin fantastic.

Later, after doing some reading and such, I learned and then recognized that these things are what they are: a limited production, performance oriented, specialty rendition of my favorite truck. How exciting! I must have one... or two.

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2. Do you have any interesting stories about previously owned vehicles, before becoming a Lightning owner?

I'm not sure anything I've done or been involved in would be considered "interesting" but I’ll admit that I've always had this details oriented, persnickety, anal retentive thing that's led me down some roads I may not have traveled otherwise. I've also always established what could be called a relationship, maybe even a friendship with the vehicle that's receiving all of my time and attention. Call me odd... my wife sure does... but that's how I roll.

My older brother and I reconditioned a 1951 Chevy pickup when I was in the 9th grade and it honestly turned out pretty nice. I realized then that I kind of liked this stuff. My brother moved on to other endeavors and upon reaching legal driving age I went the Ford way purchasing a completely shelled and totally rodded out '66 Bronco for $200.00. That truck became my first, feeble as it may have been, attempt at a restoration project. I tried for the first time to take something apart that was completely ruined and put it back together as it would have been straight from the showroom floor. It was fun. It was frustrating. It sucked. I loved it and it gave me a fantastic sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Upon completion of that project, late one night subsequent to having mixed and taken internally a number of tall cool cocktails consisting of two parts alcohol, one part pubescent testosterone and one part teen male pride, I proceeded to wedge my Bronco nearly permanently between two firmly rooted and quite structurally stable pine trees that just happened to be spaced approximately 18” closer to each other than the Bronco’s overall manufactured width. That was that.

After destroying my poor Bobtail and while still in high school, I inherited a couple of non-operational Ford big block powered family cars from my father. I cleaned them up, got them running and sold them, landing a little bit past the point of no return for me with my acquisition of a 1977 F100 Ranger. It was through the work I did and the relationship I established with that truck that I found I had an absolute love of Ford pickups and it was with the results of my efforts on that vehicle that made me realize that I sort of maybe have a knack for bringing these things back to life while incorporating what some have called an impressive yet dysfunctional attention to detail... I make no apologies for that since it’s not something I can really control... I keep my sideburns and nose hairs neatly trimmed too.

I did dabble in the turbo-charged import thing for a few years prior to acquiring my first Lightning and although those cars do have their merits I always loved and I really began to miss the American V8 thing. Besides, the population inhabiting the NOPI scene was a segment of society I just didn’t fit in with all that well. My eyebrows aren’t pierced, my jugular is tattoo free, and I feel that jeans for the most part are to be worn in such a manner as to conceal one’s underpants. Nevertheless, with the passing of some time and with my experiences in the restoration of my two Lightnings, it’s become pretty much understood that this is what I do... this is what I love to do... this is what I'll continue to do.

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3. What modifications have you made to your truck since you have owned it...both show and go?

I can't say I've really done things I’d call "modifications". I feel I've made some improvements but nothing I'd call true modifications. I mean whoopee, I’ve got a Madramper Designs CAI, some pretty pulleys, a custom made side exit exhaust, some ceramic coated headers and a set of polished wheels. Improvements? ... probably. Modifications? ... not necessarily. I'm not complaining, don’t misunderstand. I’m just not so much into the go fast thing. I love a horsepower or two as much as the next guy but that's really not what I'm all about. Other than perhaps between a stop light here and there there's no drag strips for me. I'm mostly into bringing things back to new condition and, if I'm lucky and get things really right, even better than that.

That's where I've tried to go and where I'll continue to go with my current truck. This thing's taken me through a significant dismantlement, reconditioning and reassembly and I think that what has been completed has turned out pretty much as I had envisioned it. I'm actually pretty happy with it so far.

It's nowhere near complete, and I’m a little more than apprehensive to display it here for all of you whose opinions and observations I hold in such high regard, but this will be an ongoing project for me for quite some time to come and all of those missing pieces, all of those ill fitting parts, and all of those items still in need of attention will be fully addressed, I promise. Nonetheless, up to now, the pictures I see in my head have made their way onto and into the proverbial canvass I call my truck pretty accurately.

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4. Do you have any interesting stories about your Lightning?

By the time this TOTM article is posted I’ll honestly only have had the thing fully assembled and fully operational for about 3.5 months. I really haven’t had a lot of opportunity to have anything truly interesting happen with it yet.

I guess the silliest thing I can tell you guys is that I bought it (with the wing already installed), drove it home 11.5 miles, backed it into the garage and proceeded to spend the next 2.5 years tearing it apart and putting it back together. Over that time I had a number of folks ask me if I like this truck better than I liked the red ’93. I honestly had no other means of responding but to say, “I have no idea, I’ve never driven it.”

Now that I’ve been able to drive it, I really do love it. It’s raw. It’s loud. It’s completely unrefined... and most fun of all, it makes the windows in my house shake and makes the neighborhood dogs bark. It makes me giggle every time.

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5. Tell us about yourself, your hobbies, business or work, sports, family, etc.

I spent most of my formative years in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Rapid City is what I consider to be my hometown but I currently reside, and have since 1989, in Valrico, Florida, a community just outside of Tampa.

I finished high school in Rapid City and graduated from the University of South Dakota with degrees in Biochemistry and Forensic Anthropology. I currently work in the environmental regulatory branch of local government in the field of solid and hazardous waste with, I suppose, what you could call my specialty being the reuse and redevelopment of old landfills… no really.

I met my wife, who also works in government, in college and we've got one son who'll be a senior in high school this coming fall.

I guess you could call me a car guy (ish), perhaps better would be car aficionado. Some of those closest to me would consider me a car nut but I really don’t think so. Nonetheless, I really do prize my truck maybe even obsess just a little bit. But, I've got so much time and effort and so much of me in it how can I not, right? ... it's my hobby.

Aside from the truck and the continual tinkering I also apparently spend quite a few hours a week in the gym. I’ve been called vain. Some consider me to be a bit self absorbed. There are those who’ll say I’m narcissistic. I just don't care to be or to act my age and I try pretty darn hard to keep things in line with that mindset. I don’t really consider the workout thing a hobby though. It’s more a part of my lifestyle. I think it’s important, it’s something I’ve always done and it’s something I’ll always do.

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6. How long have you been a user of the NLOC.net, when did you become an NLOC member, and why did you choose to become a member of NLOC?

I registered with NLOC in late January or early February of 2005 when I was shopping for my first Lightning and I actually found it through the NLOC Classifieds. Once I purchased my '93, for a little while I lurked, asked questions, learned a lot real quick and then decided that you guys were worthy of a little more of an investment on my part so in early March of 2005 I joined as a paying member.

I became a member simply because all of you guys provided me with so much education, information, support and fun I felt that at a certain point I’d be stealing from the Club if I continued as just a registered user. Besides, I was hoping that at some point I'd actually be able to become a bigger part of the Club’s support structure and evolve into one of those guys who could help rather than be helped. None of what I've done, what I know, and what I think I know with regard to these trucks would be a reality without you guys and without NLOC. You just have to support that kind of thing when you can, don't you?

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7. What suggestions do you have to make the NLOC.net website easier to use and navigate?

The only complaint I've got with regard to the site is the Classifieds. I just don't care for the mechanics of them. If that section could revert to the previous version I think that would be a nice improvement.

Nonetheless, nothing keeps me away. I login probably a dozen times a day. I'll continue to provide whatever assistance and input I can and I'll continue to provide support to our members and to the Club and encourage all non-paying users to do the same.

The history and the future of these extremely limited production vehicles lives here guys. Let's make sure that this repository for an unbelievable wealth and volume of knowledge is kept safe, secure and accessible.

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8. Why did you pick your board user name (screen name)?

It’s not an intriguing story by any stretch of the imagination, but you asked…

Back when I was younger and stupid(er), I had this pie-in-the-sky aspiration to start up an online OE replacement automotive parts house. I put together the very initial beginnings of a business plan, had attempted to contact a couple of the major auto manufacturers to discuss the likelihood of acquiring the rights to plans and molds for some discontinued, much coveted, and completely NLA plastic parts and was, albeit slowly, somewhat moving forward.

At about the same time, every morning driving to work I’d pass this local drive-line repair and remanufacturing shop named “Torq-Quip, Inc.”. Their name, combined with the company’s logo on their sign all looked really cool to me. So, needing a business name in order to incorporate, I pondered a name for quite some time knowing that it needed to be something catchy and easily remembered for marketing purposes.

My kid was real young back then and life pretty much revolved around him at the time. Based on some of his athletic abilities and some of his hilarious lapses in coordination, several nick-names for him evolved. One such nick-name was “bumperboy”, which further evolved into just plain “bumper”.

Wanting to name whatever company that may have developed from my hair-brained scheme something that could be tied to me personally, and liking the sound of that Torq-Quip place, coupled with my kid’s nick name thing, "Bumperquip Ltd" was born.

The business venture never happened but I liked the name so I kept it alive and it's still my screen name and/or password for several/many online applications I use.

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9. What are your plans for future changes to your truck?

The only change I’m currently planning is to get it to a point where I can call it complete. There are so many things still unfinished. I haven’t really touched the interior yet and I’ve still got a multitude of unopened boxes in the garage... new carpet, new steering wheel, new seat pieces, the air conditioning still has to be installed, and the list goes on. There may be a tweak or two I’d like to slip in (I’d really like to have my rear wheels widened), but in the end I want this thing to be what we’d all consider to be a show piece. Maybe even a standard that we’ll all look at and say, “Now that’s how it’s supposed be.”

When it comes to restoring the Gen 1 Lightning, I really am kind of a judgmental snob and I kind of maybe want to apologize for that. I know that over the years I may have irritated a few. I like things to be pretty close to correct. I may not be a purist, I know I’ve got a couple of added little items on my truck that aren’t off-the-show-room-floor, but I feel that my truck really is pretty correct and that’s how I feel they should be kept... only prettier maybe. I’m fully convinced, based on the numbers, based on the features, and based on the histories of Ford’s other vehicles with similar production numbers, these things are going be worth some nice numbers one day… at least the ones with wings anyway.

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10. Whom would you like to thank for help\donations\support for putting the truck together?

Golly... honestly there are quite a few guys I’d like to thank. There have truly been a good number of you who have, over the years, offered to be a part of this project by either providing encouragement, support, parts, advice or a much needed bit*h-slap now and again.

Knowing that I’m leaving several of you out, I’d like to first extend my gratitude to a member we don’t hear from much anymore, Jeff (FMOS Racing) Sparkman. Truthfully, I would not be an NLOC member today if not for Jeff having gone to bat for me some years ago; I’ve got to say thanks to Ed (Struckby) Huerta who’s been there countless times at a moment’s notice; My good buddy Kevin (O’doyle) O’doyle, I miss you buddy and so does the Ford Motor Company; Nick (ncgraphics) Campbell, you’ve been there too whenever anything’s been needed; Josh (HIVOLTJ) Leonhardt, you’re a sounding board I can always count on and I appreciate it tons; and Chip (Madramper) Clarke, a little piece of you (literally) has been present in both of my trucks from the very beginning.

I’d like to also tell the whole NLOC membership how much I appreciate this whole... as girlie as it may sound... brotherhood thing. Everyone’s willingness to help, critique, opine and participate is unmatched. I’ve been involved in other club sites associated with other cars I’ve owned and the “attitudes” that live in those clubs just don’t live here. Notwithstanding the fact that there’s been an issue or two over the years, we all still really like each other, everything always gets worked out and we always remain friends. That doesn’t happen all the time and it doesn’t happen everywhere. This is really a fantastic, comfortable place I appreciate all of you guys. So, thanks to you all...

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Congratulations to Ron and his 1994 White Ford Lightning for Truck of the Month, August 2011 !
 
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StruckBy

FAST Eddie ;)
Congratulations Ron!
So well deserved. Hope to see you and your truck in person sometime soon.
 

stroked93'

Active member
:clap::clap::eek:ldtu::tongue::thumbup::clap:!!!
Congrats Bump!! Great job and what I find even more interesting is that the August TOTM is actually posted on August 1st and not the 15th:grin1: Such a great specimen of Ford Motor history! The work you put in on your truck really is an inspiration to us all! I can't count the times I refered back to you and your pics for some help with my own personal build. In a way, I used your truck as the standard as to what I wanted mine to look like when it was done. All those fine obsessive compulsive details is what makes your truck stand out from the heard! You remind me why I need to become a paid member! Thanks!
 

Ranchero 1968

"Mr. Happy"
Ron, thanks for all your input. A nice write-up and a great guy. You have set a new standard for all of us. I'm driving the L to work today. :)

James
 
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motorhead1024

Paid NLOC Member
I Support the NLOC
Ron: Congrats and thanks for setting a standard for your fellow stockers! (count me in). Fred
 

Flats Man

Member
Congrats Ron! Great job on your truck and it is well deserved! Hope to run into you at Old Town for our next Lightning meet. That would be a nice little shake down road trip for you.
 
Schweeeetttt!! New screensavers for my computer and phone.:heart:

Congrats, you deserve it. I hope you have treated your wife to many "date nights" in that thing since you finished it. After all the time you spent working on it, she probably thought you moved out.
 

madramper

#projectplatypus
Oh no.... do I see a fingerprint on the door??? Nope, must have been a reflection! Ron's truck is like Willy Wonka's chocolate. It must never be touched by human hands! The truck wasn't that clean when it was sitting in the showroom!

Congrats buddy! :bigtu:
 

huffentuff95

Active member
Well Deserved:thumbup: Clean truck you got there, AH YES, I miss my Tomato can under the hood:) Your engine bay look fantastic good JOB!!:eek:ldtu: Huff approved:D Man , I like those plug wire looms
 

bumperquip

Active member
You all truly honor me with your comments and praise... I mean it. I am humbled by your approvals.

To be completely honest I was quite fearful of putting it on display for all to see.

Thanks very much to you all for your kind words.
 

tomlightning

Active member
Congrats on TOTM. It is truly deserved. Way overdue. That is the nicest truck I have every seen. I wish I could get my engine compartment like yours. You could eat off that thing. Keep up the good work and I look foward to see what other changes, and or upgrades you do to your truck. Truly top notch workmanship. :eek:ldtu:
 

IVSVS

Born Ignorant
I Support the NLOC
Congrats! That is one beautiful ride! The level of detail and the quality of execution you show is inspirational.
A well deserved and earned honor for you!
 
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