Home Automotive BLOOD, SWEAT, and GEARS – Life Lessons from Mr. Pontiff

BLOOD, SWEAT, and GEARS – Life Lessons from Mr. Pontiff


Death and taxes, according to an old saying are the only two things that you can count on. Although that might generally be true, there are some positive—highly likely— things to look forward to as well. Owning one’s dream vehicle is a good example, but now more than ever, getting it requires pulling more strings.

The ability to transform any given make/model into a truly one-off custom version takes way more effort than just walking into a dealer’s showroom and pointing at the prettiest vehicle on the lot. For anyone whose heart is set on an old, rusted pickup, there’s quite a bit of dirty work involved in transforming it into a running, driving, customized vehicle. In such a situation, you can only expect to spend hours and a considerable amount of money in order to bring a dead or dying truck back to life. Owner/builder is the only one who can change the odds in favor of their truck. Where there’s an unwavering will, there’s certainly a way.

Lindsay Escoyne’s dad Jason is the kind of person who knows how to stack the deck in his favor. Back in 2011, Jason purchased the ’71 Ford F-100 seen here from a Mr. Luke Pontiff Sr., who just happened to be the truck’s second owner. Lindsay reports that Mr. Pontiff knew the truck’s history inside and out, much more than would be expected from someone who wasn’t the original owner. “We aren’t too sure exactly what year Mr. Pontiff had purchased the truck, but he had used it as his basic mode of daily transportation. At some point in time, he spelled ‘Pontiff’ in mailbox lettering stickers underneath the window on the driver door. The name of the truck is still on it. The truck now bears his surname. It’s a way that I want to continue honoring him since he passed away not long after my dad bought the truck from him.” Lindsay and her dad are obviously sentimental folks who strongly believe in preserving legacy and tradition. It’s this shared trait that kept the project on track during the 16 months they spent rehabbing Mr. Pontiff’s old truck.

It was important to get the truck running again. “Looking cool” wasn’t the main objective here. Lindsay wanted a new, lower stance. But she also wanted the ability to drive her truck every day, just as Mr. Pontiff did years earlier. “My dad had every intention of doing just what we were doing to the truck when he bought it five years ago. Most of the truck, aside from the suspension work and chassis work as well as the access panel for the bed is original. It is exactly the way I wanted. There’s just too much natural character that is too important to erase.”

In an effort to preserve the truck’s natural patina, the entire exterior of the truck was sprayed with a semi-gloss clearcoat. They could’ve left the truck to continue to age naturally, but encapsulating the finish under clear was a way of capturing a snapshot of the condition Mr. Pontiff last saw it in.

LMC Truck seat cover

LMC truck’s seat cover helped clean up the Ford’s old bench.

LMC 14-inch three-spoke steering wheel

The 14-inch three-spoke steering wheel from LMC truck helps update the Ford’s interior space.

Rear quarter view of the custom 1971 Ford F-100

The build went relatively smoothly, except for Jason nearly losing his fingertip while mocking the access panel on the bed floor. “The whole thing with my dad’s accident set us back maybe three weeks or so, but other than that we didn’t hit many other obstacles,” Lindsay recollects. Jason installed the air ride system, and raised the bed and floor pan to accommodate the adjustable suspension travel. Scotty Thibodeaux rebuilt a 1992 Thunderbird 5.0L V-8 for them. The truck’s exterior is original for the most part, and the interior has only been treated to an LMC Truck bench seat cover, steering wheel and replacement 1969 door panels. Modifications have been done with great moderation. “When we were done with the truck, I drove it over to Mr. Pontiff’s family, so they could see what my dad and I had done with it. The family was initially surprised to see how low the truck had been lowered, but loved that it looked so familiar. And they were pleasantly surprised to see their family name still spelled out in mailbox letters on the driver door.” Lindsay says.

1992 Ford Thunderbird 5.0L engine.

The 1992 Ford Thunderbird 5.0L engine that has been planted underneath the F-100’s hood keeps local highway patrol officers on their toes.

Lindsay can confidently say that her old Ford will remain in this condition for the foreseeable. “I plan to fully restore the truck to its original condition, but that’s not going to be something that will happen all too soon. I love the response it is getting now,” she says. If it weren’t for her dad, Lindsay admits that she wouldn’t be able to say that she now knows her way around every inch of the truck and that she can recite every part that was used for the build and what was done to make something work. If it weren’t for Mr. Pontiff selling the truck to her old man, that experience wouldn’t have been possible, or at least not in the same way. She feels a sense of unfathomable pride and gratitude for the two people who have played such an important role in her life.

Truck Specifications:
Lindsay Escoyne

1971 Ford F-100

Breaux Bridges, LA


  • Scotty Thibodeaux/Premier Powder coating performs the work
  • 1992 Ford Thunderbird 5.0L eight-cylinder
  • Ford C6 transmission
  • Pushrods Trick Flow Chrome-Moly
  • Power Master 140-amp alternator
  • The Flex-a lite Low Boy is an electric fan
  • Supreme Hot Rods motor mounts
  • Edelbrock intake manifold with air cleaner and 600 cfm carburetor
  • Flowmaster muffler, 2 1/2 –inch exhaust
  • Optima battery

Suspension & Chassis

  • Jason Escoyne is the performer.
  • Stock 1965 C-10 control arms modified with RideTech Mustang II Ball Joint Rings
  • Mustang II spindles
  • Front and rear Firestone 2600 ’bags
  • KYB Excel 6 shocks

Wheels & Tires

  • 20-inch Raceline Maxim chrom wheels
  • 275/30ZR20 Accelera tires

Body & Paint

  • Matthew Lawson, original color with natural Patina Clear Coated in Semi-Gloss.
  • Floor pans raised by 2 inches
  • Bed raised 13 inches
  • The bed access panel uses hood hinges and a 1966 C-10 latch.
  • Stock bumpers, grilles, door handles, tail lights, and headlights, front and rear

Interior & Stereo

  • LMC Truck bench seat cover
  • LMC Truck steering wheel
  • Premier Powder Coating powder-coated satin Black Billet Aluminum Door Handles
  • 1969 F-100 door panels
Custom wood bed floor.

A custom wood bed floor has been pieced together and solidifies the truck’s barn-find appearance.

An access panel built right into the bed floor features hood hinges from a 1972 nova and a C-10 hood latch.

A panel of access built right into the mattress floor includes hood hinges and a C-10 C-10 hood latch.

Lindsay Escoyne custom 1971 Ford F-100 driving down the street.

Lindsay was able to achieve such a great result by keeping the build closely tied to what she truly valued. Not only was she able to pay her respects to the truck’s heritage, she was still able to get the exact vehicle she had wanted since the beginning stages of the build. There’s no better recipe for a positive experience than that, and with this being her first custom vehicle, Lindsay will no doubt continue to explore the world of automotive customization whether it’s with Pontiff or another vehicle altogether. ST

Thank You From the Owner: “Thank you to my dad, Jason Escoyne, for putting in countless hours over the last 16 months to complete the truck. My mom Leslie who allowed my dad and me to relentlessly work and never give up on our vision. Thanks to Scotty Thibodeaux for the immeasurable amount of knowledge that you’ve shared with us. Thanks to my Uncle Guy for also being as determined as my dad and I to get the truck back on the road.”

Editor’s Note: Street Trucks, September 2016, issue.

The post BLOOD SWEAT AND GEARS: Lessons in Life from Mr. Pontiff first appeared on Street Trucks.

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