Project Responder started out as a simple Ford F250 Supercab 4x4 that was custom ordered from a dealer in St. Louis, MO way back in the spring of ’87. The order was originally for a crew cab truck but for some strange reason, Ford would not offer a crew cab in the XLT Lariat trim package if the truck was four wheel drive. This made absolutely no sense whatsoever, but it forced the decision to buy a supercab rather than a crew cab. There was no chance of sacrificing either the four wheel drive or the XLT trim. There was also no chance of considering a regular cab. The only decision up in the air was the color. Since the owner, Michael Netherton, couldn’t decide between the dark regatta blue, silver or white, he let is girlfriend pick. Blue it was and six weeks later, the truck was delivered. Michael was in the Air Force at the time, stationed at Loring AFB in northern Maine. He flew down after taking several days leave, to pick up the truck and drive back to the Air Force base. Prior to his departure, he had sent a few of the accessories to his home in St. Louis that had been installed in the Chevy pickup he owned previously. Some of the accessories included a cb radio, scanner, off road lights. He had three days to get these parts installed on the Ford before he had to leave for Maine.
The truck only had fifteen miles on the odometer before leaving Missouri and heading north. In fact, the factory sticker was still on the passenger’s side door window. The truck ran well and Michael was able to make good time. After passing the 500 mile mark, he opened it up and was able to cruise at around 75, except for traveling through Pennsylvania. Upon reaching Loring, the truck, which was less than two weeks old, had over 1,900 miles racked up. If nothing else, the engine and drive train received the best break-in you could ask for. The next few weeks were spent customizing the truck and adding the rest of the accessories, lights and electronics that were waiting to be installed. The truck was also taken to a local shop to be undercoated and treated for rust protection. Once everything was installed and the truck was complete, it certainly turned heads in the small community of Caribou, Maine. In fact, one of the local car dealers called it a true “Arkansas Cadillac”. You have to remember, that back in the late 80’s, trucks were not what they are now. The amenities offered by the factory were not nearly as sophisticated as they are today. Back then, cloth seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel were considered out of the ordinary since most people who owned trucks used them for work on the job or on the farm. They did not carry the same status appeal of today’s superduty trucks.
Over the years, the truck took on different roles as needs changed. From plowing snow to running code for volunteer firefighting, Project Responder has had a long and winding road to drive. The road ahead is clear and future looks brighter than ever for an old workhorse of a truck. In the limelight and riding high, this truck is sure to get noticed and that’s exactly what Michael had in mind when he started this project. The rest of this web site will take you through the transformation from a daily driver to the show stopper it has become.