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Classic car from Australia: Modified Ford Louisville Apparition

Classic car from Australia: Modified Ford Louisville Apparition

The name says it all: the look, the look, what creator John Horswell calls his modified Ford Louisville. The Australian has created his own driver's dream with a used truck built in 1979 – with plenty of space and 14 percent fuel savings, thanks to roughly modified aerodynamics.


When John bought the truck in 1986, it already had nearly a million kilometers on the clock. But John was sure the old Ford was still good enough for cement powder. He was satisfied with the place he got. And the rust is very noticeable. So what to do? A new truck is very expensive. A new cabin wouldn't have been cheap, but it wouldn't have solved the space problem either. A beautiful, large Ford LTL does not fit into a large-capacity cab chassis. So all that was left was to create your own. He started it in 1987. “First, a one-piece frame made of square steel profiles was welded, then a cladding made of galvanized sheets was placed over the frame,” writes FERNFAHRER employee Ben Mead in the May 1990 issue. “Though solid construction, the cabin is anything but heavy.” After all, the Apparition weighs half a ton less than the Kenworth W900 Aerodyne. By the way, the front hood is made of lightweight fiberglass and even the doors are made of plastic.



“Components are moved until distribution is correct”

For a long time, all this happened at night and on weekends along with the actual driving. But in June 1987 it didn't work. Now John finally wanted to mount the room to the frame. Besides coordination with the authorities and the engineering office, it was important for him to ensure good weight distribution: 5.5 tons on the front axle, 16.5 tons on the two drive axles and 20 tons on the three trailer axles. “I left the chassis as it was and moved the radiator, batteries and steering until the distribution was correct,” John explained of his approach at the time. He didn't ignore the rest of the technology either. Cummins Big Cam 1 engine, Fuller 15-speed Roadranger transmission and drive axles were rebuilt before installation. “If an engine change from Caterpillar, Detroit Diesel or the new Cummins engine is needed, John makes sure there is enough room for technology in the cabin to fit in later.” But most important to him is the interior. Along the way, he sees $1,500 worth of extra VDO equipment: rear axle differentials, transmission, engine, exhaust, fuel and outside air temperatures, boost pressure indicator and a new on-board computer with cruise control. “The highlight is an engine protection system that shuts down the engine if any fluid level or pressure gets too low.” There is a “big” bed and a shower with a 60 liter hot water supply (heated by the engine's waste heat). On the go, the truck is delightfully quiet and very comfortable. “The cabin rides smoothly on Japanese Hino suspension and Mac air springs.” After the first trip in early 1988, John went even further: he wanted to offer the conversion – then with aluminum sheet metal – to other self-driven entrepreneurs in the 1990s for $40,000.