A Rugged Rod, a Ford pickup with a Cadillac engine

A piece of mechanical artistry, The Rugged Rod is Father, Son, & Daughter’s (FSD) Hot Rod Ranch’s first commissioned build.  A 1939 Ford rat rod pick-up with a Cadillac 500 V8 engine, The Rugged became a symbol of entrepreneurship for both the builder and the owner.


This month we have another spectacular vintage truck from FSD Hot Rod Ranch, “The Rugged Rod”! 

A 1939 Ford rat rod with A Cadillac 500 V8 was the first commissioned build for FSD.  Scott Andrew, CEO and founder of the Columbus, Ohio, based Retail Service Systems (RSS) visited FSD looking for a “rugged truck” to use as a corporate mascot.

Andrews was looking for…a rat rod with corporate logos that spoke the language of a rugged truck, yet oozed with one of a kind artistry.   And he got it.

RSS has been ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5000 fastest-growing companies for several years and has several branded businesses throughout the U.S. One of his businesses, “BoxDrop”, was holding its annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Andrews was looking for a rugged truck mascot to present at the event.  He explained that RSS referred to their business owners as “rugged entrepreneurs,” and he was in the process of authoring a book by that same title.  He wanted a rat rod with corporate logos that spoke the language of a rugged truck, yet oozed with one of a kind artistry.   

And he got it.  A custom build titled “The Rugged,” this rat rod was a creative event for FSD as well as Scott Andrews and his vision.

While this particular truck – being a requested custom job – is not for sale, FSD Hot Rod Ranch has a line-up of custom pickup trucks for sale that can be seen at their dealership in Eustis, Florida or viewed online.

A family-owned, one of a kind dealership, FSD offers vintage vehicles and custom rides, including the pick-up trucks presented on HRL.  The family consists of father Stephen Phelps, son Joshua and daughter Lorena.  Together, they run a fully staffed shop with technicians, fabricators, and mechanics who have extensive backgrounds in creating artworks.  

Their extended family includes Jeff Allen, FSD Master Mechanic and Shop Manager.  Fredrico Monjaras is also an FSD mechanic; Keith McCracken is the transporter.  Ray and Stephanie of Stingray Details give the vehicles a final touch with high end detailing. Ismar Mujakanovic is the service coordinator.

Together, the team at FSD turns out custom and beautiful rides.  It is a major accomplishment in any business to create a fully coordinated staff.  That idea is even more critical when building rat rods, hot rods, or just customizing vehicles, there are so many facets to producing a finished project.  The craftsman must synchronize their artistry with the artistry of others.  

When viewing the finished product, there is no evidence of the many hands bringing creation to fruition, and that is as it should be.  Whether it is the motor’s hum, the beauty of a wood grain dash, or the mirror finish on the all-important paint, each should flow seamlessly and effortlessly.  

For the full story on “The Rugged Rod” build, or to peruse the many outstanding vehicles available at FSD, visit www.fsdhotrodranch.com or follow them on Facebook!

Barb currently resides in Central Florida with her three horses; when she’s not writing or riding for HRL, she loves to read and travel. horseandriderliving@gmail.com

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