Consumer Feature: The Southern Motor Company 358
Southern Fried Hot Rod
Truck shoppers tired of the uninspired designs of modern pickups and who appreciate the style of classics will have a new option in 2008, when the Southern Motor Company 358 is scheduled to make its debut.
Sure, there are restored classics around, but Southern plans to offer a brand-new, factory-assembled, classic-style pickup built on its own modern chassis designed by Panoz Auto Development and propelled by a 330-horsepower drivetrain from a Ford Mustang.
As a new truck, the 358 will carry a three-year warranty and meet all applicable federal emissions and safety requirements. The tubular steel frame promises to provide a rigid platform for the Panoz-designed suspension, a combination that Southern CEO Jim Kaplan vows will deliver ride and handling on par with the departed GM F-body Camaro/Firebird.
The $55,000 hot-rod's body will be stamped from 20-gauge steel, not the thin 22-gauge used on today's cars, giving it unmatched substance, says Kaplan. Premium materials such as stainless steel and teak wood are used throughout. The traditional-looking cab is stretched a bit for more elbow room and crash safety, but traditionalists will still be able to find the dimmer switch on the floor, where God and Henry Ford intended it. Contact Southern Motor Company at 864/843-0988 or visit www.southernmotorcompany.com.