When your job involves hauling down the highway overnight, a blokes’ eyes are on the black top ahead of him but his mind has time to tick over on other matters, creating dreams and aspirations that eventually turn into bold plans and how to execute them.
As an owner driver of a semi and carting throughout the night from town to town, Jeremy Burnett found himself in this situation, dreaming of a custom ride he’d like to see in his garage one day. Having previously owned a ZG Fairlane and tinkering with this 1970s cruiser in his spare time, Jeremy decided he wanted to build something more to his liking. It was only natural that a truck driver would delve into the vast field of utility vehicles desirable for turning into tire frying street machines!
Having a liking for the second generation F series trucks, a pile of parts and panels representing a 1955 pickup was located in a dealer’s yard in central Victoria. Hauling the classic metal back home to Bacchus Marsh, the basis of the build was simple. “I wanted it with big wheels, big horse power and to sit low” states Jeremy.
Corey at CJ’s Rods and Race was given the task of ticking off the stance stage of the build. A fabricated chassis utilising a HQ Holden front clip created the basis for the F truck. Two inch drop spindles up front assist the Slam Specialty airbags in getting the nose closer to the ground while a notched rear section along with Slam Specialty airbags bring rear into the weeds. A Dakota digital ride height controller and self-levellers keep the whole show legit on the road.
If you want big horsepower, one of the best ways to accomplish this is to go big cubes and when you’ve got an engine cavity the size of these F100s, only a big block motor will fill it! Jeremy’s choice was easy! “It was always going to be big block Ford. A good mate who built the engine had heard of Jon Kaase from the States who was doing some really good work with the heads for the big blocks so we ended up building the top end of the motor using John’s heads and purchased the manifold and carby through him as well. The bottom end of the motor was completed by Nino from Riverside Motors in Werribee.”
Punching out a tire frying 813hp off the dyno, the 545 ci block sports the aforementioned Jon Kaase P-51 heads, custom grind roller cam, forged pistons, H beam rods with pump fuel fed through a 1050 Dominator carby. All this torque is driven through a fully manualised T400 assisted by a 3,500 stall convertor down to the Detroit locker differential filled with 35 spline axles and fully floating hubs. Located in place by a 4 link rear, the 9 inch’s 4.3:1 gear ratio allows for good highway cruising. The burnt fuel exits loudly via the Exhaust Bros built ceramic coated and tuned extractors and twin siamese stainless 3 inch exhaust system.
Pulling this bad boy up are Brembos discs sourced from a BF GT Falcon. The cross drilled rotors measure 365 ml on front with 6 piston callipers while rearward measure 330ml with 4 piston callipers. A Corvette booster and master cylinder are located out of the way under the floor keeping everything neat in the engine bay.
When it came to deciding on the rolling stock, Jeremy wanted to get it right the first time. He explains how he accomplished it. “We mocked up the vehicle so we could get an idea of the wheel dimensions which I cut out of plywood.” Settling on Intro V-Rods, he definitely went large on the wheels! 20 x 9.5 up front while 22 x 12 fill the rears! “They suit the car perfect, I’m happy with the decision. You take them off to polish them and stand beside them and they come up to your hip!”
The body retains its original flowing lines but subtle changes help accentuate the large scale dimensions of the integrated cab and body sections. The tub has been widened 125 ml to fill out the rear and the guards are now welded into place. Both inner and outer front guards are also now seamless and when combined with the smooth firewall, give a cleaner finish. Jeremy chose to leave the side cowl vents in place when most custom F trucks have them removed. With the front and rear bumpers removed, a tidy up of the valance and rear panel add to the clean lines of this truck. The LED taillights are also a step away from traditional custom rear roll pan with countersunk lighting. Although not a major feature, it was still a tough decision as Jeremy explains. “They were a hard decision. Originally I wanted a roll pan with the lights in it. I’m not sure why I changed my mind but these billet brackets hide the wiring and gives the back that original look.”
The forward flipping bonnet is another custom mod that bawks tradition. The reason for going down this path? “Mainly To be different and the bonnet doesn’t raise too far in the original set up and makes it hard to work on. The flip forward bonnet gives you good access to the engine when working on it. I had the catch brackets machined from billet for added strength. The bonnet’s easy to remove too, just two bolts and it’s off.” It was also a challenge to line up along with the rest of the panel work causing the pickup to spend time in the too hard basket for twelve months at one panel beater before being shipped to Creative Edge. “It’s like trying to fit a triangle into a rectangle hole. It’s hard to get nice gaps on a commercial vehicle. It is always a challenge as the factory weren’t too fussed about it.”
Choosing a colour can be risky when stepping away from the norm. Jeremy went with Baslac’s Palamino metallic and entrusted Jarrod from Cre8tive Edge to colour the fifties classic Ford. While not traditionally a pearl, I was amazed the way it flipped from sunlight to shade while photographing it! Jeremy remarks “It’s got that fleck to it changing the colour over the round surfaces. People ask me what colour the car is. Some people say it’s gold, some say it’s silver, some say grey. I just let them make their own mind up.”
The interior styling definitely makes this F100 a Custom Cab now if it wasn’t previously! The XG Falcon bench seat is mounted on top of a frame that houses two Air Ride compressors, air tank, battery and fuse boxes. Mid Fifties.com in the USA specialise in aftermarket F100 parts and supplied the billet cluster filled with digital Ford Motorsport gauges that retain an analogue appearance. The adjustable steering column is from ACR in Queensland and is topped off with a matching Intro billet steering wheel along with numerous other billet accessory parts. Adrian from Kooltrim was entrusted with the design ideas after Jeremy chose the Novatex cream vinyl colour.“Adrian and I went through some colours. I chose the colours and I left the creative design up to him.” The badges in the seats? “The upholsterer said he had them lying around for 15 to 20 years and believes they’re off a Galaxy”. The perforated Java suede material is a unique touch too. “Again it was the upholsterer’s idea and it was a material he hadn’t worked with before. He wanted something to break the door trims up with and decided to use it on the roof to tie it all in together. The mould in the headlining was based around covering the depth of the interior light. “
The job of bringing this beast to life via a complex electrical circuit with all hidden wiring was handed to Gareth of H&K Autos in Jeremy’s home town. Gareth was also nice enough to hand over a section of his workshop for Jeremy to complete the final assembly. It’s great to have mates in the right places!
While this street registered F100 has seen time on the road, Jeremy has it booked in for its first major event next year at the Victorian Hot Rod show. It should do well but with all that power, will it see the track? “I’m already looking for a car for drag racing. I wouldn’t take this one down the strip, I’d cry if I put it into the wall!” I think we all would!