Ray Armer is just like every other Truckin' magazine reader; he loves custom trucks, getting his hands dirty, and doing the unexpected to old hunks of metal. Ray is just like you, with the exception that his subscription takes a little longer to arrive in his mailbox. Ray lives in Riverstone, NSW, Australia. He wanted to build a classic Ford truck, but he was tired of seeing all the '55 or '56 F-100s. After his wife Glenda gave him the suggestion to look for a `70s F-100, the search was on. What happened next was a four-year build that provided Ray with several new friends.
Managing to track down a local guy who had the lowest '81 Ford Bronco Ray had ever seen, he introduced himself and after that, Ray and Stu were great friends. With Stu's encouragement, Ray never gave up on the project, even though according to Ray, "I would have scrapped the thing about 10 times without him."
Under the hood is a rebuilt 351ci Cleveland V-8 that runs off propane.
Purchasing a rough '77 F-100 from a Cement Renderer, Stu and Ray teamed up to cut the framerails at the cab and create a custom rear chassis using a Ford 9-inch rearend and 4.11 gears. The 22x10-inch wheels are wrapped in Pirelli 25-series tires and tuck inside the fenders thanks to the custom chassis. Up front, power rack-and-pinion steering helps turn the 20x8-inch wheels and 35-series rubber mounted to the lowered suspension. Another buddy, Col from Dubbo, did a complete Stage 2 engine rebuild on a 351ci Cleveland V-8 that was altered to run on propane. The three scuba-type propane tanks were custom mounted on the back half of the chassis and fit cleanly under the clear bed. Custom headers along with a 2 1/2-inch exhaust provides the rumble and a C4 transmission with no shift kit for "smooth cruizin'" was installed.
After buying three cabs, each useable piece was welded together and while they were at it, Ray and Stu shaved the driprails, relocated and reshaped the door handles, smoothed the mirrors, and reworked the front pillars to accommodate the flush windshield. You won't find side windows in this truck because Ray plated them closed. Talk about the wind in your face feeling! Working on Saturdays, (Ray days as the Aussies call them) Ray, Stu, and another friend Dave worked to modify the bed by smoothing every panel. As Ray says, "Where would we be without our mates?" We second that one sir! The bed also received a roll pan and was welded smooth. A real subtle but really cool trick was the addition of the oval side vents on the sides of the hood. Modeled after an early Buick, the vents help to break up the huge panel. The bonnet was also smoothed inside and out before receiving the cool vents.
Hiding the shifter, hand brake, and switches, the center console is pretty darn trick.
As he learned the hard way, shops don't always stick to the quoted price and after two years and pulling the truck from a couple of shops, Ray found one he could trust. On went the two-tone Yellow Blaze base with yellow pearl and white pearl paint scheme. The look is clean and yet very custom thanks to the extensive body mods.
The interior also proved troublesome as several shops tried hiking up their prices before delivering a quality product. Thankfully Ray is hardheaded and as he says, "At the end of the day I had a vision of what I wanted it to look like and I stubbornly wouldn't compromise on any of the details." Inside the F-100 is an interior with a smoothed custom dash, fabricated center console with hidden shifter, handbrake, and auxiliary switches. A billet steering wheel and simple gauges provide the dash layout while Honda Prelude seats were covered in white leather. Inside you won't find a radio, that way nothing can "interfere with the sound of the V-8." We like his style.
Listening to Ray, he said he would have done some things differently but "I don't regret the journey and the friends that I made along the way." We can respect that and without question we respect this awesome F-100 from down under.
Those tanks under the clear bed aren't for air, they're propane tanks for the LPG V-8.
As clean as they come, Ray wouldn't compromise with the interior details.
Driving by you'd never know the F-100 was a righthand drive truck from Australia.